By 2008/09 season Revelstoke Mountain Resort had opened a total of 1,227 hectare (3,031 acres), twice as much as the season before. The 13 gladed areas, five Alpine bowls and 40 marked runs all run more or less fall line from the peak of Mt Mackenzie. The green runs such as Last Spike and Bacon & Eggs are used for access between Mid Mountain and the chairlifts.
Revelstoke is marketed towards the adventure skiers and not really towards the families. Most of the ski area is avalanche controlled off-piste terrain, much of it gladed tree runs. The intermediate groomed runs are mostly situated on direct fall line, meaning they are as steep as any chair lift line. Many of these 'blue' groomers would be considered black at other Canadian resorts.
One of Revelstoke's biggest promotions is that of safe and responsible back country travel. The majority of skiers and boarders visiting Revelstoke are familiar with the concept of ducking a boundary rope (with the appropriate skills and equipment), skiing magnificent untracked lines then traversing their way back to the resort and the lifts. This is the norm in Revelstoke and the resort endorses such activities by providing a beacon search pit, off-piste focused ski school programs (such as 'Front to Back' and 'Cat/Heli Prep') and the guided trips through the Revelstoke Guides Bureau in Nelsen Lodge at the base of the mountain.
The comfortable 8 person Revelation Gondola provides access to Mid Mountain from the base stations and car parks both at the Village and Daylodge. Once at the top of the gondola, a short cat track takes you to the base of The Stoke chair and from the top of The Stoke, you can either traverse in the direction of the North Bowl to the base of The Ripper chair or ski the fall line back to the base of The Stoke. While there are only two chair lifts servicing all this terrain, the conical shape of the mountain means there is always quick access between the different alpine zones.
At the Daylodge station (where the mountain restaurant is located) the Li'l Bit magic carpet provides a short easy slope for beginner lessons. The carpet is mainly used for people getting 60 ft up the hill to load onto the Revelation Gondola. The gondola opens at 8:30 am with the chairs opening (conditions allowing) at 9:00 am. All lifts upload until 3:00 pm with extended hours until 3:30 pm after January 31st.
There is growth projected in Revelstoke over the next few years and plans for further lift systems and village development are in place. Lifts will further extend into the old cat ski areas in the South Bowl area and beyond.
Discounted rates are available for seniors (over 65), full-time students, youths (13-18) and children (6-12). Lift passes for children aged five or under are free. If you are lucky enough to have a season pass at any other British Columbia or Alberta ski resort you receive 25% discount on your Revelstoke lift pass.
The green runs at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, such as the long cat road Last Spike, are really only used for access between ski lifts. The Li'l Bit magic carpet is the area designated for children and learners.
A slew of rolling intermediate runs are situated on the lower mountain below The Stoke Chair (Snow Rodeo, Woolly Bully, Lower Devil's Club etc). The Ripper Chair area has two rolling groomers amongst the glades; Chopper and Burn Down which provide fun access to the chair after skiing powder in the trees.
After heavy snowfall you can expect all intermediate the runs higher up the mountain to be powder or bumps, with a groomer sometimes smoothing them out after a day or two. The lower mountain runs between the Village and Daylodge are shorter and more suitable for less experienced skiers.
If the freezing level is at the valley floor you can ski great snow all the way to the Daylodge and upload the gondola again. After each lap you need to traverse further towards Separate Reality Glades in order to get the fresh snow. Once the Ripper chair is open you have the North Bowl tree area at your disposal; Back 40 Glades, Powder Monkey Glades and Glades of Glory.
In order to keep up with the powder appetites of hard core locals, there is a 15-20 minute boot pack from the top of The Stoke to Sub-Peak. From the top of Sub-Peak you can drop into the North Bowl Area to steep lines such as Greely Bowl, Powder Assault and Sweet Spot. All these runs empty into the lower North Bowl glades around The Ripper Chair. Alternatively, if you are chasing sunshine you drop straight into the fall line fresh to runs such as Devil's Club, Jalapeno and Hot Sauce. Many skiers chose to pass the boundary rope into South Bowl Area, formerly used as the cat skiing terrain.
The fun and exciting playground of Mt Mackenzie are the glades. From top to bottom you can ski hundreds of distinct lines throughout the forested areas without getting caught in flat areas. Endless pillows and fresh lines remain hidden in these glades for days.
Revelstoke maintains its reputation as a steep skiing mountain and all the development has gone into expanding the terrain and facilities to accommodate this. There is no terrain park or designated freestyle area. However, if jibbing is your thing there are countless natural features (such as wall rides and tree jibs) throughout the ski area.
Located on Mount Mackenzie at 8,058ft (2,456m), Revelstoke is the only ski resort village in the world that offers lift-skiing, cat-skiing and heli-skiing operations from the one resort base. The cat ski area joins the southern resort boundary in South Bowl. This 'side country' bowl is no longer used for the cat ski operation due to the number of tracks from the backcountry skiers. South Bowl is a great place to start crossing into the backcountry since it has an obvious the cat track to point you back in the direction of the resort.
A word of caution on skiing backcountry in Revelstoke: The conical shape of the mountains can disorient skiers very easily and make you think you are traversing when you are actually losing elevation on every turn. Back country travellers often get lost in the tree line areas and end up having to overnight before they make it back to civilization.
Further south down the ridge from the peak of Mt Mackenzie, Montana Bowl and Kokanee Bowl make up the rest of the cat ski area. These bowls are accessible for ski touring, though groups heading out there should leave enough time to safely return to the resort or be equipped for overnight camping.
On the North Side you can push beyond the boundary of Greely Bowl. From the top of the Sub Peak boot pack you hike further towards the peak of Mt Mackenzie and drop into the couloirs above Greely Bowl. Upon exiting the alpine and entering the tree line, it is advised to follow the boundary ropes towards the Back 40 Glades. All fall lines beyond these trees can put you in danger of missing the turn-off back to the Ripper Chair.
If you want to enjoy the backcountry in style, Revelstoke Cat Skiing offers a full day package of unlimited vertical, crepe breakfast, beacon training, hot lunch and après session for $400 CDN per person. 12 seats are available daily.
For the ultimate powder experience in the Selkirk Mountains, Selkirk Tangiers Helicopter Skiing enjoys access to over 200,000 hectares (500,000 acres) in the Mt Revelstoke and Glacier national parks. Seats for both cat and heli in Revelstoke often sell out months in advance, so be sure to book early if you are planning heli-skiing on your next trip.
For ski touring purists there is no shortage of mountains void of mechanized lifting. The Revelstoke Guides Bureau (located in the Nelsen Lodge) offers a variety of single and multi-day trips into the vast Mt Revelstoke National Park. There are numerous guiding companies in the town of Revelstoke and all the ski shops have knowledge of the touring hot spots. Be sure to check in at the Headquarters of the Canadian Avalanche Association in town for all the latest backcountry information and snowpack conditions.
For more information on backcountry ski conditions:
Revelstoke Mountain Resort
Canadian Avalanche Association
The biggest and most popular is the Daylodge, where a small kitchen is able to provide the typical North American ski cuisine of soups, sandwiches, sushi, burgers and pastas. Mt Begbie beer and a selection of British Columbia wines are available from the bar. On sunny days the deck at the Daylodge is great place to enjoy lunch.
The Nelsen lodge in the Village has a similarly equipped restaurant (under construction), as well as a deli and cafe for skiers looking for food and beverage on the go.
At the top of the Revelation gondola, Mid Mountain has a small hut serving soups and sandwiches and fresh baked breads and treats. Enjoying the views of the valley from the deck at Mid Mountain is a must on sunny days, but the warm and rustic interior of this wooden ski hut is a nice option on cold days as well.
The 15 year development plan is to build over 5,000 housing units around the proposed Village area with over 500,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.
The hub of Revelstoke is still in the town. Founded on the Trans-Canadian railway, Revelstoke maintains its frontier image with its architecture and town planning. Aspen it is not, but skiers will find a decent variety of restaurants and shops. Given the limited offering the base village, visitors should plan on breaking out into downtown Revelstoke at least once during their visit. Additionally, because it is situated right on the trans-Canadian highway, retail and consumer goods are available at competitive prices compared to that of many resort towns.
For fine dining the Hillcrest Hotel Restaurant offers international and continental cuisine. The One Twelve Restaurant located inside the Regent Inn has a luxurious menu in a rustic Canadian pacific Railway setting. The Regent Inn is also home to the world largest soapstone carved grizzly bear.
For a more casual atmosphere try Bad Paul' Roadhouses & Grill, Big Eddy Inn or the Ol' Frontier. The Village Idiot, Speeders Pub and the Great White North Bar & Grill are great spots to relax with a beverage after a day's skiing. Prices are reasonable and the locally brewed beer is delicious. If you are in the mood for Chinese, check out the Hong Kong restaurant.
There are a handful coffee and lunch bars in town, most popular is the Modern Bakeshop Cafe. This place the regular morning hangout for local ski guides.
Glacier House Resort
679 Westside Road
Tel: +1 250 837 9594
109 First Street East
Tel: +1 250 837 CHOP (2467)
Great White North Bar & Grill
Trans Canada Highway
Tel: +1 250 837 3495
Bad Paul's Roadhouse & Grill
122 MacKenzie Avenue
Tel: +1 250 837 9575
Hong Kong Restaurant
113 MacKenzie Avenue
Tel: +1 250 837 2360
Big Eddy Inn
2108 Big Eddy Road
Tel: +1 250 837 9072
Canyon Motor Inn
1911 Fraser Drive
Tel: +1 250 837 5221
Claudio's Pizza and Pasta Parlour
204 Mackenzie Avenue
Tel: +1 250 837 6743
Chalet Bakery and Deli
555 Victoria Road
Tel: +1 250 837 4556
205 Mackenzie Ave
Tel: +1 250 837 4772
The Modern Bakeshop Cafe
112 Mackenzie Avenue
Tel: +1 250 837 6886
The Revelstoke Forum has an ice skating rink with curling facility attached.
With the vast expanse of the Selkirk and Columbia Mountains and huge amounts of snowfall, there is a sizeable culture of snowmobiling in Revelstoke. Great Canadian Snow Mobile Tours offer vehicle and equipment rentals, single and multi-day guided trips and accommodation packages. For more information contact [email protected] or 1-877-837-9594
Revelstoke is the home of the Canadian Avalanche Association (CAA). Courses in avalanche awareness and operations run out of Revelstoke and numerous other resorts in British Columbia. If you are new to the area and plan touring without a guide make sure you stop into the office and take advantage of all the necessary resources.
If you're looking for some time off the snow the Revelstoke Aquatic Centre has a 25m lap pool and a play area for families.
For a relaxing change year round you can visit Halycon Hotsprings Resort, 68km south of Revelstoke. Facilities include four mineral pools, wellness treatments, accommodation and dining.
If you are into historic sites, the Revelstoke Museum and Archives and the Railway Museum give an insight to the frontier heritage of this town.
In the summer a whole new set of activities becomes available including hiking around glaciers in the national parks, golfing at the Revelstoke Golf Club (est. 1924), zip lining at Sky Trek Adventure Park, mountain biking, kayaking, climbing and fishing.