When? March 4th-8th, 2008
Where? Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Revelstoke, British Columbia.
Since almost no one here has ever even heard of this resort, I thought I'd do my best to provide a bit of background info as well as detail my riding experiences. Consider this a mini-travel review.
Info - Revelstoke is a very small, blue collar, rail and lumber community nestled tightly between peaks of the Canadian Rockies in eastern British Columbia. Previously it had a small, old school two person chair to satisfy ski buffs, but is now undergoing a MASSIVE development as the new Revelstoke Mountain Resort. Currently there is a new day-lodge, gondola, and secondary four-person lift to take skiers and boarders up to almost the peak of the mountain, and there are 27 runs. Development is still in full swing, with runs and lifts to extend all the way to the very top, and at the base of the mountain, enabling riders to walk to the lifts from the in-development resort village, with the ability to ride all the way back down. By the time all the lifts and runs are completed, Revelstoke will boast the largest vertical drop of any resort in North America.
So much money and speculation has already been poured into this project that the "phase I" condos for the new village have already sold out, before a single one has been built, with prices STARTING at 400k for a 450 sq ft apartment! Homeowners in the existing town have seen the prices of their modestly designed and sized homes skyrocket to near seven figures, with any decent property propelling well into the 1.5 - 2 million dollar mark.
So, we know where it's headed, but is the mountain even worth all of this hype?
Well, from this beginner boarder's perspective, oh yes, very much so. Having only 4 days of boarding experience prior to this trip, I began questioning the intelligence of this decision when I saw the mountain itself. Clearly, I wasn't in Kansas (Cypress Mtn) anymore. I was taken up by the hotel owner, since there are NO shuttles during the week (most people hitchhike). Just easing our way up the big mountain's deeply rutted and pothole-cratered muddy roads (paving is due this summer) gave me the feeling that this wasn't going to cater to a pansy-ass beginner, aka me.
Long story VERY short. In 3 short days, I progressed from easing my way down the lone "green" (which is definitely NOT for beginners) to carving (though not without some falling) down blues, and even trying my hand at a couple of blacks. The views are incredible, and the runs are looooooong. Even without fresh snowfall since I was there, there was plenty of buttery smooth powder thanks to the sun pounding down on the mountain, though it was icier near the bottom (which made the green run that much less green... I mean, you could REALLY pick up speed going down it). And since it is still so early in development, only diehard enthusiasts are there. No snobby resort whores. Just plenty of people all sharing one common goal: to have fun on the mountain, which ever method you prefer.
In short: this is a challenging mountain that will reward the riders who are willing to try it (And the town) out. It's quiet, hardly crowded at all (you'll never wait), and all the while you can enjoy some really thrilling scenery as you bomb down some pretty long runs. Hotels and lift tickets are also quite reasonable, and the town has a couple of really good restaurants (incl a few Italian, Greek, Japanese, and fine dining types) and some watering holes that really get you to soak up the local, blue collar feel. As long as you're not a total asshole, you'll have no problem getting along with these salt-of-the-earth types.
I wanted to keep this as brief as possible, because I could go on and on if I don't restrain myself (already wrote a 3 page diary!).
So, if anyone has any questions, please don't hesitate at all to ask me!
Now, onto the photos.
Welcome to the Town of Revelstoke