I made it to Revelstoke!
Andreas and I drove from Portland to Revelstoke, BC over the Presidents’ Day weekend. Just as conditions started to recover in the Northwest from the April-bruary thaw, we were leaving to drive 600 miles Northeast. The drive was a little misleading with lots of mountains but low elevation, which leads you to think you may never hit deep enough snow to unload sleds.
We did found that snow on this trip. It hadn’t snowed in days when we arrived and this ended up working in our favor. Our first day out we got a clear window in which to marvel at the British Columbia terrain from a top Boulder Mountain riding area. It took the full three days of riding to fully understand the potential of the mountains in the Revelstoke valley. Every slope we rode seemed to be steeper and longer than it looked. The Town of Revelstoke is only at 1,500ft leaving a big sled climb out of the valley each day on groomed trails.
It was my first time in British Columbia and I was looking for the pillows off the snowmobile at whatever cost. Simple objectives are clear easy targets but with weather as your biggest factor and snowmobiles steering the direction of the trip, that bull’s-eye soon becomes a dartboard that I just can’t close on. Lucky for us this trip had a happy ending with a lucky bull’s-eye probably brought on by the Tangueray and the cheap motel room.
The clear day the first day really helped. After paying $20 at the trailhead to use the groomed trail, we worked our way 18km up the ridge of the most popular snowmobiling area in Revelstoke, which, may be the most popular snowmobiling spot in North America. The flats on top of the Boulder Mountain ridge were tracked to shit having not had significant snowfalls during that weekend. We stopped up high on a ridge early in the day and got lucky with our find. A north facing wall that was steep, deep and long, with a really nice lap to it. We probably had six runs down this face before we followed the sun to a lower line. That morning we watched some turbo sledders dig a pit for us as they climbed up and chute next to what we wanted to ride. Things seemed pretty safe after watching that and it proved true for the rest of the terrain we rode.
A snowstorm moved in on us during day two when we rode the rolling hilled face in the background of the picture below. Really thick, light snow was so fun to ride. It’s refreshing to be able to open up on a steep hill and straight line something. I guess that’s what you get when you leave the rat race of the resort. We got whiteout early on day two forcing us to find tree runs down low. The snow was never disappoint at any elevation though.
For day Three that snow that pushed us out the day before was really nice to ride in. At the top of the ridge, 7,500ft, there had been twelve inches that deposited with the wind. The night before while at a ski bar we frequented, we meet a super nice guy by chance. It was a good example of the “put yourself out there and good things will happen” theory. I was asking the guy for safety advice and he went further by inviting us to go out with him the next day to the same area we’d been at the prior two. There turned out to be a crew of riders who paid close attention to the land and had themselves a run picked out that’s some 3,500 plus vertical feet with a twenty five minute sled lap on groomed trails. Dre and I each made three runs between leaving the trailhead at 8:30am and returning at 5:30pm having lapped the one zone all day. We were told by what turned out to be some good riders, ski patrollers, and cat guides, that this terrain was steeper and more tech then what we would be lead to by area heli or cat services.
Checkout the really long edit for the action, sorry I got carried away. I’m not kidding anyone when I say the video is for me anyways, so I might as well remember the whole tip with a long edit. Way good to have seen the really neat ski town of Revelstoke as well as before it completely blows up. Revelstoke is pre-Bozeman when I first moved there in ’03. Having ridden the terrain, drank the beers and felt the snow, I fear it will suffer the same fate as Bozeman soon enough.