Revelstoke was infamous. We had heard it was the best ski hill in the country, perhaps in the world. We were told the snow was made from the softest tears of the abominable snowman and that the ski runs were long, steep, and perfect. Needless to say, we had high expectations. Did it meet them? For me, no.
For my abilities, intermediate to advanced, the mountain seemed well out of my league. Its blue runs were more like black runs and its black runs, well actually, they were fairly similar to the blues. The whole mountain was steep and covered with tightly knitted trees. For my friends with expert abilities, they were in skiers heaven, but I had been condemned to a fear-induced hell. For my first run of the day, I sat at the top of what felt like a vertical cliff, weeping. Now, to clarify, I am not a beginner. I have been well-traveled in my skiing and snow boarding experience. I can twist and turn my way down runs, have been heli-skiing, and can attempt little jumps. However, Revelstoke is something else. I was provided with no end of excuses, perhaps my board wasn’t right, perhaps it’s harder on a snowboard than skis, but the truth is that this mountain is not made for me.
Thankfully, I made it down the vertical cliff and even went back for seconds and thirds. In fact I snowboarded day after day, but still I failed to fall for the charm of the Stoke. Perhaps my expectations were set too high. Perhaps I shouldn’t have compared myself to my expert friends. Perhaps I should have just stayed in bed.
Some days were better than others. There were days when over 10cm of fresh powder had fallen over night, making every run feel like sliding down magical marshmallows. On these days, other than the fear of an avalanche, there was no need to worry about anything. These moments were pretty incredible. If it was a powder day for every minute of every day, then maybe I could have come to befriend the mountain, but, unfortunately, the powder inevitably got skied out and I was left with a frown.
On the positive side, it was one of the first mountains I had been to where I had ridden on all the chairs available. This wasn’t too difficult, as there were only two chairs and a gondola on the mountain. Despite the lack of chairs, the terrain was wide and varied… or so this is what my friends tell me. I stuck to just a few runs that seemed manageable, after sucking up the courage to get down them. The runs, however, were very long compared to every other ski field.
We stayed at the Revelstoke Gateway Inn. It was tired, the floors were on a lean and you needed a PHD to run the shower, but it was cheap. It was a 20 minute drive to the bottom of the chairlift, but the town is fairly small and most people don’t stay at the pricey Sutton Place Hotel located at the gondola. The town of Revelstoke is pretty nice, with The Taco Club taking the prize for best place to eat dinner. Zala’s wasn’t too bad, with the novelty of having a “side” of spaghetti bolognese with your steak, fries, salad, and garlic bread. I guess they assume skiers are hungry. I guess they always are. The Nomad Food Co burgers are also pretty epic.
All in all, it’s not my favourite resort. But, hey, I’m only one opinion.