Review of Revelstoke

31st December 2013 by

Peter Frinton

 

I skied Revie for the first time in March 2013, just after a ‘pineapple express’ (warm / wet, ie rain event). I expected the worst, but was hugely surprised by the good conditions on top, the enormous potential of the resort, the extraordinary vistas, the high quality lifts (though very meagre).

Most of all, it was the vertical! Biggest in North America at over 5600 feet, and while this is not Aiguille du Midi (Chamonix) or the Parsenn (Davos/Klosters), there just ain’t anything quite like it in America.

One run, in particular, stands out- Pitch Black- a simple fall line top to bottom, that is affectionately known as ‘My ex-wife’. Lots of fun at first, then hard work, then you can’t wait till it’s over. Kill the Banker is a shorter version- at other places it would be called Show-off (Panorama) or Exhibition (Sun Valley) because it is in view under the lift line.

With many of the runs, you commit to the whole mountain, and believe me, it’s a long way down. Some people hike from the top of Stoke chair into Greely Bowl for a bit extra higher altitude pow., but according to the resident experts, eg Mayor David Raven, a keen skier himself, the lower reaches and glades are where to go when the white stuff hits. No people, better visibility, no wind, and usually you’ll get several cms of new stuff between runs.

The base facilities are pretty embryonic- one fancy Sutton Place hotel and a few condos, but the parking lots and everything else was mud when we were there. Better to stay in town, 5 kms away. This place needs a bunch more money for infrastructure- a year after opening in 2007, the recession hit hard, and the expected investment just hasn’t materialized. As well, an expanded airport would be a plus, to handle turbo props from Kelowna, Calgary or Vancouver.

Still, for a young mountain, this is very worthwhile visiting. Already, some European ski/boarding promoters are putting together packages. Be among the pioneers and get here before everyone else finds out about the place. Lots of good eats in the authentic railway era town, and a goodly number of young powder hounds (here and at Kicking Horse, Red mountain and Whitewater) hang out all winter, just to get those first runs in after a dump.

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