“Don’t tell anyone about Revelstoke.” That seems to be the phrase repeated by the locals, like an on mountain mantra – seeking to preserve the non-stop powder days and absence of lift lines that characterize this massive mountain. The locals know how good they have it, and visitors may show up for the 5620’ of vertical but fall in love with the snow. And terrain – this place has something for everyone, especially if you’re willing to do a little hiking.
Opened in 2007, Revelstoke Mountain Resort began operations at the onset of the world financial crisis. And despite obstacles RMR has grown into a full-featured resort with a cult following. People I encountered measured their time at Revy by number of seasons. Some have been there all seven, while the average seems to be somewhere around four. It seems the only people around are locals – maybe because it’s midweek, perhaps it’s the remote location. The closest airport is Kelowna which lies just over two hours away, while a large portion of visitors make the 5hr drive from Calgary.
But location is really what Revelstoke has going for it. Nestled in south-east British Columbia, this place has lots of snow, it has vast mountains, and the Columbia River cuts through the valley to the “Big Bend” at the end of town. The resort base area is home to lifts serving 3,121 acres, Selkirk Tangiers Heli-Skiing serving half a million acres, and a cat skiing operation that provides access to 3 exclusive alpine bowls. If touring is more your style – you can hire a guide to tour the renowned surrounding backcountry. In fact, Revelstoke has a rich history of backcountry skiing that existed long before the development of resort based options.
The best way to experience “The Stoke” is in a longer trip, if you don’t move there entirely. It is an ideal guys, or girls week destination or even a family getaway. Lodging options range from a Super 8 motel in town to luxury hotel/condo style accommodations at Sutton Place Hotel situated at the base area, steps from the gondola, for ski-in / ski-out convenience.
If you opt to stay in town, the mountain is only a 5-minute shuttle ride away, but you’ll be in the center of all the action to catch Revy’s active nightlife. You can start your evening at The Village Idiot – a pub with tasty home cooked pub-grub and popular pizzas. Then move on for a drink and a game of 5-pin bowling at The Cabin (be careful of the fishbowls at this place). Finish it off at The Last Drop – where it’s Open Mic Night on Wednesdays and home to some very appetizing 60-cent wings. If you’re looking for more of a dance ‘till you drop scenario – Traverse on 1st street has you covered with well known DJ’s from Vancouver and beyond.
Maintaining an annual snowfall between 40 and 60 feet Revelstoke has become the home mountain for some of the most recognizable names in freeskiing – Chris Rubens, Izzy Lynch and Sean Cochrane to name a few. Add to that a robust heli & cat skiing operation, lifts with names like “The Ripper” and “The Stoke Chair” and you’ll never be short on options for some of the best skiing of the season. Check out the North Bowl area for fresh pow – even a few days after the last snowfall.
“Try our Revy Ripple shot”, says Jackie Zawacky – bartender at après ski hot spot The Mack, located at the resort base. The Revelstoke base area is home to two restaurants, The Mack – an upscale bar with meat & cheese plates, sandwiches, burgers and affordable entrées, and Rockford Bar & Grill, a fine-dining establishment serving superb steaks, seafood and offering a notable wine list. While the resort base area is not as built-up as some resorts, it provides the essentials and lets you focus of what you came here to do – shred the mountain.
“The food is generally pretty good and the people are cool”, says a fellow powder seeker from Madison, WI as we ride the Ripper Chair toward another run in the “Tasty Glades”. “I started coming up here about four years ago, now I live here all winter.” Revel-stuck is what the locals call it – I call it awesome. Even if word gets out about Revy there is plenty of mountain to go around.