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Moving mountains o' real estate

Editor Bob Barnett hits the road to check out B.C.'s developing mountain resorts.

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Meanwhile, at Kicking Horse the first two large condo-hotels in a planned village have been built, along with another condominium property built by Whistler’s Rod Nadeau. But the emphasis right now is on high-end single-family development. Ballast Nedam Canada Ltd., the resort developer, is also the recommended builder for the single-family houses.

Kicking Horse, being just off the Trans Canada Highway, gets tourist traffic year-round. For that reason the developers built the Golden Eagle Express Gondola to take people from the base of the mountain directly to the Eagle’s Eye restaurant at the top, where fabulous food and views are proffered.

A golf course is planned at Kicking Horse, but like much of the village it has yet to be developed. Summer activities currently consist of downhill mountain biking on the mountain, rafting in the rivers, golf in Golden and paragliding.

Back in the West Kootenays, Red Mountain Resort is finally getting off the ground. There aren’t any new lifts yet, but the first condo development in what will become the village is under construction.

Red was purchased two years ago by Red Mountain Ventures, a private investment group led by San Diego’s Howard Katkov. A master development plan has been agreed to with the town of Rossland. The plan includes building 1,400 accommodation units and 70,000 square feet of commercial space in the village. It also includes rights to expand the ski area from its current 1,585 acres to 4,200 acres.

Red and Granite mountains have always been favourites of skiers and boarders, and the town of Rossland is as funky and charming as they come. Whether that’s enough to draw investors remains to be seen.

Rossland’s relationship to Red and its development is more advanced than Revelstoke’s with Mount MacKenzie, but there are parallels. The City of Revelstoke desperately wants the Revelstoke Mountain Resort to succeed, and as owner of some of the land included in the development parcel the city has been an active participant in various development plans over more than 20 years.