Overview of Revelstoke Mountain Resort, British Columbia
Written by Greg and Heather Burke
Revelstoke has obvious stoke factor, with the biggest vertical in North America at 5,620’, and 3,121 acres of skiing including two high alpine bowls and 65 thigh burningly long trails. Revelstoke Mountain Resort is also the only resort in the world to offer lift accessed resort skiing plus cat skiing, heli-skiing and backcountry skiing all emanating from one ski resort base. In fact, Revelstoke is the capital of heli-skiing in BC, Canada and the globe for that matter. Just off the Trans Canada Highway, Revelstoke is home to the humbling ski resort plus Revelstoke Cat Skiing and Selkirk Tangiers Heli-Skiing -giving skiers and snowboarders access to a total of 515,000 acres of diverse terrain and options in all kinds of weather from snowy white outs when helicopters can't fly or lifts can't run, but cats can. Plus there are numerous other cat ski and heli-ski outfits in Revelstoke including Eagle Pass Heli-Ski, Mica, and CMH to name a few.
Revelstoke’s conical ski peak, finally accessed by lifts in 2007 (previously cat ski tenure) is spectacular, snowy, and has superb views. Revelstoke Ski Resort is actually on Mt Mackenzie but named for the neighboring Revelstoke Mountain and Revelstoke National Park (established 1914) you can view from the slopes. The beautiful Columbia River below snakes through the valley, and across the valley are the magnificent Monashees, home to some of the best heli-skiing in the world.
Although Revelstoke is the newest ski area, opened in 2007, skiing in the Revelstoke region dates back to the late 1800s with oldest ski club in North America based here, and a tradition of Nordic jumping and skiing on Boulder Mountain right in town. Revelstoke was a potential host site for the 1916 Winter Olympics for its terrain, WW1 interrupted that first game. In the 70’s Revelstoke’s current lift-serviced terrain was Powder Springs Cat ski operation. Dopplemayer wanted to build the largest ski resort in the world here in the 80s, and with just two more lifts Revelstoke could expand to over 9,000 acres eclipsing Whistler/Blackcomb. But for now, there is too minimal skier traffic to justify that expansion. Skiing at Revelstoke is rarely crowded.
Today the Gaglardi family, Canadian owners of Sandman and Sutton Place Hotels and Dennys, are at the helm. Revelstoke offers a surprising range of low to high alpine terrain. The Revelation gondola takes you from the base just above the Columbia River up 3,500’ vertical. Expert skiers can access North Bowl and Greeley Bowl’s snowy steeps and chutes with a short hike from the Stoke quad (2,000’ vertical high speed), or you can cruise on super long steep groomed runs like Snow Rodeo, and a bunch of glades from well spaced, moderately pitched tree to crazy cliffs in tight pines – like Conifers of Gnarnia. What’s nice about Revie is you can pop into the glades, bumps or steeps and bail onto the Last Spike, the 10-mile Last Spike that meanders down the Frontside.
The only slopeside hotel at Revelstoke is the posh Sutton Place Hotel Revelstoke, or rent the new Heli House or Big Horn private luxury chalet with 8-10 bedrooms for a Pinnacle Experience. The Sutton Place Hotel is elegant and perfectly poised by the gondola. The Sutton's ski-in ski-out condo style hotel has beautiful suites with fireplaces, washer dryers, and full kitchens, plus the amenities of a full-service hotel including concierge service, and outdoor hot tub, and you are just steps to the two great eateries, Rockford Wok/Bar/Grill and Mac’s Village Tavern. The Revelstoke village is very compact, just a few ski shops, La Baguette coffee shop. What’s amazing is that you can ski to Revelstoke's cat ski operation, and a heli picks you up for heli-skiing – pretty sweet. The only ski joke about Revelstoke is that it snows so much here, you might get Revel-stuck... is that a bad thing?! Rogers Pass that travels from Kicking Horse and Golden to Revelstoke often closes in big snow. But the lifts, cat, and heli-skiing keep spinning!
For a great ski safari, we recommend you start your adventure from Calgary skiing Banff’s Sunshine and Lake Louise, then proceeding to Kicking Horse and Revelstoke. For tamer terrain, you could start with Big White, Silver Star, or Sun Peaks in the Okanagan, then graduate to Revelstoke’s challenging terrain and cat or heli-skiing when you have your ski legs. While BC is a bit more challenging to fly to than Utah or Colorado, once you ski the Canadian Rockies snow and see their magnificent mountains you will be glad you made the ski trip.