Revelstoke, BC (January 2, 2010) – I first visited Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR) in their inaugural season two years ago for an article in frequency TSJ Issue 7.1. What we found was a vast, undeveloped mountain with deep turns available after a short traverse—even two weeks after a storm. Upon my return over the holidays I found a resort that has grown with its new ownership—but it has grown at a moderated pace and still serves up fresh terrain, even when it hasn’t snowed for days.
Nikolai Samson, late day pow turns off the peak.
Two years ago, one gondola and one chair accessed the upper reaches of mount Mackenzie. RMR has since added an extension to the gondola to serve a massive hotel, upscale restaurant, and easy-access parking to access the 5,620 vertical feet of trees, bowls and chutes that the resort has to offer. Add to that the Ripper Chair, and access to the backcountry beyond North Bowl becomes ever-more appealing.
On the tail end of a week-long drought and under sunny skies, Nikolai Samson and Tyler Corrigan lead me beyond the ropes in search of fresh snow and we weren’t disappointed. A simple traverse line lead to a plethora of options at tree line—pillows, cliffs, and short, steep lines lay untouched just beyond the boundary. With two days to explore, we only got to about half of the features that lay on one untouched knob of many a ten-minute hike from the lower boundaries of the Ripper’s terrain. Even the inbounds flanks off the peak offered fresh turns in fading sun—on what I was told to be “the busiest day of the year”, lift lines were minimal and it was easy to explore at a leisurely rate, knowing there was no need to race for lines.
Nikolai Samson sans bindings stalefish on his White Wave traction pad and homemade swallowtail.
The town, too, has changed a little, with a half-dozen board shops now dispersed over the few blocks of downtown and a smoky metal bar now serving a more international crowd with some top 40. But the pace remains subdued, and a night out meant standing around a backyard fire with a couple kegs of Mt Begbie Pale Ale and prepping the legs for more hiking in the morning.
Certainly, development has come to Revelstoke, and brought along with it further terrain options and a few more outsiders. However, the local vibe remains distinctly small town and riders eager to chat on the chair and chat about where they’ve been, how it’s been, and even how to get there. Indeed, the local community remains strong and true to its roots—just how I had hoped.
Nikolai Samson, surfing the White Wave.
Thanks to Ashley Tait and the rest of the crew at RMR—I hope to return soon, because, in two days, we barely tapped the potential that the mountain has to offer.