This article, and distribution, was paid for by the Canadian Ski Council and produced in conjunction with POWDER.
Words by Steve Ogle
Back in the winter of 2007, a bomb dropped on the peaceful town of Revelstoke, B.C., and more specifically its diminutive ski hill then known as Powder Springs. Plaid-wearing, hard-working Revelstoke locals put down their snow shovels in unison, momentarily gazing skyward to a brand-new mega-resort rising above their ever-growing snowbanks.
Greg Hill was among them, fresh from becoming the first skier to tour a million vertical feet in a season. He was likely the only person in his neighborhood whose yard chores didn't follow a shift at the nearby hydro dam, railyard, or lumber mill.
A decade later, as Canada's undisputed backcountry skiing ambassador, Hill might be expected to be waist deep in nostalgia about the changes that Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR) has imparted on his small-town lifestyle. After all, what was once the exclusive playground of like-minded touring folk and a few heli-skiers has morphed into something as unrecognizable as his woodshed buried under a giant snowdrift. Is the true soul of Revelstoke—or Revy, as it's now known—still in there somewhere?
When queried about RMR going into its second decade, the father of two displays exactly the opposite sentiment one might expect about Revy's changes. "Quite simply, it has brought the mountain soul back to Revelstoke," says the ever-positive Hill. "Our town's identity has gone from a town with no real vibe to a bustling mountain community with endless potential."
Indeed. No longer just a pit-stop along the TransCanada Highway, Revy has grown to become a must-see, must-ski, must-live-here destination for serious skiers the world over. Drop into the après scene at The Village Idiot to hear a post–powder day symphony of foreign accents and languages. What's lacking now is the redneck drawl of yesteryear, bar brawls, and grubby roadside fare.
Ski bums of all kinds are drawn in. RMR employs roughly 500 people in a given winter, which further contributes to the town's booming economy. Most of the pull comes from RMR's impressive resumé: Boasting the highest vertical of any resort in North America (5620 feet) and being a stone's throw from the site of Canada's record-setting snowfall (80 feet, back in 1972), this mountain is the real deal. Located smack in the middle of the legendary Selkirk Range, RMR's towering Mount Mackenzie maxes out on both terrain and snow quality. This is affirmed by anyone who's ever dropped into a pillow line on the hill's trademark under-the-gondola run, Kill the Banker. These assets are, according to Hill, but a jewel in the town's well-adorned crown.
While you might see "Two-mil Hill" (Greg later skied 2 million feet in a year) skiing with his kids, smashing gondo laps or ripping Snow Rodeo—a 5,000-foot groomer on RMR's front side—he does, of course, still adhere to his roots, sauntering along on his so-called "two-hour adventure." That's two hours, car-to-car, from coffee shop to the top of The Stoke chair, touring to Mackenzie's summit, then back down via either Brown Shorts or Thumbs Up—two of myriads of rowdy out-of-bounds options. Just like he's always done.
New this season, RMR is part of the IKON pass ($50 of each purchase goes to Protect Our Winters). RMR also remains part of the Mountain Collective (offering a complimentary one-year POW membership with purchase of a pass).