HOW TO REVEL IN THE STOKE
In a land that seems far, far away…half of the crew arrived by plane and the other half by car. The combined goal was to search and explore a land that seemed unattainable. The surprise is this land filled with powder that is untouched by crowds is actually more accessible than one may think and it’s one of the purest powder havens on the planet. Some of us came from the east and some from the west. We were all in pursuit of adventure where all the elements of winter align. Our mission was chasing an endless supply of powder in a place called Revelstoke.
First things first…how close is Revelstoke? When looking at a map it may seem like a distant fantasy. Many assume it’s out there like the North Pole. What you may be shocked to find out is that in reality this couldn’t be further from the truth. A direct flight into Kelowna and smooth sailing along the highway allows us to arrive in Revelstoke in no-time. Even the drive itself is enjoyable. In a couple hours you travel through the Okanagan Valley to the doorsteps of the Monashee and Selkirk Mountains. Like a curtain being drawn back for the opening act the clouds broke and the weather clears. We were greeted by the towering and impressive peaks that we will be calling home for the duration of our trip. Driving over the Columbia River into town, the sound of freight trains passing by and the buzzing helicopters bring excitement to our hearts. Our minds begin to race as we imagine the adventure that will surely become a fantastic chapter in our lives.
Revelstoke is a place of contrasts. On the surface it could be considered a mining or lumber milling town, but as you dig deeper you find that it’s much more. Walking into the town square called Grizzly Plaza and heading down MacKenzie Avenue you begin to notice that they are preserving and enhancing the architecture. You realize it is a city connected to its environment as well it’s past. This place is a vibrant, healthy and forward thinking outpost with true, raw energy of the wilderness surrounding it.
It should come as no surprise that in a place so connected to the mountains, a company like Trapper Snowboards would arise. They produce quality snowboards and splitboards, which happen to be ideal, for conquering the peaks that surround the area. We were lucky enough to have Greg Fortier open his Big Eddy shop to provide a glimpse into the design and craftsmanship behind each board they manufacture.
Entering into its 5th year of production, Trapper has built a community of passionate adventurers and brand advocates. These brand ambassadors provide Greg with valuable feedback needed to support the advance of his craft. Every board they build is made with heart and a philosophy of supporting local.
It was definitely a privilege to be able to see their operation. After the tour, we were sent on our way with a couple demos and a contact for local Revelstoke resident, Seb Grondin. Seb has great knowledge of the mountain and has been there since it opened in 2007.
Most ski resorts have a measuring stick to illustrate how much snow falls. Not here, not at “Revy.” They measure their snow using the “Powder Gnome!” This night in particular, the snow was accumulating on him quickly and the overnight forecast looked promising. With stormy weather on the horizon, our thought was that others would be lining up in the early hours to get first tracks. This was probably a good bet with the 20 cm forecasted. The following day we arrived at the base lot and met up with Seb. He offered to show us why Revelstoke is so revered for never ending powder.
Lap after lap we poached deep pow and gladed trees. This terrain had us in awe and we had only seen a small percentage of what Revelstoke Mountain Resort had to offer. It was sensory overload! There were tons of pillows and features ready for the taking, just off the groomed trail. The mountain was quiet and peaceful. Only the occasional “YAHOO!!!” broke the silence. At that moment you could picture someone dropping into one of the many deep alpine bowls. Our dream of chasing snow along the Powder Highway had come true!
After epic runs down Snow Rodeo and Downtowner we met up with the Somewon Collective. This is a group of athletes, artists and musicians who created a line of clothing that embodies the Canadian lifestyle. Today we were lucky enough to meet up with Al Clark, Danny LeBlanc and Jenn Devlin. It was perfect timing. Ski patrol opened up new terrain leading to untouched powder in the most playful terrain imaginable. It was really inspiring to watch the athletes explode off turns and take on big pillow drops. This resort really is the best kept secret!
After a great day on the mountain we headed back into town to meet up with Mark and Jen Baron to learn more about Somewon Collective. Located along First Street, you will find a small shop filled with loads of talent. It is an adventure brand that draws inspiration from the mountain and the people that call it home. Imagine a community of adventurers that give back and keep the “stoke” alive by promoting a life well lived.
As if this wasn’t enough, the town of Revelstoke has more!
The famed Selkirk Tangier Heli-skiing is based right in town. For those lucky enough to be there mid-week, they offer an adventure called the Powder Excursion. If the schedule allows, definitely make sure to check this out.
History buff? Then head to Nels Nelson Hill. Here you will learn how Revelstoke played a key role in the progression of ski jumping. This is a neat piece of Revelstoke history that recently earned national historic recognition.
Lastly, when searching for a place to stay, look at the Valley Retreat. This small bed and breakfast is located in close proximity to Revelstoke Mountain Resort. Valley Retreat is modern lodging that offers a relaxed vibe and great amenities.
I’d like to thank our trip supporters Tourism Revelstoke, Highway Tour Collective, Wildland Media, Local Freshies, Clif Bar and Company, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Somewon Collective, Trapper Snowboards and Nadine Nevitt & Co.