In depth: Interview with Revelstoke Mountain Resort VP Peter Nielsen on development update

A development update report released by Revelstoke Mountain Resort details progresses on many long-anticipated projects.

An image of the proposed 89-unit staff housing building at RMR. Photo: Revelstoke Mountain Resort image

Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s busy summer season of operation is underway and a new update released on July 26, 2022, details development progression and events on and around the mountain. The update report states that many projects are delayed due to an unseasonably cold spring, late snow melt in the alpine, and effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The update gives locals and visitors a look into resort happenings and where some of the highly anticipated projects stand in terms of completion. 

For starters, RMR’s most popular attraction is getting an expansion. A second track for the Pipe Mountain Coaster, 1.4 kilometres in length, is in the works, anticipated to be completed by September 2022. The track expansion will help wait times for visitors and provide a new experience for resort visitors. 

Layout for the new Pipe Mountain Coaster track. Photo: Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Revelstoke Mountain Resort Vice President Peter Nielsen says one of the resort’s focuses includes creating inclusive experiences for visitors.

“We have some plans for more projects that will attract more people and deliver experiences that are not totally centred on really difficult mountain sports, but that are more approachable for broader, different graphics,” he says. “That’s a big focus for us. We do believe that summer represents a really big opportunity for growth at the resort and de facto for the whole town.”

New Slopeside Hotel update

Additionally, the update says the new slopeside hotel’s construction is in full swing after delays that RMR attributes to the Covid-19 pandemic. The new luxury hotel will be situated across from the existing Sutton Place Hotel and will be home for Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing once the project comes to fruition. The update says the new hotel is expected to be open for the 2024/25 winter season. 

According to the update, a crew of 30 construction personnel arrived earlier this month and are wrapping up foundation work with plans to begin vertical construction this fall.

Rendering of the East-facing side of the new Slopeside Hotel. Photo: Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Nielsen says the resort intentionally slowed progress on the hotel during the uncertain times presented by the pandemic but struggled to resume operation mainly due to worker shortages. “We just struggled to get the project ramped up to where we wanted it to be as far as the ability to attract and retain talented labourers to work on the site,” he says.

Staff housing update

The update details that the urgently needed resort employee housing project is awaiting approval of a building permit before the first phase of construction can begin, which includes a building with 90 apartment suites and parking for both employees and day use. Nielsen says the resort is awaiting building permits from the city. 

“It’s pretty normal,” Nielsen says in response to a question regarding the delayed permits. “Development application process and planning, it really gets to a higher level of detail,” he says. “We’re super excited to get going on [the staff housing] because we really need it.”

Read a previous employee housing update from April here.

Nielsen says to deal with the housing and worker issues in Revelstoke, the resort is leasing properties and acquiring assets such as the Backpacker’s hostel, which was bought in the fall of 2021 and turned from short-term accommodation to long-term rental for seasonal staff members.

Further update

The development update also reports progress on projects such as the Camozzi Road realignment, on mountain development to prepare for winter, and the Cabot Pacific golf course, which plans to open in 2024.

The realignment of Camozzi Road is scheduled to be completed in 2024. Photo: Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Also mentioned in the report was a landslide that occurred on June 11, 2022, due to slope instability on Mountain Road. “These abnormal weather patterns also caused a change in ground and surface water patterns. A notable change occurred downslope of the Stellar Chair, which impacted Mountain Road north of Monashee Estates,” the update includes. “The change in groundwater patterns resulted in a localized slope instability, and on June 11, a natural and slow-moving slip occurred on Mountain Road.”

RMR says they immediately engaged with geotechnical engineers, water quality experts, and erosion and sediment control professionals to complete an assessment of the site to ensure the safety of residents, visitors, and staff. The update writes that liaise with professionals to monitor this issue.

Nielsen says approval timing is one of the resort’s biggest challenges, aside from the symbiotic worker shortage and housing crisis. He says that agencies across the country are struggling with capacity, and as a result, things are delayed. Beyond the resort’s own struggles with housing and retaining employees, other firms and agencies outside of Revelstoke are struggling with the same issues, and Nielsen says it has been a challenge for them.

When asked how the resort plans to remain successful in these trying times, Nielsen says that the resort plans to continue to deliver the high-quality experience that everyone has grown to expect out of the resort. Nielsen says the resort staff is proud of their world-class designation, “In order to do that, we need to be able to recruit and retain great people,” he says. “That’s priority number one — figuring out that so we can continue to deliver those experiences.”

Nielsen says another key to success for RMR is the ability to continue to grow. He says development needs to happen to increase visitation, which will directly benefit the community with more opportunities for other entrepreneurs in Revelstoke.

“The entrepreneurs in Revelstoke are really what create the vibe and create the culture that our guests get to experience beyond skiing and beyond our own operations,” Nielsen says.

With the town seeing a lot of change and development, Nielsen says, “Revelstokians care about their community on a level that you don’t always see, which is awesome. It’s not something to discourage, that’s for sure.”

Nielsen says residents and visitors can expect updates like this one regularly, as RMR strives to improve communication with the community.

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Nora Hughes is a recent graduate of the Thompson Rivers University Interdisciplinary Program, where she combined her passions for Adventure Tourism, Communications and Journalism. With a strong interest in community news, Nora is passionate about giving a voice and face to the people of Revelstoke through storytelling.