good hike-to terrain, expansion into nearby bowls would make RMR a great resort
only one chair worth riding, bottom 70% of mountain is worthless, woods not gladed
RMR has been getting lots of positive hype lately, but it does not yet live up to the massive praise. I spent two weeks there in Feb 2010, which was unfortunately a period of low snowfall and thin base. RMR is touted as a tree-skier's powder paradise with the most vertical in North America and vast amounts of expert terrain. Although the resort cannot be blamed for the lack of daily freshies during my visit, the claim of endless gladed runs is false. Yes, the wooded area is truly vast, but it is all densely crowded second growth forest, much too tight for sustained fall-line skiing. The woods are momentarily thin near tree line, as they always are, but below that, forget about it.
The resort boasts over 5,000 vertical feet, but the lower 70% of the mountain is a no-man's land of seemingly endless slushy beginner and intermediate runs and cat tracks, more to be endured than enjoyed. Advanced skiers will spend the entire day on The Stoke chair, the highest and best lift presently available. The upper bowls on either side of this chair are fun and challenging in places, and the 10-minute hike up to the sub-peak and out the ridge to Mt. McKenzie gives access to some epic drops. However, it is way too easy to miss the long unmarked traverse back to The Stoke. The hapless rider who overshoots The Stoke will be banished to the purgatory of the Lower Mountain and it is a long trip back up to the top.
On the bright side, RMR has enormous potential and could someday be a truly great ski hill. With expansion and addition of multiple new lifts into Greely Bowl and eventually into the entire cat-ski area of South Bowl and beyond, it would be on par with the best big-bowl skiing in North America. Aggressive tree-thinning would open up the dense wooded thickets below and create superb gladed playgrounds.
The nearby town of Revelstoke is mellow, friendly, inexpensive, and casual. It is the Anti-Vail. Before you head out, grab a coffee and muffin at The Modern, and stash a Boofy Uptrack Bar in your pack for later. After, go to The Village Idiot for a burger and pints of Tall Timber Ale. Stay at the marvelous Snowed Inn and learn all about the birth of No-Boarding from one of it's founding pioneers.