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Rossland and "White Gold"
Steeped with a history rich in gold and silver mining, this picturesque alpine city is perched high in the Monashee Mountain range. Rossland was nicknamed The Golden City after gold was discovered on Red Mountain by two transient prospectors. The Le Roi mine was the claim that started the gold rush in the Rossland area in 1890. In 1898 the Le Roi was sold for just over $3,000,000 to the British American Corporation. Between the years 1901 and 1916, 50% of the entire gold production of British Columbia came from the mines on Red Mountain. Rossland was one of the largest and richest gold mine cities in history, boasting a population of over 7,000, 42 saloons, 17 law firms and newspapers.
Skiing has played a large part in Rossland’s history. Olaus Jeldness came to Rossland in 1896. He represented the very peak of skiing ability in Canada, and even perhaps the continent, at the time. Local legend has it that Olaus jumped clear over a train standing at the Red Mountain station, a prodigious and spectacular feat in any day.
Popularity of the sport grew under Olaus’ enthusiasm and tutelage until, in two years, Rossland was ready to hold the first Canadian Ski Championships, and continued to hold them for twenty years. People came from all over and some 200 snowshoers lined up for the preliminary parade at the original carnival. At his death, Jeldness willed that his ashes be scattered from the top of Red Mountain. There are many great reasons to spend time in Rossland. In winter, the “white gold” will make you wish that you could trade your career for ski-touring gear. Locals say “work to ski and, if possible, ski for work.” With a population of 3,646, the area has an 1890s style laid-back atmosphere refl ected in the restaurants and shops that hug the main street. Keeping pace with Rossland’s gold rush days, heritage buildings have been restored, and even newer buildings follow the old-style architecture and signage of days gone by.
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