Revelstoke Mountain Resort, British Columbia, Canada – By Louise Hudson

Until 2007 Revelstoke’s incredible snowfall was just for those who could afford hedonistic heli-ski holidays or cruisy cat rides up Mackenzie Mountain. All that changed when the 69-run ski resort was built there with a two-stage gondola, two chairlifts and two tow-lifts. Although the infrastructure has opened 3,121-acres to everyone, it all remains pristine. The 30-45 ft (9-14m) of sublime seasonal snow and the vertiginous vertical is just like the former heli and cat kingdom but with lift access. And there are still hikes for the hardy backcountry brigade as well as designated heli and cat zones. Revy’s differential: you can resort ski, heli ski and cat ski all from the same base area right from your hotel. It also has North America’s longest vertical at 5620 ft (1713m) and longest run at 9.5miles. And secluded in southeastern British Columbia, nearly five hours’ drive from Calgary and ten from Vancouver, it has been a savvy skiers’ secret. That is until this season when it was voted Canada’s Best Ski Resort at the World Ski Awards in Austria!

http://www.revelstokemountainresort.com/

By Louise Hudson (http://onetwoski.blogspot.com/)

1. Revelstoke Resort

With Kelowna International Airport just two hours shuttle away, Revelstoke is gradually attracting more attention from international visitors. But the village is still in its early stages so don’t expect the carousing crowds of Whistler! However, the Master Plan has prioritized all the basic needs: La Baguette, a designer coffee and pastry café complete with gluten-free and vegan options; Rockford Wok Bar Grill for all day decadent dining and drinking; Mackenzie Common Tavern for micro-brew bar flies; retail store, rental shop, ski and snowboard school, childcare and guest services. The beauty of it all: everything is central and skirting the ski slopes. I guess the planners realized that everyone would be too tired after an epic ski day to walk very far!

2. Radical Revy

It’s all about alpine adventure in Revy’s North and Greely Bowls. Bordered by well-marked cliffs, these rugged areas resemble backcountry or heli terrain and are only for the hardy hard-core skiers and snowboarders. First timers should ‘Go with a Pro’ (http://www.revelstokemountainresort.com/lessons-activities/ride-with-a-pro) to make the most out of these areas. With 35 percent black runs and 13 percent double blacks, it is a challenging resort. Most of the terrain is below treeline, yielding gargantuan glade skiing and arboreal markers to aid visibility during whiteouts. Having the right gear is also a necessity and one new ski manufacturer is designing skis specifically for this type of terrain. This season 93 North Skis, based near Banff, is bringing its first range of powder prototypes to Revy for demo days. Their custom-designed and made fat skis will be available for rent from a tent at the top of the Revelation Gondola on Jan 21 and Mar 4 (http://www.93northskis.com/).

3. Revy Respite

At the top of the Revelation Gondola lies the quaint cabin, Mackenzie Outpost, a high-altitude warming hut with outside benches overlooking the Columbia River – on clear days! As well as coffee and sandwiches, it serves on-the-go homemade treats from Revy’s breakfast bar, La Baguette, to those needing a rest between runs on the upper chairlifts. A short ski down to the mid-gondola station is Revelation Lodge, an impressive post-and-beam building with a cafeteria-style restaurant, an espresso bar and an upscale cocktail lounge. The dramatic deck overlooking the valley also serves barbeque food on warmer days. From breakfast to après ski, the Lodge is particularly appealing to beginner skiers and snowboarders who learn their first moves just outside alongside the Little Bit Magic Carpet.

4. Revy Rewards

With seven percent green and 45 percent blue runs, Revy has plentiful pistes for more recreational, intermediate skiers who want the cruisy benefits of skiing on groomed Selkirk snowfall. Snow School can bring intermediates up a notch by giving them the technical tactics to tackle next stage runs (http://www.revelstokemountainresort.com/snow-school). And daily Mountain Hosts are on hand each afternoon to guide ability-graded groups of newbies around the less demanding domains. Take advantage of this free service! They will show you wide-open areas like the top of Snow Rodeo, Feller Buncher and Wooley Bully, warning you in advance about the rollers. Note that Revelstoke is only in the early stages of a long-term Master Plan, which aims to encompass around 10,000 acres of skiable terrain served by 25 lifts across the southern bowls as well as the currently-accessed western face.

5. Revy Recreation

With its recent focus on developing its family facilities, Revelstoke is a fun place for kids to learn both skiing and snowboarding. Right in front of Sutton Place Hotel is the Turtle Creek Beginner Area with 175m magic carpet, learner’s slope and tubing. This is also adjacent to the Snow School and childcare centre, which, as well as daycare, offers kids’ après activities including crafts, climbing wall and games (http://www.revelstokemountainresort.com/lessons-activities/kids-centre). As beginners progress, lower mountain runs such as Tickle Trunk and the Last Spike give them a much longer ride on gentle gradients. Tip: Because Revy still has a reputation for hard-core skiing, family facilities here can be less frantic than at other resorts. For Revy rail riders, there’s a 14-acre terrain park under the Stoke Chair with around 20 custom-built progressive features (http://www.revelstokemountainresort.com/lessons-activities/terrain-park).

6. Ritzy Residential Revy

With 205 lovely luxurious condos for rent or privately owned, Sutton Place Hotel provides an enviable modern mountain lifestyle right on the slopes (http://www.revelstokemountainresort.com/accommodation/the-sutton-place-hotel). And, if you become a regular, you never know who you are going to bump into there. Every evening a complimentary cocktail party with drinks and hors d’oeuvres encourages residents and visitors from the three buildings to mix and mingle, swapping ski stories by the lobby fireside – a great way to scope out the best runs, snow conditions and other locals’ tips. The hot tub – indoors but with huge windows bringing the outside in – is another hotspot for socializing and tip-sharing. There are also two further Jacuzzis and a year-round heated outdoor pool, which is particularly alluring after a sunny spring ski day. Spend a vacation at Sutton Place, with its spa and three on-site dining options, and you’ll be fantasizing about a lifestyle move. And with Canadian currency at a long-time low currently, this could be a good time to invest in your dream ski home especially with future expansion on the horizon.

7. Revy Retail

The Revelstoke Mountain Resort Retail Store, R Gear has everything required to keep warm, dry – and up-to-date – on the slopes (http://www.revelstokemountainresort.com/resort/retail-store). As well as designing customized insoles, the bootfitting workshop can punch, grind and shape boot shells to create the perfect synergy between foot and ski, something very necessary on Revy’s rigorous terrain. And if the 9.5 mile run has massacred your muscles, there is also the Feather & Stone Day Spa in the village to get you back on track for the next day (http://www.revelstokemountainresort.com/resort/feather-stone-day-spa). For other needs, a free shuttle bus service runs into town from the Sutton Place Hotel.

8. Revy Revels

Rockford Wok Bar Grill is the go-to place for big breakfast buffets, leisurely lunches, drinks, après ski and contemporary food with lots of ethnic choices to satisfy carnivores as well as vegetarians and vegans (http://www.revelstokemountainresort.com/resort/restaurants). When temps allow, there is a posh panoramic patio with trendy fireplaces and comfy seating arrangements with views over the Kootenay Rockies. By night, the upscale modern décor, well-trained solicitous servers, intimate lighting, and decent wine list gives it a slightly more city vibe than conventional ski hill eateries – but everyone is still wearing ski-chic clothing. The choice of private booths, bar stools, or interactive communal tables enable date-nights, socializing or group gatherings. Just opposite is The Mackenzie Common Tavern, a busy sports bar with pub snacks, micro brews on tap and live music at weekends.

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