This article first appeared in the March print issue of Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine.
The tourists look up out of their windows in awe as they pull up to the stop sign at Victoria and Mackenzie while trucks carrying giant cedar trunks dwarf their rental cars. The locals do the classic Revy lane switch as to not get stuck behind the slow moving tonne of wood so they can get to the ski hill a little quicker. Neither demographic likely thinks about it again.
But one Revelstoke local who has found inspiration from the heart of the community – the forestry industry – is trying to bridge that gap between industry and public by offering a uniquely Canadian, Revelstoke-based experience.
Peak Axe Throwing opened its doors to the public last month, allowing guests a chance to try their hand at throwing an axe at a 120-pound, three-foot-wide giant spruce target, or challenging their friends in various competitions.
“I’m inspired by the Revelstoke community, and at the heart of it is Interior forestry. We have a huge sawmill, the Downie sawmill (Downie Timber Ltd & Selkirk Cedar), and we have other ones too,” says owner Dustin Roskam. “There are like five different sawmills in Revelstoke that don’t come to mind to people. When people hear Revelstoke, the first thing people think is skiing.”
Offering a unique experience for locals and visitors, Roskam has a freshly renovated space conveniently located on the corner of Rokeby Avenue and Victoria Road — where logging trucks pass by like clockwork. With two double-wide throwing lanes holding massive targets from a spruce tree he purchased from Downie, it’s the newest spot to get your lumberjack on. And because only two people can be in the throwing lanes at a time, a lounge area featuring historic photos from the Revelstoke Museum and Archives and artifacts from the BC Interior Forestry Museum is the perfect place for your group to hang out, eat and watch the axes fly from behind the safety a chain-link fence.
Intended for visitors to town, work or birthday parties and even something to do after dinner, (or during dinner – Roskam encourages people bring their own pizza or take-out) he hopes Peak Axe Throwing will help fill a void of things to do in Revelstoke in the evenings.
With no experience necessary and available to ages ten and over, he says getting the hang of throwing an axe isn’t really based on athletic ability.
Each group begins with safety and throwing instructions from Roskam, after which they can choose from a range of competitions, games and trick throws. “It takes a little bit, it’s a new skill for [most people],” Roskam says, but everyone usually the hang of it.
Roskam plans to get an axe-throwing league started once a week where regulars can come and compete against each other throughout a season, followed by a playoff-style competition. League throwers get their own axe, which they can add their own creative spin to by adding artwork or their names on them and leaving them on display on the wall.
Not sure if you’re ready to join an axe throwing league? You can try it out first by making a reservation online at www.peakaxethrowing.ca.