I’ve described Salt Lake City as the mecca of North American skiing. It gets there in large part because of their consistent snowfall and number of world-class resorts. The State of Utah even trademarked “The Greatest Snow on Earth.” Revelstoke doesn’t advertise itself like Utah. It doesn’t have to. Revelstoke is beyond a religious experience, it’s a cult.
There are many ways to describe Revelstoke:
- Backcountry with lifts (it started out as a cat and heli-skiing area)
- Heli and cat skiing with lifts (they have both heli and cat operations at the base area)
- Longest North American ski resort vertical, 5,620 ft (1,713 meters)
- Low key, skier centric, unpretentious, extreme skier/boarder paradise
- Ripper’s heaven
Then there are the stories. True stories that go something like this:
“We only get a postcard from Bobby at Christmas these days. Five years ago, he sold his truck and bought a yurt and a snowmobile. He lives in the mountains of Revelstoke with some friends.”
“Legend has it that true skiers, once they find Revelstoke, never come back. Really, we all know someone who has lost someone to Revelstoke.”
Most spectacular ski adventures lead you to question how great the ski area is relative to others you’ve visited. Only Revelstoke makes you question your prior existence and contemplate staying.
If you walk the town you’ll notice a strange look and feel to the town. An old single plex movie theater flanked on both sides by Chinese Restaurants. Down the street are Heli Ski companies: four or five in town.
You’ll find Paramjit’s Kitchen. Chef and founder, Goldie Sanghera, cooking up German-Indian fusion food. You read that right: German-Indian fusion. Things like Butter Chicken Spatzle.
Its kind of like that Twilight Zone episode called “The Bewitchin’ Pool.” It’s well to do, but unloved children that discover a new world. They dive into their luxurious swimming pool behind their stately but cold mansion and end up in a lost world and time, where the beloved Aunt T. makes them feel at home and loved.
The opening narrative is:
Introduction to a perfect setting: Colonial mansion, spacious grounds, heated swimming pool. All the luxuries money can buy. Introduction to two children: brother and sister, names Jeb and Sport. Healthy, happy, normal youngsters. Introduction to a mother: Gloria Sherwood by name, glamorous by nature. Introduction to a father: Gil Sherwood, handsome, prosperous, the picture of success. A man who has achieved every man’s ambition. Beautiful children, beautiful home, beautiful wife. Idyllic? Obviously. But don’t look too carefully, don’t peek behind the facade. The idyll may have feet of clay.
After the Introduction, Rod Serling says,
A swimming pool not unlike any other pool, a structure built of tile and cement and money, a backyard toy for the affluent, wet entertainment for the well-to-do. But to Jeb and Sport Sharewood, this pool holds mysteries not dreamed of by the building contractor, not guaranteed in any sales brochure. For this pool has a secret exit that leads to a never-neverland, a place designed for junior citizens who need a long voyage away from reality, into the bottomless regions of the Twilight Zone.
If the Powder Highway, or the Powder Triangle, has its own Bewitchin’ Pool, it certainly leads to Revelstoke. If skiing in general has a Bewitchin’ Pool, it certainly leads to Revelstoke.
Revelstoke Expert Skier Experience
All of it. It is backcountry after all.
North Bowl. Jump a cornice, ski a 55 degree slope, traverse into Greely Bowl, end up in the Beauty and Back 40 Glades. Mike drop, season over. Of course, it’s so fun you’ll do it again, and again.
There are a number of ways to access North Bowl. You can take a couple of hikes or a traverse. The hikes will get you to the top of North Bowl where the extreme stuff really takes off. Runs include Powder Assault, Discipline, Mania and Drop In. From Powder Assault, you can access to Greely Bowl. A hard traverse skiers right can also get you over to Greely Bowl. Greely Bowl is also accessible on a long traverse starting at the top of the Stoke Chair. Slide in and stay on the high traverse all the way across. If you access North Bowl by traversing around on Vertigo (stay super high) you can drop in on runs like Unlimited Assets, Meet The Neighbors, Brake Check and Parachute.
Stoke Chair. Skier’s left off Stoke is South Bowl where you’ll find lots of relatively mellow expert terrain. Skier’s right is separate Reality and Vertigo.
Lower Mountain. Kill The Banker under the Gondola is a run of a lifetime. It can be literally your life so be careful. Conifers of Gnarnia Glades is a great tree run for anyone who likes glades. Some of the lines are really tight but they have done some clearing and some areas are even open. It’s not as steep or gnarly as Kill The Banker. There also tree runs in Critical Path Glades, but watch the big rock croppings.
Snow Hunting in Revelstoke
Revelstoke starts at very low elevation: 1,680 feet and only about 25% of the mountain is North facing. When its warm for any period of time, the lower portions of the mountain get slushy and go through melt and freeze cycles. North Bowl is your best bet. Other options are chasing North facing runs like Big Woody.
This Blog rarely focusses on apres skiing or accommodations. Many others cover these areas. For Revelstoke, I’ll break my rule. Not really, Revelstoke is all about the skiing and if you want to jump into those that represent Revelstoke best, stay with Ryan Cronsberry at his Valley Retreat Bed & Breakfast. Check out their website here. Nice rooms, people from all over the world, tuning gear and stories galore. Ryan and his buddies know the Mountain as well as anybody in Revelstoke. Let them help you map an adventure.