Mountain Resort and the Fingers
by Lee Lau. Pictures by Lee Lau, Sharon Bader, Mike McArthur and Jeremy
On our way to a week of skiing at Fairy Meadows, Sharon, Mike, Benet and I thought we might as well make a road trip out of it and visit Revelstoke Mountain Resort. As most passionate skiers will know, RMR has a new gondola, new improvements and facilities which open up a lot of terrain at Revelstoke's Mt Mackenzie for lift-served skiing.
I've been going to Revelstoke area for biking, hiking and ski touring at Rogers Pass for some time now. Revy is one of my favourite towns in the Interior - with its friendly, tight-knit community and a ton of recreational opportunities. The resort will definitely change the town. Given the character of the town and the strength of the community, I suspect it will be for the better.
Welcome to Revelstoke!
We stayed at a friend's house and woke up to shovel about 20cms of light snow off the car. Due to a local weather pattern, there is often more snow in town then on the resort. Today was no exception and 12cms were reported on the storm board.
We bumped into some friends at the parking lot. Gerald and Rob knew the terrain better then we did so we followed them around and found pretty darn good powder under the Stoke chair, then skiers right then over to North Bowl for more snow and terrain. While visibility was poor and didn't really afford a good view of what the terrain had to offer, it was pretty easy to see the possibilities.
Sharon and Benet drop into N Bowl. This is around mid-morning
The morning started with less then perhaps 300 people in the parking lot and as the day wore on, more people came up to the mountain. This was confusing to us as Whistler skiers since usually it's the other way around ie. locals ski the pow early in the day then head off to work later on. Later on I was told that part of the reason this happens is that the mountain offers a half-day ticket and that terrain doesn't get skied out too fast during mid-week anyhow. I wasn't sure how this worked since; 1) the mid-weeks weren't all that cheap in any event; 2) I would have imagined a lot of locals would have seasons passes; and 3) the snow certainly did get skied out even if there weren't that many people on the mountain.
Rob works some tight rocky cliffbands and a feature on North Bowl
As the day wore on, we worked our way over to South Bowl, back down to the base area to meet up Kerri and JR who had been stuck behind an avalanche closure at Three Valley Gap. We then headed back to North Bowl. Despite it being later in the day, there was still quite a bit of snow in the main runs - although by then the snow had tracks. I had brought touring gear and skins but visibility never broke enough for us to get a chance to use it.
Mike slides in to North Bowl via a tight chute
Finishing out the day with a run down hard-pack on the gondola lift-line
We now interrupt your scheduled programming to reiterate that Revelstoke is a real community with a real town and real shops. You can walk around in town and do not have to cruise shopping malls or ugly strips.
Everybody gets motivated by different things - picture above by JR, picture below of my favourite things by Mike McArthur
JR and Kerri only had a half day of skiing so headed back to RMR for in-bounds. When we woke up the next day, the snowreport didn't have enough new to meet my 20cms threshold so we decided to do some turns in a local backcountry area near Mt MacPherson.
Kerri on the resort looking down to the Columbia River. Across the river to the west, hidden in the clouds, are the MacPherson Fingers
The route is fairly simple and we had been there in the summer for biking. You start from the XC ski area and work your way south then up through blocks and slide paths to a series of fingers. You pick a finger to ski and exit via the XC ski area. We got about 1500m of vertical then skied out to call it a short day. Beautiful snow was a bonus as it was nice and cold in the valley.
Skin track route up
Nearing the top
Payback on the way down