Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Finding the Goods in Revelstoke, BC.

Revelstoke Mountain Resort. The goods.

I just got back from the amazing and beautiful tiny mountain town of Revelstoke B.C. where I pretty much got to live the dream. I've been traveling more and more with private ski clients, and I love it. 
My client ripping up the beautiful chalk on Critical Path.

I'm based out of Aspen Mountain, and my incredible boss, Andy Docken works hard to build bridges industry wide. He reaches out on behalf of my client to the ski school that we'd like to visit, and so far, it has been an amazing and succesfull experience. 

The thing that's wonderful about it is that everyone wins! My clients still ski Aspen, in fact, they pride themselves as being "Aspen Skiers" but they also get to experience what it's like to ski all over the world. The resorts we visit are stoked to have us experience their hotels and restaraunts, my clients are stoked to get to keep the same instructor and continue uninterrupted on their path to skiing glory. 

So far, everywhere we've gone, the host mountain has been incredibly welcoming and helpful, and Revelstoke was perhaps on the top of that list. 

Rare to see the base from the top because its most often just PUKING snow.  
Established in 2007, its the only ski area in North America with Heli, Cat and Lift right out of the base operations. With almost 6000 vertical top to bottom and legendary BC light and fluffy champagne powder, we were in heaven. Revelstoke gets 40-60 feet of annual snowfall, the height of a 4 story building, and has access to incredible back country terrain.

In bounds, the North Bowl offers some SPECTACULAR steeps and adventure skiing, but the best part was all the glades! I've never been ANYWHERE with so much beautifully gladed tree skiing. A huge amount of it  is intermediate level tree skiing, which is wonderful to practice in before you go out and get after it on the cat or in the heli. Its all over the mountain, so you can ski trees off of any chair. 

The north bowl, the "easy" way down. Wide open and beautiful. Unfortunately, as you can see, its really crowded there...
Another amazing feature of all the glades is that while individual runs aren't labeled in them, they are well defined, so you know you aren't going to suddenly go off of a cliff while you are playing in the trees. As a guide on a new mountain, with my job to keep my client safe while he's learning and having fun, this place was perfect for that experience. 

All I could think while I was there was, oh my goodness, I'm in Ethan and Bodhi heaven, its just one giant tree trail of doom. 

The mountain is SO LONG that it's exhausting to ski. And so we skied ourselves into the ground accidentally almost every day, getting our legs ready for the heli. We practiced all the tactics we'd need for powder without actually skiing powder, we practiced in the bumps and negotiating trees. 

In the Revelstoke instructor coat, at the top of the aptly named Stoke Chair.
My client got his new Folsom Custom skis mounted up by Rowland, the manager at the on mountain Revy Repair shop, and he did a brilliant job. After seeing that, I handed over my brand spankin' new Blizzard Bodacious skis to him. He slapped down a pair of Marker Jester Pros on those bad boys, and we headed in to town for sushi. We were going heli skiing the next day, and I couldn't wait.
Named after the toughest Bull in Rodeo, retired by the PCA because it was too dangerous to ride, these skis are UNREAL. I've liked skis before. I'm in love with these. Head over heels. Whose gonna ride Bodacious? (I AM!)

The food in Revelstoke is great and getting better. There's a steakhouse, a great sushi place (but ask for them to go easy on the mayo), a couple of wonderful coffee shops, and some affordable bed and breakfasts that are just minutes from the main hill.

On mountain, there's the Rockford Wok and Grill, which is where we ate most nights, which was surprisingly good, and LaBaguette, one of the favorite breakfast and coffee places we've found anywhere. (They also cater the heli and cat lunches). 

Above the clouds on Stoke.
We stayed on mountain at the Sutton Place hotel, which is new and has some GREAT ski and stay packages. The service was phenomenal, its well staffed and they handled a crazy Christmas rush with ease. I was impressed. I've definitely been to places where, when every single room is full, the place goes into chaos. With the Swatch Freeride Tour heading into town, based out of the Sutton, I was amazed at how we still felt like their most important guest, and from what I heard in the hot tub, so did every other guest who stayed there. Oh yeah, and they have free yoga for skiers every day at the hotel, about a 1 minute walk from the gondi. 

While its definitely a Skier's Mountain, the service is what you'd expect from a resort like Deer Valley, famous for their ability to cater to the guest. At Revelstoke, they have a ski valet standing there as you get off the gondola to take your skis to your ski locker for you. And then they hand you coffee or hot chocolate. Really. This place rules. 

I'm not kidding. Its called Kill the Banker.
Plus, they have a run under the gondi called Kill the Banker. (Right? It just keeps getting better...) That's because when the investors were coming, they thought it would be a great place to take them down and the poor guy apparently thought he was going to die, and promptly invested. Its gnarly. 
A little adventure skiing on your way out of the North Bowl.
The best part was our interaction with the ROC, the Revelstoke Outdoor Center. The ski school director, Dan and his assistant director, Ian, were amazing, they helped get us all set up so I could teach on their mountain, and Amy and James in the front office were wrangling everything from lessons to heli trips. They were so welcoming, we felt like part of the family right off the bat. We got outfitted and oriented right away, got on the waiting list for the cat and booked our Heli day. (Which I'll tell you more about in the next post...)

The town, the vistas, are just spectacular.
Overall, I can't say enough about the town of Revelstoke, the mountain itself, the operations, the food, the staff... If you are craving some amazing BC powder in a fantastic resort, look no further. Revelstoke is the place to go.