In 1969 Beautiful British Columbia Magazine described Rossland, a small resort community in the West Kootenays, as one of the finest ski areas in Canada. “Because visitors can walk into the mountain for 800 feet in the tunnels of the old LeRoi Mine, which has its entrance just a few paces from the Rossland Historical Museum, it serves ideally as a monument to yesterday,” the magazine stated.
Almost 40 years later, Rossland tourism promoters are looking to the future by hosting the town’s first-ever gay ski event from Mar 6-9.
“We have a really neat community that has always supported people who are a bit different,” says Deanne Steven, executive director of Tourism Rossland. “This event kind of fits into what we do and who we are.”
Steven describes Rossland, population 3,557, as a gay-friendly ski town with lots of interesting characters and countercultural types.
“We are a really small town, we’re not a manufactured town,” she says. “Real people ?it’s for the traveller who wants to experience small town BC. There is no Starbucks; all family-owned and run business. That is something neat.”
And with only 60 tickets being sold it promises to be a rather intimate affair.
“We just want it to be a good quality event to illustrate what we can offer,” says Steven.
It won’t simply be a week of mountain seclusion either. Organisers want people to enjoy the full experience of their community by hosting events at local establishments as well. The opening night party will take place at the historic fire hall, which is now a restaurant and jazz bar. A geisha/samurai-themed party will take place later at the ski hill.
All of the events for Rossland Pride are packaged together for $175 and return flights cost $342.38 per person.
“We want to do a really high calibre event, gorgeous combinations, really nice restaurants ? that’s our target market,” says Steven.
It’s probably more geared towards the more affluent travellers, she acknowledges. “And we recognise gay travellers fit that pretty darn well in general.”