Revelstoke, Rogers Pass Roadtrip
When Ullr gives you pineapples you make a Mai Tai. A huge Pineapple (warm wet weather system from Hawaii) – was forecasted to hit BC bringing freezing levels up to 3000m, these levels even hit the traditionally colder Central Interior of BC. So what do you do? Head east to Revelstoke and Rogers Pass to see if they missed the worst of it.
Our first day we head to Rogers Pass to see if it missed the Pineapple. We had to stop at the Rogers Pass Discovery Center to do our Annual Permit Quiz and get our permits and information. Note that due to avalanche control in the pass some areas may be closed and its important to check to see what’s open before you go. Another good source of information on skiing in Rogers Pass is Doug Sprouls Guide Book – Rogers Pass – Uptracks, Bootpacks and Bushwacks. [Check out Lee's Rogers Pass Article in Things to Do].
Michel giving lot of info to the tourers who ventured here this weekend.
You can park overnight, but can you camp?
We decided to check out the Asulkan Valley. Avalanche conditions were still high on this day due to still unseasonable skyrocketing temps so sticking to the trees was a good option.
Our new Toyota Tacoma was our ever faithful beast of burden!
Unfortunately the Pineapple did make it here so we just toodled around in cottage cheese conditions, had lunch, took in the views up the valley then headed back to Revelstoke. Still it’s almost never a bad day in the mountains.
The next day with temperatures staying warm and the clouds remaining we opted to cruise at Revelstoke Mountain Resort. They now have an Avalanche Ranch where 8 transceivers are buried so you can practice your searching. They also now have La Baguette food at the top of the Gondola – bonus! Coverage was much better than we had expected with groomers skiing fast. The pineapple had done a number off-piste so we stayed away from the rock-hard runnelled turns off the side of the runs.
For an overview of Things to Do in Revelstoke (things to do skiing and non-skiing, cool things to check out, places to go etc.) check out this Trip Advisor Article.
Cruising was not bad.
Some pictures from a previous trip showing the potential in RMR when it’s more seasonably cold and snowy
Our third day promised sunnier skies so we decided to head back up to Rogers Pass and tour up the Valley to Balu Pass. The following picture shows how low the snow is this year. The top photo is from 2012, the bottom from 2015. This low snow back made us not want to venture into the trees but to stay in the open areas where travel would be faster.
The skin up was beautiful as usual! The snow was hard and fast. Pretty much all the steep chutes had slide debris in them. Once you were off the slide debris mank you could find some chalky firm fast snow. Temperatures at the top of Balu pass were -15C which was nicely cold and clear.
We decided to ski down into the 8812 bowl, it was dust on crust and fun skiing if you played the wind-transport off the ridgelines, but more icy where it got steeper in the trees.
Top – 2012, Bottom – 2015
Grizzly slide path had slid.
Fast travel up Balu Pass.
Snow was good on certain aspects. This looks into the Copper drainage
8812 bowl beckons but getting there could have been interesting especially without ski crampons
Dust pow on crust!
Where to Stay
We opt to showcase the Sutton Place Hotel at Revelstoke Mountain Resort. The Sutton Place is palatial and customer service is a premium. It has a couple of hot tubs and is close to food and the RMR Resort. While a bit removed from town, this means quiet, and to put it in context it only takes an extra 5 minutes to get to the highway if you want to get to Rogers Pass.
Surprisingly for such a nice place, the Sutton Place is reasonably priced. We were in a 2 bedroom suite. It’s entirely possible to share the suite with one or two other couples (there’s a pull-out bed) or with a family and cook your own breakfast in their full kitchen. Rates in January range from $500 – 700 for a studio or suite that sleeps 4 – 6 people. For exact rates check it out here.
The main hotel building.
Dinner at the Rockford Grill
Sutton Place – two bedrooms, living area and storage
Balcony, Hot Tub in our building, Mackenzie Pub and Outdoor Swimming Pool.
Dinner at the Woolsey Creek cafe which is always worth stopping in for dinner. It’s another great place to eat for nice food and ambiance. Consistently the top-rated restaurant in the region there’s a reason we’ve been going here for 14 years!