Located in the Canadian Rockies midway between Vancouver and Calgary, Revelstoke is a fairly new kid on the block in Canadian skiing with an up-and-coming reputation. Revelstoke is basically a handful of lifts accessing an awesome bit of terrain with huge vert and steep slopes, and the large quantities of dry powder for which the Rockies are famous. Not really one for freestylers, but something of a freerider’s paradise.
Highest lifted point: 2225m
Lowest skiable point: 512m
Vertical drop: 1713m
Total run length: 55km
Longest run: 15.2km
Ski area size: 1263 hectares
Terrain, snow, off-piste, nightlife, transportation, etc for Revelstoke
Having failed to score a bar job in Whistler when I first arrived in Canada, I decided to try my luck in the Canadian Rockies at resorts like Lake Louise and Banff in Alberta, and Revelstoke in the BC interior. That didn’t work out either, so I went back to Vancouver and then briefly took a job at Hemlock before ending up back in Vancouver again with a job at Cypress Mountain. I didn’t get any riding done in Banff / Lake Louise as money was tight (a shame – the mountains looked seriously good around there), but I did manage a day on the slopes in Revelstoke, a resort which was then only a few years old and about which I’d heard great things.
Revelstoke is a fair bit smaller than Whistler with only three lifts, but it has more vertical than any other resort in North America and boy do those three lifts open up a serious range of steep and varied terrain options. It’s also very cold there, and the snow quality (as well as quantity) is excellent; all of which means that it’s a great mountain for expert skiers looking for a fix of steep and deep, though there isn’t much for beginners and there’s no park or pipe. Long term plans for the mountain do include freestyle features though, and with another 20-something lifts planned Revelstoke may eventually be larger than Whistler if all plans come to fruition.
I had a great day at Revelstoke riding steep gradients, deep snow, and gnarly off-piste, in the icy cold and with great views of the Rockies, and the potential for the area was clearly enormous. Do be a little careful going off-piste at Revy though, when I say gnarly I do mean gnarly – I ended up skiing down this (apologies for the crappy old camera phone picture quality):
…which could’ve ended badly if I’d been going too fast into it. That would probably have been completely roped off at many resorts, so go easy if you don’t know the lay of the land as there could be some nasty surprises!
For now, it’s a great mountain to hit if you want some challenging riding away from the Whistler crowds, though the driving times of 6 hours from Vancouver and 4 hours from Calgary mean it is a bit of an effort to get there – I went by Greyhound bus, which worked fine but took even longer. Perhaps the best idea if you want to hit Revelstoke is to do a road trip, taking in Revy along with other interior BC & Alberta resorts like Red Mountain, Fernie, and Banff.
Resources and Useful Links for Riding at Revelstoke
Search for hotel deals in Revelstoke
Travel insurance with snow sports cover from World Nomads. Their flexible insurance can be bought even if you’re already overseas – I once found out the hard way (in Thailand) how important this can be!
Snow Forecast for Revelstoke (snow-forecast.com does exactly what it says on the tin, and is my usual go to for accurate snow forecasts)
Have you been to Revelstoke? Were you stoked? Are you a local who thinks I’m talking rubbish, or do you have a great tip to share? Does my information need updating? Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you.
(Photo Credit: Kyle Pearce, Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license)
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