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Tips on Revelstoke/Kicking Horse please!

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
We´re two dedicated skiers from Sweden who will be visiting Canada for the first time. We´re looking for lots of powder and challenging terrain and a relaxed skiers atmosphere. If so, do you think that we´re looking at the right places to go: Revelstoke and Kicking Horse? We´re planning to ge late feb/early march - good choice if we´re looking for lots of snow or...? Please share your experinces. 
Edited by theswede - 9/21/09 at 11:22am
post #2 of 16
As someone who has done a few trips to Kicking Horse and Revelstoke I think you are looking at the right places to go.  Both have a more relaxed atmosphere than areas in the US, and some excellent terrain.  If you search on this forum you should find lots of information on both. Besides the on-area skiing there are lots of opportunities for backcountry, heli and cat skiing.  If you are planning on doing backcountry skiing too, check out Rogers Pass between KH and Rev.  That area (B.C.) is known for getting lots of snow, so by Feb/March there should be plenty.

Kicking Horse has a weird lift set up that forces you to ski the entire 4,000+ vertical almost every run, but that is not a problem if you are in good physical condition. They have 70 inbounds chutes, most of which do not even require hiking, so there is lots of good steep skiing.  Revelstoke is huge, tends to get more snow than KH, and has lots of good tree/glade skiing.  Both areas have sidecountry and on area hiking options.  I don't think you will be disappointed with your choice.
post #3 of 16
I am with mudfoot on this, I think you are making a good choice.  This part of interior BC is beautiful.  On my first trip up there in 07' I met & skied with a few Swedes, & they were having a great time.

Here is a link to my trip report from last year:

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/82314/tr-kicking-horse-revelstoke-b-c-2-25-3-7


Have fun, & don't forget to report back,
JF
post #4 of 16
You guys are going to have a hoot.  If you have the time in BC there are a fist full of really good ski areas in Eastern BC.  You have picked the two major gems in the crown but there are more.  Fernie, Whitewater, Castle, Red Mt, just to name a very few.  If you have the time, transportation, and inclination to explore, there is a smorgesboard awaiting you. 

You won't get bored with Revelstoke and Kicking Horse if you stay with just those two, they could fill your plate for a winter.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks a lot for your replies! 
I guess we´ll be "competing" with lots of skiers about the good stuff, are these places just crowded on good days or are there plenty of space for everyone? What do you think about a couple of days of cat-skiing. Any operators in this area that you can recommend, or will lift-served skiing be just fine you think?   
    
post #6 of 16
You'll find the skiing is very un-crowded compared to U.S. and European resorts, due to the fact K.H. and Revelstoke are located a considerable distance from major population centers and don't get the large 'day skier' traffic that resorts like Whistler/Blackcomb or the resorts in the Banff region get due to their proximity to large cities.
post #7 of 16
^What Exracer said.  You'll find more crowds in the lodges & the lifts than on the hill, not that there are long lift lines.  Both these areas have ample terrain to spread people out, as well as some very accessible sidecountry.  I've found that the skiers in BC are a lot more willing to share the goods than skiers in the US.  Think of it as "sharing" as opposed to "competing".  As far as Cat skiing in the area, there are many options, & I think you could probably search for some reports on here.  My experience with Cat skiing is that it is not a good value, unless you need a rest day - YMMV.  Heliskiing on the other hand, (although the cost is usually twice as much) is a better value IMO, Especially if your group is large enough to fill the ship.  I believe there is a school holiday in Alberta toward the end of Feb., but I think you will be missing that.
JF
post #8 of 16
I can't speak for Revelstoke, but the gondola line at Kicking Horse can get pretty long.  The rest of the lifts really don't get much in the way of lines.  To get to the upper reaches of Kicking Horse, a gondola ride is mandatory.  Once you are up though, there are other lifts to ride.
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ster View Post

.  My experience with Cat skiing is that it is not a good value, unless you need a rest day - YMMV.  Heliskiing on the other hand, (although the cost is usually twice as much) is a better value IMO,
 

Totally disagree with that, but to each his own.
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post

Totally disagree with that, but to each his own.
 

Like I said YMMV.  I can only speak from my 2 Cat skiing experiences, one in Utah & the other in Fernie.  The Cats are slow & smelly, the runs were flat & short.  The average days vertical was less than 10000'/3000m.  You can do that in 2 runs at Revelstoke.  I am sure there are other operations that access some great stuff, & from what I gather some of those are in interior BC.

JF
post #11 of 16
Yup, there's no doubt I'd heliski every season if I could afford it. Did it once, but probably won't again. You can match heli vertical by catskiing, though, if you go to the right operation.

I can't speak to whether you can match that vertical at Kicking Horse, for example (where I haven't skied, yet). But if you only have a week, rather than a season, at your disposal, catskiing in Interior BC is a better guarantee of untracked.

It's a good value, in my book, since it includes lodging, food, guiding and, of course, no lift ticket. I've done great resort trips at places like St Anton, Verbier, Jackson Hole and Alta, and have always gotten lucky with powder, but never consistently run after run for the whole trip like you get with a cat (or a heli, of course).

And remember, if you want to ski out of bounds safely at a resort, you've got to pay for guiding, schlep for your turns (which makes for fewer runs) and use lifts (can't remember if we skipped lines with guides at JH, think yes. In Europe you don't). Guiding don't come cheap, either. Nor does resort lodging or food. Catskiing costs more, but not as much as you'd think. And it's somewhere between a half and a third as expensive as heliskiing.

Another quick word about vertical. The week I heliskied in Canada, we ate up our guaranteed vertical by Thursday, which meant another two full days pay-as-you-go. I'd come half way across the world, not like I was gonna sit in the lodge, and the skiing was great. But I ended up spending like another 1500 euros to keep flying. Ouch.
post #12 of 16
Quote:
But if you only have a week, rather than a season, at your disposal, catskiing in Interior BC is a better guarantee of untracked.
 


I can agree with that, especially if you are combining cat/heliskiing with resort skiing, something that can be easily done at Revelstoke.  Stick with the resorts as long as you're getting untracked & save the Cat/heli/backcountry for when the resort gets skied out. 
Where did you Catski in BC, perhaps the OP would be interested?
JF
post #13 of 16
If you get to Revelstoke right after a storm and there is no snow in the forecast the trees and a little hiking will provide good snow and some untracked for a couple of days, but if you w ant nothing but untracked try the cat skiing operating on the edge of the area.  I have skied with them a couple of times before the new resorted opened and can attest that they have some good terrain.
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ster View Post




I can agree with that, especially if you are combining cat/heliskiing with resort skiing, something that can be easily done at Revelstoke.  Stick with the resorts as long as you're getting untracked & save the Cat/heli/backcountry for when the resort gets skied out. 
Where did you Catski in BC, perhaps the OP would be interested?
JF

I heliskied with Great Canadian, which I'd recommend to anyone with the inclination to splash out. If you're gonna heliski, small helicopters/small groups are the way to go. I've catskied at most of the operations in the Nelson area. Generally I think the ones further north of Kootenay Lake are the best, but that's just my view. Hoping to get back up there this season, it's been a couple years (the photo of me here is catskiing in the Meadow Creek area, Jan. 2007).
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Talisman View Post

I can't speak for Revelstoke, but the gondola line at Kicking Horse can get pretty long.  The rest of the lifts really don't get much in the way of lines.  To get to the upper reaches of Kicking Horse, a gondola ride is mandatory.  Once you are up though, there are other lifts to ride.

Yeah, saturdays, especially good saturdays can mean long waits for the gondi......at least until Calgarians stop arriving. By 11 am, additions from the parking lot slow, and skiers are nicely out of synch with the timing of their runs.

The sth lift isn't a great option for lapping though. Although the tree shots can be nice, the vert is pretty small. Accessing Fuez will bring you back to the bottom.
post #16 of 16
stay away from the low capacity gondola only accessed resorts- we have enjoyed Fernie, Whitewater and Red Mountain for the best in Powder and also terrain. Much better choice! good luck!
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