Skiing in Revelstoke

Revelstoke ski area prides itself on offering big mountain heli-skiing and cat-skiing terrain with the convenience and price of a resort visit. With the longest lift-serviced vertical skiing in North America, there are few places that can match Revelstoke’s amazing steep terrain acre for acre. And it’s growing.

Revelstoke Ski Area Overview

Revelstoke Mountain Resort ski area covers a total of 1,227 hectare (3,031 acres) including 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.

Beginner Skiing in Revelstoke

While Revelstoke can cater for all ski levels, novices and beginners may find the terrain intimidating. If you are bringing a family to ski here make sure they are all capable of skiing advanced terrain.

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.

Intermediate Skiing in Revelstoke

Intermediate skiers in Revelstoke will find blue groomed trails that are steep and smooth unless “unlucky” enough to arrive after fresh snowfall in which case the upper intermediate runs will be fresh powder and you’ll be exhausting yourself “off-piste”.

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.

Advanced & Expert Skiing in Revelstoke

Over half of Revelstoke’s ski terrain is designated for experts, a paradise for free riding and steep skiing. After heavy snowfall, wait for The Stoke chair to open and rip fresh tracks on Vertigo and Pitch Black.

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.

Boarding & Freestyle in Revelstoke

Snowboarders in Revelstoke benefit just as much from the resort’s fall line terrain. While boot packing and traversing may be arduous at times, if staying within the ski area boundaries there’s no reason why boarders can’t access the same amazing lines.

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.

Off-Piste & Backcountry Skiing in Revelstoke

Revelstoke’s backcountry skiing was brought in bounds when the resort opened. Having started as a backcountry destination for cat and heli-skiing, the off-piste terrain of Revelstoke’s Mount Mackenzie is the single biggest attraction for the thousands of hard core skiers and riders that have made the move to Revelstoke Mountain Resort.

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

Mountain Restaurants in Revelstoke

Revelstoke has three food outlets on the mountain, but limited choice of mountain restaurants will not concern the majority of advanced and expert skiers seeking to maximize their time on the slopes.

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.


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