A bit slow getting this report up but oh well. I always like reading the trip reports on here so I figured I'd add one as well. I have a friend out in Seattle and we've done Whistler a bunch of times and always love it, but we've always talked about doing the longer drive into the BC interior, and we finally made it happen. It definitely exceeded our high expectations.
We started with 2 days at Revelstoke on 2/17-2/18. The first day there was 2-3 inches and the 2nd day there was maybe 4-5 inches or new snow. Generally we really liked Revy. The tree skiing is great, the runs are long and the north bowl has lots of drop ins and fun chutes. Also, you can hike up and get lots of fresh turns. The 15-20 min steep hike to the top of the sub peak is worth the effort, in terms of turns and views. Also, the views generally are amazing, especially on the south facing runs, with views down to the Columbia river. Also, even though the lower half of the mountain had heavier snow, the cruisers down there were really fun - the last run down at the end of the day is more real vertical than the lower half of Whister/Blackcomb, so it's a legit 5,500+ vertical run down.
But we felt that the mountain still needs to work out some issues. The hut up the mountain is a bit basic, and a few more lifts would be good too. Also, our favorite terrain was the trees in the north/greely bowl areas, but you end up in a long bumped gully which was a bit of a buzz kill for us. Also, the cat track from the Ripper to Stoke chairs requires some poling, and the traverse from the south bowl back to the Stoke chair was tough on the knees.
That being said, on a deeper powder day, Revy would be amazing. We had some pow, and were getting fresh tracks until last run, and that was with big Saturday line ups on the Stoke chair. Also, there's lots of steep trees with tons of fun features to jump off of, so in deeper powder it would be amazing. One word of caution though - it is really an easy mountain to get cliffed out on in the trees so something to keep in mind when exploring the trees.
We took a day off and did the 4 hour drive down to Nelson. Definitely recommend doing this drive during daylight, as the scenery is great (and also a lot of the drive is remote and very few cars along the road). Most of the drive is along a few different lakes, and the ferry is cool too. We stopped at Halycon hot springs which was a perfect pitstop.
We then had 2 days at Whitewater sandwiched around a day of cat skiing with Wildhorse cats. Whitewater is awesome. Of course it didn't hurt that we had about 10 inches of fresh, but the place is great. It reminded us a lot of Alta, with the sort of end of the road type feel to it and old school atmosphere. But I would say that it's more like Alta must've been like 20 years ago. It feels more like a community ski hill than a destination mountain - everyone knows eachother and the powder doesn't get tracked out very fast. The place has 2 old doubles and the the old chair 5 from Vail, so there can be lines on big powder days, but we didn't experience anything bad. The treeskiing is awesome -lot's of steep trees with stuff to jump off of. They opened Catch Basin in the afternoon and there was tons of powder in there. It's a tiring traverse, but the trees down the skiers right side were worth it. If you like lot's of cruisers and fast lifts, Whitewater won't entertain you for more than a day. But if you like treeskiing, the place is tough to beat, and that's not taking into account the sidecountry. Food in the lodge was great too.
We had 1 day at Wildhorse cat skiing and it was a lot of fun. First time cat skiing so nothing to really compare it too. We met up in Ymir, drove 10 min up the mountain, and then they put us in snowmobile pulled sleds for 25 min to get to the cat. We took a bunch of runs and had lot's of deep powder, but we felt like we didn't get as much vertical as we were hoping for. I think we ended up with about 10-12k of vert but it was mainly dictated by the conditions. Lot's of new snow and bad vis meant that we had to stay in the trees, which probably meant shorter runs. And when you're in tighter trees there's a lot of stopping and starting to make sure you're not straying from where you should be etc, so it took a while to get a rhythm going. That said, the last few runs were longer and steeper and were awesome. We loved cat skiing, but in a way, it just made us want to do heli even more. You lose time waiting for the cat, but obviously that's not a problem with heli. But if going cat skiing again, would have no complaints going with Wildhorse again. The guides were good and safe and everything was run well. Check out the bar in Ymir after for a beer - definitely has character...
Our last 2 days were at Red Mountain. We were hungover the 1st day and our legs were shot at this point, so we probably didn't make the most of Red, but it's a great mountain. Again, the treeskiing is amazing. Endless, endless tree lines everywhere and lot's of steep technical tree lines as well if you want them. We found the snow on the north facing aspects to be lighter, so spent a lot of time in the Grey Basin area, which felt really remote and untouched. We also liked some of the terrain of the Red chair as well. If you like getting into the side country there's even more options. One thing we liked a lot about Red was how empty it was. Our 2nd day it was dumping and no one was skiing it. At one point we were on the Red chair and not one other person was in sight, with untouched powder everywhere. Our last run we skied boot deep powder right down the final slope in front of the base lodge! We were talking to some locals at the bar later and they said it was a busier than average day! Also, the Rafters bar in the lodge might just be the best base bar anywhere. That place is awesome.
Generally, interior BC was awesome. We've skied a lot of places and would say that Revy, WH2O and Red had better tree skiing than anywhere else we've been. The other feature of the skiing was the amount of fun stuff to jump off of. More natural features than anywhere else I've been, which was a blast in the powder. All the mountains have good steeps and Revy has some good above treeline terrain, but probably the only thing we missed from Whistler was the sheer amount of high alpine steeps/chutes that they have there. That being said, I think we'll be back to the interior before we return to Whistler, or anywhere else for that matter, one main reason being the lack of competition for powder. Another thing we noticed was that the locals were maybe the nicest we've come across anywhere in ski country. Here's a bunch of pics....
Revelstoke - dropping into north/greely bowl after the climb up to the subpeak
upper part of north/greely bowl
view back to north bowl - the subpeak is the peak in the center, so that's what you gain by hiking 20 min straight up from the Stoke chair. The lower traverse hike from the top of the Stoke chair puts you into the bowl along the ridge to the right
Typical Revy glade
Amazing views from south facing runs - Hot Sauce/Jalapeno area
More great views down to the Columbia River from above Stoke Chair
Lower mountain views to the river
Slocan Lake along the drive from Revy to Nelson
Summit chair Whitewater
Some typical Whitewater glades and fun ski pics...
Typical glade terrain at Wildhorse Cat Skiing and nice pow
Red Mountain - one of the Coolers chutes. Maybe the 2nd one?
Some typical terrain in the Grey Basin area
And the obligatory poutine shot