Inside Line: Revelstoke, BC

Following Revelstoke’s grand opening last winter, first-time visitors identified a series of problems that the resort’s developers had failed to anticipate when they created a ski destination integrating 500,000 acres of cat- and heli-skiing with North America’s longest lift-served vertical. Among the quibbles: (1) The runs are “too long.” (2) There’s “too much powder.” (3) The absence of lift lines “prevents skiers from resting between runs.” This may sound like a joke, but these are actual complaints logged by management—and they underscore the stunning enormity of Revelstoke’s terrain. Our advice: If you aren’t prepared to go huge, don’t go at all.
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Hit hard with a strong Pacific front, Revelstoke Mountain Resort has been hammered with nearly 15 inches of snow in the past 48 hours. Recent southerly winds have left North Bowl and Greely Bowl feeling like they have even more fresh powder than that.

Hit hard with a strong Pacific front, Revelstoke Mountain Resort has been hammered with nearly 15 inches of snow in the past 48 hours. Recent southerly winds have left North Bowl and Greely Bowl feeling like they have even more fresh powder than that.

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Powder Day: Head left at the top of The Stoke quad and follow the traverse to Vertigo, a wide ridge that rolls through well-spaced trees before threading onto an open, 40-degree bowl at the bottom.

Three Days Later: As the front side of the mountain gets tracked out, find fresh lines in North Bowl, where you can pick off stashes among the well-spaced glades and scary-steep chutes.

Park and Pipe: They don’t exist. Yet. The resort is so new, it’s still putting up lifts, mapping out new runs, and building the main lodge. But when the park finally arrives in the 2009–2010 season, we expect it’ll be massive. There are no plans to build a pipe.

Backcountry access: Endless backcountry bowls lie outside the ski-area boundary, offering steep, untracked, 1,000-plus-foot lines. Access this enormous terrain on your own (if you have the requisite skills and gear), through Revelstoke’s cat- or heli-skiing operations, or with the resort’s backcountry guide service, which starts up this winter. Check conditions at

Weather: The Selkirks receive as much as 60 feet of snow each winter, most of it arriving in back-to-back storms in December and January. In February and March, temps hover around 25 degrees and the snowpack fills in the trees and the steepest couloirs.

Après: Grab a pint of Attila the Honey Pale Ale at the day lodge at the base of the gondola. Then sit on the deck with views of the Columbia River and the Selkirk and Monashee ranges.

Fuel: The Modern Bakery has the best coffee in town and a tasty breakfast bagel. For lunch, try a bison burger and sweet-potato fries with chipotle aioli in the day lodge. Your best options for in-town dining are Kawakubo’s, which bills itself as the local sushi-sake-steak joint, and the Woolsey Creek Restaurant.

Up All Night: Revelstoke is still working on its nightlife. Nelsen Lodge’s 150-seat restaurant and bar opened in November. Or have a drink at the River City Pub at the Regent Inn, then head down the street for late-night bowling at Alpine Lanes on First Street.

Digs: Rob Alford’s Mt. Mackenzie Log Chalet offers some of the closest rooms to the resort, plus snowmobile rentals and an eight-person hot tub ($125; For something more posh, reserve a condo or the four-bedroom penthouse at the brand-new Nelsen Lodge at the base of the resort.

Elevation: 7,300 feet

Vertical Drop: 5,620 feet

Snowfall: 600 inches

Acres: 3,031 this year, with 7,000 more on the way.



Whistler/Blackcomb, B.C.

Inside Line: Blackcomb, BC

With the 2010 Winter Olympics around the corner, all eyes are on Whistler Blackcomb. The masses will descend on Whistler Mountain, where the official events will take place. Which means Blackcomb will be the place to ski. Locals know that Blackcomb outperforms its better-known neighbor when it comes to off-piste terrain and jibbing. Plus, Blackcomb’s lift lines are shorter, its park and pipe bigger, and its backcountry steeper. And with the new Peak-to-Peak gondola—a record-setting 2.73-mile-long feat of engineering—now connecting the two mountains, you can easily zip over to the big W. But with Blackcomb’s terrain, why bother?

Revelstoke Comp Venue

Behind the Scenes in Revelstoke

A helicopter dropped 27 U.S Freeskiing competitors on top of Mt. Mackenzie for the final day of the Canadian Freeskiing Championships at Revelstoke Mountain Resort on January 10, 2010. Using helmet cameras, Zack Giffin captures the crowd’s enthusiasm along with some powder skiing.

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Inside Line: Red Mountain, BC

In 1897, a Norwegian miner named Olaus Jeldness invited his friends to the top of British Columbia’s Red Mountain for a “tea party.” He got everybody plowed, slapped planks to their feet, and started ski culture in Canada. Since then Red hasn’t changed much except that condos are popping up and locals are beginning to grumble. But the terrain is the same as it’s always been: steep, consistent subalpine trees and cliff bands that radiate off two peaks covered with 300 inches of crowd-free blower. Just as Jeldness would want it.

The Subaru North American Freeskiing Championships were held at Kirkwood, California on Sunday, Feb 27th and Monday, Feb 28th—two beautiful bluebird days after a storm

Inside Line: Kirkwood, CA

Kirkwood is off the grid in more ways than one. The whole place runs on generators. Lift lines are six people deep on a powder day. Sierra storms fill the ski-porn-worthy terrain, closing roads and shutting down lifts for days. But with inbounds runs slanted up to 42 degrees, the most reliable snow in the area, and chutes that make big-mountain skiers queasy, it’s hard to believe the resort stays so low-key. Thank the hourlong drive from South Lake Tahoe’s packed casinos and resorts, which ensures Kirkwood remains unsullied by the masses. Just the way skiers there like it.