12/10/13 – Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Steamboat claims to have very good “champagne” powder.  I can now tell you that Revelstoke has powder so dry and light that it was barely able to fall to the ground.  We awoke this morning to a solid 8 or so inches of brand new snow on top of whatever we had yesterday. There is a street light just outside the house that allows us an excellent view of what the weather is doing at night or in the pre-dawn darkness.  As I watched the snow out the window this morning, I had the impression that it was struggling to sink because of its lightness. 

Moose and I went out and had an easy run through the quiet neighborhood streets which were rendered even more quiet by the all fresh snow.  He was tired from yesterdays activities, so the run was short and that was okay by me as my anticipation for the day’s activities grew the longer we were out.  I couldn’t wait to get home and get ready for our day at Revelstoke Mountain Resort.

M and I prepared ourselves for our first day of snowboarding in many years.  We were both nervous, thinking that we wouldn’t remember how to do anything related to riding downhill on a board.  We made it to the mountain just after 8:30 a.m. when the lifts opened.  Revelstoke is not a small mountain, but the amount of people who ski/ride there is not a large amount at all.  It took us all of 3 or 4 minutes to drive there and from what I could tell their entire parking area is maybe one-third the size of one of the big lots at Copper.  Parking is free and the walk to the ticketing area was maybe 100 yards.  The base area is quite nice with the architecture mainly being of wood and stone and mostly earthy tones.  It is more reminiscent of Jackson Hole’s base area as opposed to the villages of the base areas in Summit County or Vail. 

There is one gondola at the base where everyone loads and is taken first up a short ride to a sort of upper base area.  Next there is another gondola ride to a mid-mountain area where there is a 4-person chair lift that takes you to the top of the mountain.  The top of the ski area is only about 7300 feet, but considering you begin at 1500 feet, the vertical is quite sharp.  The resort’s claim to fame is that they have the most vertical in North America at just over 5600 feet.  When riding up the gondola it is easy to believe this claim as most of the time you are riding up feels as though you are in an elevator and not a gondola.

The top of the mountain was shrouded in fog today, making visibility a real challenge.  For the first 100 or so yards down the mountain it was very difficult to see, but once you broke out of the fog/cloud, perspective became more clear and the views were fantastic.  At some points on the way down the mountain you can see the Columbia River winding its way through the valley below.  It truly looks as though you are going to ski right into the water if you go down far enough.  Down happens in a real hurry at this mountain.  It is much steeper on the whole than our Summit mountains.  It is more similar to Jackson Hole or Telluride in terms of steepness. Cedars and conifers line the entire mountain and are widely spaced which makes for easy tree runs.  And of course there was the snow.  As I mentioned above, there was plenty of fresh and it made for some tremendously floaty runs down the hill.  M and I both had a few face-shots and lots of huge smiles and laughter. 

Those of you who work out at Elevation Fitness are familiar with burning legs and I know that sometimes you’d like to return the favor to us trainers. Consider the favor returned.  My legs didn’t just burn, they hurt as though I had done a thousand squats, followed by a thousand Turkish-get-ups.  The longest run on the mountain is 9 miles of twisting flatness, also known as the “easiest way down.”  After at least 10 miles of this run, M and I were so tired we wanted to be carried the rest of the way down.  We avoided that particular area fairly well the rest of the day but some of the other runs were so long I had to break them up into eighths. 

It was a very successful first day on the mountain.  We are both a little sore (read, “VERY”) but safe, sound and quite glad to have had such a wonderful day on the mountain.

I expect tomorrow will have its own adventures and I hope to be recovered enough from today to be able to report to you then.