There’s a reason Revelstoke has been named number one on Powder Magazine’s list of “32 Best Places to Ski in North America” and won its “2014 Ski Town Throwdown.”
Revelstoke lays claim to the most vertical in North America and has, until recently, been a best-kept secret. Sadly for locals and those who discovered this powder paradise early, today the mountain is receiving the fanfare its terrain warrants.
Gnorm the Powder Gnome
Helicopters fly loudly overhead every morning (departing from the same base area as the snowcats and lifts) and you’ll be tempted to blow a month’s pay to hop on one. But the beauty of Revelstoke is that powder seekers don’t need to shell out big money to find a (semi) private powder stash.
Revy’s mascot, Gnorm the Powder Gnome, keeps the mountain honest. His 24/7 webcam lets skiers and riders see exactly what they’re getting into. Whether he’s knee or neck deep, a little bit of snow goes a long way on this mountain.
It’s not uncommon to see rain in town or be nervous about conditions on the first gondola ride of the day, but, without fail, you’ll hit the winter line. And you aren’t likely to go back below it until your last run of the day – 5,620 feet to the base, which is no easy feat after a big day of bowls, technical lines and glades.
From the gondola, head to the Stoke Chair and hike into Greely Bowl. Here you’ll find a bit of everything – rollers, cliffs, tight lines, pillows and picture-perfect tree skiing. You’ll have to work for it, though – expect to kick out of your skis or board to boot pack three times. If you don’t know the area, exercise caution as it’s easy to get cliffed out.
From there you’ll get on the Ripper, which has some good glades visible from the chair, but if less people and more powder is what you’re looking for you’ll use it to get back to the Stoke Chair and into poachable catski terrain.
Without skins you won’t get too far (and locals will be none too happy about you tearing up the skin track), but you can access South Bowl. This isn’t your typical, wide-open bowl. It’s naturally gladed, has fresh lines for your whole crew and allows you to easily synch back up with the cat track to get back inbounds.
For those looking for the road even less traveled, Roger’s Pass is only about 35 miles away and, from what pictures show, is an endless ski movie-quality playground.
Town of Revelstoke
Revelstoke is far enough from airports (over two hours from Kelowna and more than four from Calgary) that, for years, the mountain’s stats and legends were enough to draw only serious skiers and boarders out to central British Columbia. This kept it small and friendly, but the once-sleepy town is waking up.
It’s got après spots like the Village Idiot, where you can expect good food, drinks and company. It’s got the divey, but classic Last Drop Pub with live music. It’s got one of the best breakfast burritos you’ll ever taste at The Modern Bakeshop. It’s even got The Cabin, a bowling alley lounge where you can meet cool people while sipping fishbowl-sized drink concoctions and sinking into leather couches.
Locals keep hoping the hype will die down, but with a ski town as authentic as they come and the mountain’s unmatched terrain, it’s not likely. The time to visit is now.