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Revelstoke?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

My ski buddies and I are planning our western ski trip. We are all reasonably fit guys in their 50's. We usually either go to Alta/Snowbird or Jackson Hole. We ski most of the terrain at those resorts, though most of us avoid Corbet's and the Alta Chutes at JH and very top of Silver Fox at the Bird. Apres ski for us is a comfortable couch, good local craft beer, TV and pretzels, LOL.

 

We want to break out of the same old, even though it is excellent, same old… 

 

Anyone been to Revelstoke? What's the terrain like? Where did you stay? Did you make a day trip over to Kicking Horse? All that and anything else that might help us decide if we want to make the trip there.

 

Thanks in Advance!

post #2 of 19

How your getting there makes the biggest difference. Revelstoke is not adjacent to a major airport so you need to either drive or take a shuttle to get there. Fairly close in drive time  from Vancouver, or Calgary (a bit longer from Spokane or Seattle) The closer airports Kamloops Kelowna Bellingham likely won't save you as much time as the extra connections will take.

Having your own transportation opens up a lot of options.

 

Revelstoke

The upper hill is very reliable, always lots of fresh snow, good terrain, great glade skiing. Like all interior hills in B.C. minimal crowds mid week  Lower hill can disappoint if it's warm as the base is quite low. There are condos on hill but we usually stay in town. It's close, cheaper and more choices after skiing.

 

Kicking Horse

higher base, drier snow (less fresh) steep chutes. About 2 hours away. A pretty drive after skiing, (weather permitting) as the road is also subject to closures for avy control. A bit more condo development on hill but not a lot else . Again we stay in town for the same reasons.

 

Unless its a holiday weekend I never book in advance

post #3 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by noncrazycanuck View Post
 

Fairly close in drive time  from Vancouver, or Calgary (a bit longer from Spokane or Seattle) The closer airports Kamloops Kelowna Bellingham likely won't save you as much time as the extra connections will take.

According to Google Maps Revelstoke is about 5 hours from Calgary, and 6:15 from Vancouver.  Bellingham is shown as being 9 minutes closer than Vancouver.  Spokane is even farther and Seattle is WAY out there.  Not my idea of "fairly close" but YMMV.

 

Kamloops or Kelowna are lots closer than that, but still close to 3 hours away.

post #4 of 19

Revy is amazing, the upper half of the mountain is usually very reliable for conditions, the lower half is quite variable.  If it hasn't snowed in awhile I wouldn't recommend going... fortunately it snows there A LOT on average.  The terrain is great, a lot of advanced and challenging piste and off piste; good trees, bowls and steeps; lots of terrain is accessible only by traversing.  The only downfall of the terrain is the small number of lifts which funnels everyone into specific areas to get back.  The mountain can be very busy on a powder weekends and people will start lining up early, and some areas get tracked out quickly! If conditions are good all over the mountain it really disperses the crowd, even on busy days and you can find fresh lines all day.  Mid-week powder days are unreal!  Visibility and wind can be an issue sometimes as with any high mountain but days like that aren't overly frequent. 

post #5 of 19

It's a good idea to try someplace new and ski the Canadian Rockies.  I fly to Calgary and drove to Golden, nice drive, and then skied Kicking Horse the next day.  The next day I woke up and drove to Revelstoke.  The good news there is you gain  an hour driving west into the Pacific time zone, so it's not hard to be there for 9am.  It's a 2hr drive.  Apparently the road can be dicey with a high, snowy, avalanche prone pass, but it was clear when I did it.  After driving back to my hotel that night, the next morning I took an easy drive back towards the airport and skied Lake Louise, then after skiing there I drove to a Calgary airport hotel.  Other options are to stay in Golden an extra night and ski KH twice or skiing both LL and Sunshine Village(stay in Banff), both on the way back to the hotel.    Revelstoke is worth the visit, but to me most of it was cut runs and tight tree skiing (unlimited) as opposed to nice, steep bowls and drops off of ridges.  Not the kind of place I would want to stay multiple days at.

 

The scenery made the driving easy and very enjoyable through the mountains. You hit that about an hour out of Calgary.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/119242/from-golden-bc-kicking-horse-revelstoke-lake-louse-march-9-11#post_1562372

post #6 of 19

sound like i have some "splaining to do".

 

Bellingham is closer than Seattle.

Calgary is closer than Vancouver - but often can be faster to drive Vancouver to Revelstoke than Revelstoke to Calgary (no Rodger's Pass )

 

No idea of flight connections from USA but would not be surprised to find you have to transfer at either Vancouver or Calgary.

 

I doubt you'd get a connection to Kelowna or Kamloops from Vancouver much faster than we drive there (3.5 hours) but without any extra airport wait time it is less than an hour flight. 

 

Take a car anyway - lots of other good hills to stop at which ever way you go. The roads are usually fine in winter, just be prepared for when they aren't.   

post #7 of 19
Revy's remote and best skied as part of multi area tour.
Flying Southwest into Spokane gives you a lot of flexibility.
The Bestwestern was a lot nicer than the Sandman and included breakfast.
post #8 of 19

I agree with SnowbirdDevotee and Shredhead. These places are best visited as a multi-area tour.  None of them compare to Snowbird or Jackson as one place to spend a whole week.  Fernie/Castle would be the closest contenders IMHO, and they are 1.5 hours apart.

post #9 of 19

Flying to Spokane is likely a lot cheaper than flying into Canada.

 

From Spokane, Red Mountain, Rossland B.C. is about  2.5 hours away and then Whitewater near Nelson, B.C. is about 1.25 hours away. Both have great tree skiing and should not be missed. From there it is about 4 hours to Revelstoke, including a free 1/2 hour ferry ride across Upper Arrow Lake.

 

In Revelstoke hotel/motel rooms can fill up fast on weekends, not so much from skiers as from sledders and sled skiers.

 

Keep in mind that Google Maps or other driving time estimates are NOT talking about winter driving on snowy roads in the dark in winter. The estimate from Vancouver to Kamloops from the airport is more like 4.5 hours, not the 3.5 as suggested. I have gone from downtown Kamloops to downtown Revelstoke in 2 hours with my truck driver friend, who knows the road, doing the driving. Most people will take 2.5 hours.

 

A friend who used to drive shuttle bus for Selkirk-Tangiers Heli Skiing says it takes 6 hours from the Calgary airport to Revelstoke. This was before the road upgrades near Kicking Horse pass east of Golden were completed. The highway improvement will mean a slight reduction in travel times.

 

Keep in mind that Rogers Pass on the Trans-Canada Highway between Revelstoke and Golden (Kicking Horse Mtn Resort) averages 60 road closure days/year. So keep this in mind and watch the weather and road reports.

post #10 of 19

That is another thing to consider is highway closures.  The highway gets shut down frequently on both sides of Revelstoke on the big snow days,when if it's milder you get wet, heavy snow falling. The best way to time it is to get there a day or half a day prior to any heavy snowfall forecasts.  I'm usually in Kelowna during the winter and had a few occasions where I wanted to get to Revy but couldn't due to 12 hour road closures.

post #11 of 19

better to hit a closure at 3 Valley Gap than get knocked into the lake. I don't look up, go as fast as possible and hold my breath while under that slope. 

post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by noncrazycanuck View Post
 

better to hit a closure at 3 Valley Gap than get knocked into the lake. I don't look up, go as fast as possible and hold my breath while under that slope. 

 

Well, If the OP takes my advice and flies to Spokane, skis Red, Whitewater and then heads to Revelstoke via hwy 6 and 23, then the OP will not have to deal with 3 Valley Gap, west of Revy or Rogers Pass, east of Revy as Hwy 23 meets the Trans Canada Hwy less than a mile from downtown Revy.

post #13 of 19

That's very true but then if he goes that way it's a longer drive and he won't pass Norquay,Sunshine,Lake Louise Panorama and Kicking Horse from Calgary 

or have extra choices of Whistler/Sun Peaks or Baker- Apex /Big White/Silver Star if coming from Vancouver.

 

How you get to Revelstoke can be as much fun as being there. All options are good, tough choice.

 

Don't over worry about highway closures, its rare we get stuck for very long. The times it has happened there is a lot of fresh snow so you ski the powder where you already are.

 

But do the linking drives right after skiing -views are nice and seeing elk in daylight is much better than having them suddenly appear in your headlights.  

post #14 of 19

I agree with noncrazycanuck that Calgary is the logical gateway if you have never been to the region and want to check out a lot of interesting areas.  The best argument for Spokane is the cheap airfare.    The drive to Revelstoke from Spokane is at least as tough as from Calgary IMHO. 

Quote:
Don't over worry about highway closures, its rare we get stuck for very long. The times it has happened there is a lot of fresh snow so you ski the powder where you already are.

+1 I've been doing these trips since 1997 and had just two road delays/detours during that time.  One was a couple hours avy control west of Revelstoke.  The other was a truck accident west of Lake Louise, so we had to drive an extra 2 hours to get to Golden via Radium.

post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

I agree with noncrazycanuck that Calgary is the logical gateway if you have never been to the region and want to check out a lot of interesting areas.  The best argument for Spokane is the cheap airfare.    The drive to Revelstoke from Spokane is at least as tough as from Calgary IMHO. 

+1 I've been doing these trips since 1997 and had just two road delays/detours during that time.  One was a couple hours avy control west of Revelstoke.  The other was a truck accident west of Lake Louise, so we had to drive an extra 2 hours to get to Golden via Radium.

 

Tony, either you are lucky or I am unlucky. I have traveled thru Rogers pass 5 times in the last 3 winters and have encountered road closures twice.

 

The first time, a naturally triggered slide came down on a snowshed at midnight, April 9 and some of the snow and debris spilled off the snowshed and onto the highway. There was no skiing at RMR because they had closed April 6 so I sat around all day and they finally got the road open at 2 pm.

 

The 2nd closure for me was last season on the way back from the Utah Gathering (by way of some great pow skiing at Castle). I get in to Golden about 7 pm and instead of pushing through Rogers Pass to Revelstoke, I decide to stop in Golden for the night and get some laundry done. Next morning at 7am the road is closed for avy control work and expected to open at 2 pm. I decide to take a 5+ hour detour through Jasper via the scenic Columbia Icefields Parkway.

 

I could have gone skiing at Kicking Horse instead of the detour but it was Alberta Family Day weekend and I figured it would probably have some pretty long lift lines with the additional skiers who thought that they were going to Revy but ended up at KH due to the road closure. I was also at the end of a month long truck camper road trip and anxious to get home.

 

Rogers Pass averages 60 closure days/year. Even though some of those closures come in the summer due to car accidents, the bulk of the closures come during RMRs 120 day ski season. (It's another reason why RMR is such a shaky operation financially).

 

In general if traveling through Rogers Pass is part of a ski trip, then doing it on the first part of the trip is the best advice. The Trans Canada Highway which Rogers Pass is part of, does get snow removal priority when compared to other highways in the region.

post #16 of 19

danot seems you have bad luck.

We have been doing multiple road trips per season since the early 70's and rarely are effected by stoppages. More often those are on the roads up to the ski areas once off the main highways or in the Coastal Ranges where more snow falls.  Usually the delays are short.

All our highways can get closed after a heavy wet snow snowfall but you know when that's likely to happen and can plan around it. Not so with accidents.

Generally passes are better in the afternoon. Crews need daylight to clear major issues. Right after skiing we always head to the next stop  rather than doing the bigger drive in the morning. If the road does get closed overnight it usually is great on the hill.  Has worked pretty well so far.       

post #17 of 19

The drive up from Spokane is a lot of funky road and a ferry in the winter, although Red Mt. and Whitewater should definitely be on your list for another trip.  After doing it from bother directions I would suggest flying to Calgary.  The Trans-Canadian Hwy is much easier driving, but beware they have cameras that will catch you speeding, leading to the car rental company tagging your credit card for a suprise fine a week after you get home.  Rent a car and stay near the airport, in the morning you can hit Kicking Horse for a half day, or any of the closer ones (Lake Louise, Sunshine, etc.) for a full day.  After skiing KH you can find out if the Pass is open and drive to Revelstoke.  Just plan the trip so you drive back over the Pass a day or two before your flight leaves so you do not get trapped on the west side.  Lots of options for skiing your way back to the airport.  Being "stuck" skiing KH or Reve when the Pass is closed for a day or two should not ruin your vacation.

 

If you ski backcountry Rogers Pass is world class.  As far as I know the hotel on top has been closed, but the avi center at the top of the Pass has amazing information and help in getting out to climb for some turns.  You can skin right from the highway up to fantastic terrain in many places.  A nice break between lift served skiing at KH and Reve.

 

Another tip is that the time change to gain and hour occurs on the top of Rogers Pass and not the BC Provincial boundary east of Golden.  So KH is the same time zone as Calgary, but Reve is an hour earlier, which is good to know if you are shooting for a 1/2 day at KH.

post #18 of 19
I've had mostly bad luck getting out of revelstoke as well....
.... But I only go when the forecast is favourable, so it shouldn't be a surprise.
post #19 of 19

even tho i have family in calgary, i prefer/insist on flying in (from toronto) to kelowna and making the drive just to avoid roger's pass. kelowna to revy is still two and a bit hours, but way better in terms of perilousness :-) the good news is that the drive bc site is awesome, so you know what's happening where, when and for how long

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