In interior British Columbia, adjacent to the Trans-Canada Highway, [R2804R, Revelstoke Mountain Resort] flanks burly Mount Mackenzie. From its conical snow-encrusted crown, it swoops an enormous distance down to its foundation near the Columbia River. It’s a mountain that demands much of your legs, for the resort nosedives with the greatest vertical in North America.
Revy, as the locals call it, drops 1,713 meters (5,620 feet) of vertical. Runs tumble on and on, seeming to never reach the bottom. Three major lifts feed so much terrain that you spend more time skiing and less time feeling like a gerbil spinning through another lift ride.
Three Bowls flanking Mount Mackenzie provide cat skiing terrain that starts in the snowy alpine. Photo by Becky Lomax.
Revelstoke also traps snow. Snippets of blue skies punctuate frequent powder days. So much natural snow falls that the resort annually tallies between 1,000 and 1,500 centimeters (35 to 50 feet) of white gold.
Here’s how you can tackle the steeps and snow of Revy in three days:
Head straight to the top. Due to Revelstoke’s lower elevation (under 8,000 feet), you won’t need to acclimatize. Instead, ride the Revelation Gondola, ski a short shot on The Last Spike, and hop The Stoke high-speed quad to the summit.
Ease into the first run with a lap on the Critical Path groomer. After riding back up The Stoke, it is time to feel Revelstoke’s full vert.
Several long runs descend from the summit of The Stoke to the Mid-Mountain Lodge. Photo by Royce Silhis. Courtesy of Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
Sink into Snow Rodeo for a summit to base run. As it bucks down the mountain between steep pitches and more moderate slopes, the skiing shifts from a wide-open draw to a forest-lined run. By the time you reach The Last Spike, a green road that zig-zags from top to bottom, you’ve dropped 2,300 feet, the vertical of many ski areas.
But Snow Rodeo continues its long descent, joining The Last Spike at Mid-Mountain Lodge to cut through the tunnel and drop its final 1,000 feet to reach the gondola base. The legs may whine, but they can rest on the gondola and Stoke.
A deep powder day on the top of Snow Rodeo. Photo by Steve Parsons. Courtesy of Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
From the summit again, choose Hot Sauce and Devil’s Club to tour Revelstoke’s southern boundary. Descend to the Mid-Mountain Lodge for a hearty lunch of chili in a bread bowl earned by topping 11,000 vertical feet by noon.
Spend the afternoon exploring the vast acres of glades on the front side of the mountain. From The Stoke, Separate Reality and Clyde’s Secret glades combine small chutes and aprons that drop into trees. From the gondola, you can venture through the Critical Path Glades, one of Revelstoke’s biggest tree skiing areas.
After picking up espresso and a BLT bagel sandwich at La Baguette, head up the gondola and The Stoke for the back bowls where clear days grant views of Mt. Revelstoke to the north. Although inbounds, the bowls have a backcountry feel with no grooming, little signage and short hikes required to entrances.
The Stoke Chair tops out at 7,300 feet in elevation at Revelstoke, offering the greatest lift-served vertical in North America. Photo by Becky Lomax.
First, hike a five-minute traverse to drop into North Bowl via Sweet Spot, a run that sallies through an alpine basin and a canyon. Join up with Downtowner and The Last Spike to return to The Stoke. Take a few laps to check out different chutes entering North Bowl further down the ridge.
When ready for more adventure, hike from the top of The Stoke to Sub Peak. At 300 feet higher in elevation, four major routes plunge through North Bowl with Powder Assault yielding the longest non-gladed line. The routes converge in the forest for a bumpy ride through a narrow, scenic slot canyon bounded by rock walls draped with ice. Drop to The Ripper high-speed quad for a cruiser before catching Downtowner and The Last Spike to The Mackenzie Outpost for a hot drink and sandwich.
Revelstoke’s North Bowl offers a playground of off-piste steeps, cliffs, chutes, canyons and trees. Photo by John Antoniuk. Courtesy of Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
Spend the afternoon skiing North Bowl and cutting at least one run into Greely Bowl. Intersperse bowl runs from The Stoke with playing in the The Ripper’s glades—Powder Monkey and Glades of Glory. Remember to leave enough leg steam for the long descent to the village.
Revelstoke started as a cat operation, so earmark one day for cat skiing. Three huge bowls south of Mount Mackenzie provide the terrain—a mix of alpine and trees. The cat runs only three days per week, allowing time for more snow to amass between trips.
Revelstoke guides load gear to the back of the snowcat to head up for the first run. Photo by Becky Lomax.
The day begins with riding the gondola and The Stoke followed by skiing Jalapeño to exit the boundary and meet up with the cat. After beacon practice, you’ll load the cat for as many runs as possible. Most of the frosty alpine slopes with views of Mount Mackenzie drop 1,800-2,100 vertical feet.
Powder days are frequent at Revelstoke due to its location in the Columbia Mountains. Photo by Doug Marshall. Courtesy of Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
Conditions dictate where the guides will lead you, but most tours hit all three bowls—South, Montana and Kokanee. Broad basins funnel into wide-spaced trees where the powder frequently fluffs knee-deep. Steeper ridge chutes add thrills.
After the final cat run, you’ll be escorted inbounds near the bottom of Jalapeño. But the skiing isn’t over. Nearly 5,000 feet of vertical is left to savor in your last turns. Revel in licking up every inch of the descent as you plan for your next visit to Revy.