Getting to Big Red Catskiing
Big Red Cats HQ is located at the base of Red Resort (Red Mountain) BC. Once you check in at the office, you can either drive your own vehicle to our snowcat staging area (about 25 minutes north, on Claim Pit Rd, plenty of parking), or a shuttle is available. You are expected to check in at the office unless you have made arrangements for your whole group to meet at the staging area. The office is open by 0745. Please be there by 0800 - earlier if you are getting ski rental set up. Make sure to have breakfast beforehand.
If you are a full cat driving straight to the staging area from Nelson or points west, please call to check in the day before as there is no mobile phone access at the staging area. The office is at suite 2, 4430 Red Mountain Rd, Rossland BC (in the Red Robs condos). The main staging area is on Claim Pit Rd, which is off of highway 3B, about 25 minutes north of our office. It is about 400m south of the junction with highway 3 (by Nancy Greene Park), then head up Claim Pit Rd about 600m to the parking area. The coordinates are 49 degrees 15 minutes 49 seconds North by 117 degrees 56 minutes 0 seconds West. If your group has arranged to meet at the staging area, you should be there at 0900.
Rossland and Big Red Cats are a 2.5 hour drive directly north of Spokane, Washington. Because of bridge non-maintenance at Northport, you can tack up to 20 minutes more on to the trip.
A rental car is the best way to get from Spokane, if there is more than one of you, as it is ready when you land, and you can drop it off right before your return flight. There are lots of direct flights to Spokane on Southwest, Alaska, and United.
The shuttles are good for lone travellers ($135 one way, or $200 return, plus tax) but you'd need to book a flight to meet the shuttle. Book online with Kootenay Shuttle.
If car rental is not an option, and the shuttle doesn't work, Lasting Impressions Limousine may be an option for you, or Bill's Friendly Rides, at 509-951-5445.
In your vehicle, drive north on Division St/ hwy 395 to Colville, then turn right on Williams Lake Rd about a mile or so past the big roundabout on the west end of Colville, then turn right at the end onto hwy 25 and head for Northport and the Frontier border crossing (open 24 hours). There can be up to a 20-minute wait at the Northport bridge over the Columbia, so factor that into your planning if you're driving down to get a flight, plan on 3 hours to the airport.
Here is a link to some info on the border crossing, which operates 24 hours. Note: If you have ever had a DUI in the States, the Canadian government will probably not let you into the country.
From the border crossing, drive north to Rossland. At the Esso/Seven Summits Service station, stay on the main road, the left fork (you will pass the Esso station and town of Rossland on your right). Drive about another 3 minutes up the highway, pass the Rock Cut Pub, and then turn left at the overhead flashing yellow light into Red. Red Mountain Road snakes around the Ram's Head Inn property for about a block, and our HQ is on the right in the Red Robs condo building just before the Red Shutter Inn, and the main roundabout. If you're checking in to a Red condo, central reservations is ON the main roundabout.
- Fly to Trail, BC (YZZ) - on Pacific Coastal from Vancouver and call Champion Taxi or rent a car from RentAWreck. Note that a taxi from the Trail airport may cost $75, so try to split it with someone or meet people in the departure lounge and bum a ride from someone on the plane. The Trail airport does have a better landing record than Castlegar, though the odd flight does get cancelled due to visibility issues.
- Fly to Castlegar, BC (YCG) on Air Canada and call Castlegar taxi or rent a car – about ½ an hour to Rossland/Red Mountain. Note that a taxi from Castlegar can be $100, so try to split it with someone. Also be aware that it is nicknamed "Cancelgar" due to an abundance of valley fog making a large number of of flights not land or take off - and you could be turned back to Vancouver or Calgary, or grounded here.
- Fly to Spokane, WA (GEG) and rent a car or take a shuttle or limo (must pre-arrange). It is a 2.5 hour drive - 225km from Spokane International Airport, or 140 Miles. Their landing record is one of the best in North America. I often get a good 3-star hotel in Spokane via www.priceline.com for just $65-80/night.
- Fly into Kelowna Airport – 3.5 Hours drive, rent a car. It's a bit further, but your flight may be cheaper, and they rarely cancel due to weather/visibility. It is often the best way to travel from overseas if you don't want to go through the US.
- Private Plane - private planes can be flown into Castlegar or Trail. If weather is poor, Grand Forks BC can be a good alternate. If you are a full cat and require airport pickup from a BC airport, let us know and we may be able to arrange something for you. If you are flying from the US, ensure that you pre-clear all of your passengers through Canadian Customs before your trip. If the weather is good, it is possible to fly a group into Castlegar, and we can transport you to and from the snowcats for a day of skiing and return flight in the same day.
- Drive from Seattle - take I90 to Spokane, 6-7 hours
- Drive from Calgary - Crows Nest Pass is usually faster, unless you live in the northwest, in which case go via Radium. 7 hours
- Drive from Vancouver. via hwy 3, about 8 hours. WA-20 is closed much of the winter due to avalanches.
Non-Canadian residents will require a passport to enter Canada. Travel Visas (for travelers coming from countries other than the United States) should be arranged prior to travel.
The closest border crossing to Red Resort is at Paterson, British Columbia / Northport, Washington. This border crossing is open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week to traffic entering Canada or the United States. If you have a previous DUI or other felony, make sure to check in advance before booking your trip, as Canada probably won't let you in - but if the DUI is more than 5 years old, the border guard may be able to let you in if you ask first or arrange for a TRP or rehabilitation document.
Rental Cars / Shuttles
- Car rental is usually the most economical and flexible option for groups larger than 2, and it is much more convenient, allowing you to go to different restaurants in town during your stay. The main airports are serviced by most of the major providers, and www.practicar.ca is off-airport (no airport fee and proper winter tires) and will pick you up at Trail or Castlegar or Kelowna airport.
- Kootenay Shuttle - $140/person each way or $200 return from Spokane, must book at least 21 days in advance to add a new date to the shuttle schedule.
- Kootenay Mountain Bike Coaching also has a 15-passenger van and is a good option for group transport from any airport to Rossland.
- Lasting Impressions limo service (250) 368-8188 Goes to Spokane, and has several vehicles available depending on your group size. May be more flexible than the shuttle if you have a later arrival.
- Castlegar Taxi (250) 365-7222 - if flying into Castlegar. This is metered, but often $100.