ROSSLAND, B.C. – Rossland, a one-time gold-mining town, sits in the Monashee Mountains, above the Columbia River. This is just north of the border of British Columbia and eastern Washington state. The closest major airport is at Spokane, Wash., 2.5 hours to the south.
For skiers, the attraction of Rossland is Red Mountain Resort. A travel magazine this year called it Canada’s first and last great ski town.
The ski area has been in the news frequently this year because of an innovative marketing campaign by the owner, Howard Katkov. He created a campaign called “Fight the Man, Own the Mountain.” It’s intended to be a jab at Vail Resorts and, for that matter, Aspen, Jackson Hole, and other major ski areas with quad lifts, high-priced base-area lodging, and all the other accouterments of the most successful ski areas.
Katkov notes that three companies now own 39 resorts.
Part and parcel of this marketing is an equity crowdfunding effort, first to Canadians and then, on Nov. 1, to Americans. His ultimate goal is to raise $15 million from equity owners by Dec. 1, the cutoff date, reports Bloomberg.
Pique Newsmagazine reported that the venture recorded a single-day record in August with more than $500,000 in crowdfunding enlistments. Ahead of its U.S. launch, it had received more than 3,500 reservations for as much as $13.3 million, reported Bloomberg.
Investments have been tiered from $1,000 to $25,000.
All this has yielded a lot of David-vs.-Goliath stories that position Red Mountain as authentic and small, true to its skiing roots—and affordable.
“Vail is speaking to a certain demographic, I’m speaking to a different one,” he told Bloomberg. “The Whistlers, Vails, Jackson Holes, they’re catering to the one per cent. There’s nothing wrong with that, but a young family can’t go to those resorts.”
Roger McCarthy, a consultant who helped design Sochi for the Russians, contrasted Red Mountain and Rossland with the “industrial ski experience” of the large resorts.
“You walk into the restaurant or the day lodge and everybody knows everybody,” he told Pique. He lives in Whistler but managed Keystone and Breckenridge for Vail Resorts at
What do investors get for their money at Red Mountain? Not a lot, suggested a commenter from Toronto on the Financial Post website.
“Hmmm… Let’s see, no voting rights, no dividends, or no distributions in the ‘foreseeable future.’ Looks like you’re basically selling club memberships disguised as an in investment. And who’s going to be able to afford this type of investment/club membership?”