Revelstoke After Xmas
December 30, 2011
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It looks like a week of listening to Kate Bush’s siren call for La Nina to return to the Pacific Northwest is starting to pay off. Without new snow, we’d have been able to add several new descriptions of snow to Kate’s 50. Fortunately, we held off booking anywhere until the models pointed us in a particular direction. And that was north, to interior British Columbia and the wonders of Revelstoke Mountain Resort. Where the snow is a sensual world of powder and smoke and dust. Sometimes anyway.
I’ve had a fractious relationship with Revie (as the locals call it) until now. 3 visits and only 3 days skiing. Weird illnesses and a crippled back have contributed to this sparse record. But this trip more or less fixed that. 3 powder days from 3, nothing huge, but each day untracked boot deep fluff in trees was an easy find all day. And there’s too many 3’s in this paragraph …
Although the cover wasn’t great all the way down to the lodge, the long mid-mountain blacks skied beautifully on the last two days as the 15-20cm of new snow built up each day. While the hucksters waited for the hike-to bowls to open each morning, we lapped a deserted Devil’s Cut, carving through the pow-on-bumps for a crazy 1500-ish meters vertical each run. Knee-deep cotton wool was as easily found as beer at an Australian barbie. And given the nationality of most of the workers on the mountain, beer at local BBQs would be a common commodity.
I’m not convinced the tree skiing at Revelstoke is as good as Red Mountain, or the bowl and chute skiing as good as Kicking Horse. But it has both, and the former especially in incredible abundance. It’s a compelling mix, and I’d head back at a pinch mid-winter if the snow is falling regularly. The consistently steep fall-line skiing makes for a Jackson Hole-like experience, which is hard to beat.
Still, my Revie curse could not be suppressed. At least this time I ended up with an injury worthy of Revelstoke‘s extreme skiing reputation. A massively swollen right knee from a hard hit against my bindings as I hit the deck. Talking on my radio. Stood on the magic carpet from the lodge to the gondola as it came to an abrupt halt. OK. I need to remain vigilant on my next visit.
3 days: 9900m, 9500m, 7800m
Season Totals: 16 days, 121,400m vert, 6 powder days