05 January 2010

Stoked for Revie...

Flew from the UK to Calgary. Almost didn’t make it out of Paul’s because the mile long track was a sheet of ice, literally. Fortunately we had a taxi driver who had done an apprenticeship on the tanker lorries so we made the airport just on time. A day on a plane and then arrived in Calgary at 5 pm. Then drove 5.5 hours across the Rockies to Revelstoke. Don’t try this at home! Jet leg
no sleep and a five an a half hour drive on icy roads don’t really go together.

I was in Revelstoke 4 years ago with Tor, staying at his uncle’s place. That was before the resort was open and the town was a sleepy backwater, straight out of a cowboy movie, surrounded by big mountains. We spent a week using snow mobiles to access the mountains and even managed a days heli-skiing. But there was also a lot of talk about the new resort and how it was going to change everything and the place was going to be the next “Whistler”.

First impression was that the town hadn’t changed at all! Which was good. It looked pretty much the same and had the same feel. We spent 8 days staying at the Nelson lodge and riding the hill. It was awesome! There are only three lifts but that is massively misleading as this is a huge mountain with tones of terrain. We spent the first couple of days finding our way around. There are glades where the trees are spaced widely enough to catch the deep powder and still ride fast. There are also a couple of big bowls which are accessed through chutes of the summit ridge and ridden out through tree runs at the bottom. This is potentially the best boarding I have ever done and when on the third day it started to snow, things just got better. A big dump on day 6 gave me one of the best days riding I have ever had. My legs were destroyed I could hardly walk.

Canada is possibly the friendliest country I have ever been to. As soon as you get on a lift people start chatting away to you, down town people treat you like old friends and even in the traffic queue which formed while we waited for the avalanche clearance, people got out there cars and stood around socializing. We met a lorry driver and an Olympic rower, just standing next to our car. It was from one of the very friendly people on the lift that we heard about the cross country skiing by lantern on New Years day. Katharine, ever the keen bean when it comes to skiing, bullied me into borrowing some skis from Tor's uncle and we headed out to the 5 km trip. It was dark and the route was lit by the occasional oil lamp. It was all very atmospheric and even more so at the half way point were we came across a beautifully lit up cabin which was dishing out hot chocolate and mold wine. I am fine on x country skis going up, going down is generally a disaster and this time was much the same as usual, but I made it back to the car after being overtaken by some old people on snow shoes. A very atmospheric evening and nice to do something with the locals.

The boarding at Revie definitely lived up to its expectations, the runs nearly are “too long” and there nearly is “too much powder” as one of the reports bemoaned. Its an amazing place to stay, with deep fresh powder, friendly people, and awesome terrain. The spirit of the old town is intact and the locals seem happy with what has happened to their hill. Go visit before the secret gets too widely known and the place really does become the next Whistler.

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