Revelstoke Lifts & Terrain

  • Vertical (m)
    512 – 2,225 (1,713)
  • Average Snow Fall
    10.5 metres
  • Lifts (6)
    1 Gondola
    2 High-Speed Quads
    1 Quad
  • Ski Season
    Early Dec to mid Apr
  • Terrain Summary
    Ski Area - 1,263 hectares
    Runs – 75
    Longest run – 15.2 km
    Beginner - 12%
    Intermediate - 43%
    Advanced/Expert - 45%

Revelstoke Skiing and Snowboarding Terrain

Ski Revelstoke BC for long runs, steeps, glades, and lots of snow. Revelstoke Mountain Resort is a big steep mountain that is most ideally suited to strong intermediates and advanced riders. The steep groomers that go on forever are fantastic, although your thighs might not agree! You are unlikely to need to wear thermals at Revelstoke because you’ll work up a sweat racking up kilometres of vertical, and with fast lifts you’ll have minimal time to cool off.

The North Bowl and the Sub Peak provide some open alpine terrain, but the majority of the resort is below the tree line and recent years have seen lots of glading undertaken in the upper parts of the resort.

With the Revelstoke skiing, the huge vertical of the lift serviced terrain (1,713 metres / 5,620 feet) can be divided into parts.

Zone 1/Lower Mountain: The lowest part below the gondola mid-station provides 270 metres of vertical and is good for beginners, but the snow conditions here are incredibly variable. No one tends to ride here, except to get to the base at the end of the day, which may explain why the Revelstoke Resort doesn’t bother to groom most of the runs.

Zone 2/Mid Mountain: From the mid station the gondola goes up a further 881 metres of vertical. The piste runs are predominantly blue and black, and there’s some tree skiing when the snow’s good.

Zone 3/Upper Mountain: Above the gondola, the chair lift serviced terrain (562 metres of vertical) is much broader. Getting across the mountain can result in a lot of traversing and there are some reasonably flat trails. Skiers’ left is The Stoke chair and the south facing terrain. Skiers right is the North Bowl with The Ripper chair a little further down which offers tree skiing and a couple of groomers. Powder fiends will probably spend most of their time on this upper third of the mountain.

Zone 4/Hike To: The Sub Peak above the Stoke chair provides another 115 vertical metres of hike-to terrain. A bootpack provides more challenging entries into North Bowl or the alpine terrain of the Upper Southside.

Crowds

Revelstoke BC is sort of in the middle of nowhere, away from any major cities. The upside of this is that Revelstoke doesn’t attract the same crowds seen at some other North American ski resorts. In the first few years of Revy opening, the ski resort was practically deserted and it was really easy to get fresh tracks. Now that the secret of Revelstoke is out there, there are many more powder hounds competing for freshies.

On a powder day there can be queues for the gondola right out to the car park (because for some stupid reason they don’t use corrals so that those staying at Sutton Place don’t have to walk 15 minutes just to get to the end of the queue). The bottleneck disappears pretty quickly and the crowds disperse, but the mainstream powder gets tracked out within a couple of hours. On a non-powder day there are no lift lines and the mountain is really uncrowded. You can even have the gondola to yourself on every ride if you like!

Lifts

The lift infrastructure at Revelstoke is reasonably impressive. There are only 4 lifts; the Revelation Gondola, two high speed quad chairs (The Stoke and The Ripper), and a fixed grip quad (Stellar), plus two magic carpets. The three main lifts are super fast, super long and super comfortable. The chair lifts are so fast that you can feel the wind in your face even though it’s not windy. The only minor shortcoming is that the gondola is no longer one continuous lift. It’s been separated into two parts so you have to get out at the mid station and re-load onto another gondola.

Lift Tickets

The lift ticket rates for Revelstoke seem to be increasing significantly, or maybe skiing everywhere is just getting expensive for us ski bums. If you’ve got extra cash, you can add on a first tracks program and get on the lifts 45 minutes before everyone else. It’s limited to 28 guests per day, but you have to go with a guide and due to avalanche control work, this program doesn’t access any of the terrain located in North Bowl, Greely Bowl, South Bowl, or the Ripper area ie all the tasty stuff.

Revelstoke Snow & Weather

There’s lots of media hype that Revelstoke gets plenty of snow, but this mostly refers to snow volumes in the Revelstoke heli skiing terrain which the resort played off for a while. Now that the Revelstoke Resort has enough years under its belt to get a snowfall average, not surprisingly it’s less than the heli skiing tenures at 10.5 metres (which is still very respectable).

The marketing team may be able to boast about the snowfall but definitely not the number of sunny days (unlike Colorado and California!) because Revelstoke tends to have lots of foggy weather.

As to be expected for a ski resort with 1,713 metres of vertical, the snow quality can vary significantly between the top and bottom. It sometimes rains at the base and the snow cover can be patchy, although some snowmaking has significantly improved the experience for beginners using this area.

Further up the mountain the snow generally has moderate moisture content. The powder isn’t as wet as Whistler snow, but it’s not as good as other parts of the BC Interior such as Kicking Horse. The North Bowl snow is often very lovely due to the aspect and because lots of powder blows in there, and the Ripper Chair also has a mostly northerly aspect. Most of the runs off the gondola are west facing, whilst the aptly named south bowl can have very crusty snow.

The Revelstoke resort requires a significant base for all areas to open. As examples, “Kill The Banker’’ and the gladed ‘Critical Path’ (both in the mid mountain zone) may be closed unless there is plenty of snow cover.

Ski Revelstoke BC - for the Beginner

The amount of beginners’ terrain has grown a little since the introduction of the Stellar Chair, which can be accessible from the top of the gondola. Nevertheless, Revelstoke Resort has very little true beginner terrain because some of the green runs are just super long cat tracks.

Novices are reasonably well catered for at at the base and at the gondola mid-station. Both areas have a magic carpet and a very gentle slope that’s appropriately short.

The next progression is a big leap in endurance; the very long Last Spike run in Zone 2 that weaves its way down the mountain or the slightly shorter Sunshine. Beginners would also have to be game to tackle this stretch because it frequently crosses more challenging runs and it can be daunting on low visibility days.

Revelstoke Skiing - Intermediates

Revelstoke ski resort has lots of terrain for intermediates in the form of very long runs, so sometimes the experience can feel a little repetitive, particularly in Zone 2 (mid mountain).

Moderately difficult are the couple of blue trails off the Ripper Chair and a couple of runs off the Stellar chair. Elsewhere on the mountain there are plenty of long, long steep groomers, so generally Revelstoke is better suited to high end confident intermediates than timid intermediate riders.

Intermediates will also want to keep an eye on the grooming report (for what it’s worth) because when we last visited there were lots of blue runs not groomed. There were also a couple of runs that they claimed were groomed, but part way down the grooming stopped.

In reality, the official statistic of there being 43% of the trails for intermediates, feels way exaggerated.

Terrain Park

Revelstoke has a small terrain park with rails and some medium sized jumps. When we visited, no one seemed to be using it, possibly because it takes a while to do laps to get around to it again considering the length of The Stoke chair lift.

Advanced Snowboarding and Skiing Revelstoke

Revelstoke is absolutely perfect for advanced riders considering the variety of terrain: steep groomers, alpine bowls, moguls, tree skiing and glades.

Ski Revelstoke if you have a need for speed and to get stoked! A winch cat groomer manicures some of the black runs such as Pitch Black, Critical Path, Snow Rodeo and Devil’s Club. With negligible annoying “slow signs” or beginners to get in the way, strong intermediate and advanced riders can fly down these runs until they hit Mach 1!

Other easy single black diamond slopes can be found below The Stoke (Zone 2) on the piste and the wide Aspen Glades.

The resort has undertaken significant glading but in places they’ve gone too far and the trees are so widely spaced that it’s not tree skiing anymore. For example, skiers’ left of the Ripper Chair used to have some awesome tree skiing with various rock features for upper advanced riders, but someone got too excited with the chainsaw.

Ski Revelstoke’s North Bowl

The North Bowl has both single black and double black terrain. The major differentiation is generally the entrance into the bowl, and there are also some challenging cliffs and features on the periphery of the bowl that definitely fall into the expert category.

The North Bowl is the piece de resistance of Revelstoke but it’s also its major shortcoming. It’s awesome on one hand and a complete pain in the arse on the other! The snow is the best on the hill and there are usually lots of fresh tracks to be found, probably because lots of people can’t be bothered with the time and effort required to get in and out of the bowl.

The bowl can be accessed in a variety of ways via a traverse, a short hike, or a decent boot pack, and the more energy you put in the more reward you get (both in terms of challenging terrain and freshies). And if you make the effort to get around to Greely Bowl, then the likelihood of scoring freshies is good.

Once in the huge bowl there are options galore and on good visibility days it’s easy to scope a line that’s appropriate for your ability. One downside is that the best runs all funnel into the one area so it gets painfully repetitive, and the egress is very clunky.

The first exit option out of North Bowl is to stay right and skim the right hand boundary line all the way down to the bottom of the Ripper chair. This Big Woody run is a complete bitch particularly when the tight gully becomes a bumps run. It feels like pinball quadzilla and it ruins any memory of the nice powder in the bowl.

The second alternative is not to ski so far right and end up on an old cat track, parts of which require a hike up or herringbone. This track eventually hits the Chopper run off the Ripper chair.

The least taxing option (but the shortest and least rewarding) is to stay left and traverse moderately high for a long way until you hit the Downtowner run.

Even though the North Bowl is avalanche controlled, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to carry backcountry safety equipment and take a buddy, because ski patrol is chronically understaffed!

Expert Revelstoke Skiing

There is a bit of expert terrain at Revelstoke ski resort, but there are much better ski resorts in North America for expert and extreme riders. Experts will be challenged by the short gnarly pitches in North Bowl and Greely Bowl, and some of the tight trees that are still left.

When snow cover is good, show ponies may want to head down the Kill the Banker run under the gondola. This run is littered with rocks, boulders and little cliffs so there are lots of features to play amongst. Or the Gnarnia Glades and Critical Path glades are nice and challenging, but it can suffer from a lack of snow cover or poor snow quality.

Backcountry

Revelstoke has some amazing sidecountry and backcountry terrain. The resort provides a guiding service for day touring to help you explore some of it.