Last July, the federal dollars were coming in fast and furious. The writ was about to drop on the 2015 federal election, cutting off any further funding announcements. On July 16, then Kootenay–Columbia MP David Wilks travelled to Mount Revelstoke national park for a press scrum at the Monashee Lookout, overlooking Revelstoke. He announced about $55 million in funding for national parks in the region, including paving the Meadows in the Sky parkway. The announcement turned into a bit of a scandal when it was revealed by www.revelstokemountaineer.com that $32.6 million of the “new” funding announcement was actually old, previously announced funds. The political staffers in Ottawa who drew up the announcement had engaged in some padding.
Of course, none of this matters when you’re screaming down the fresh asphalt on Mt. Revelstoke on a longboard at speeds pushing 100 km/h.
Now that the Meadows in the Sky is either brand-new asphalt, or recent asphalt, the 26-kilometre downhill run is attracting attention from riders across the region. Before, huge sections of the road were really rough chunder — basically unrideable. Now, if you check the right longboard community social media channels, you’ll see videos of leather-clad, full-face helmeted riders tackling the straights and switchbacks on the parkway. Word is getting out now that the paving is complete.
From Revelstoke, it’s under an hour to hike to the Monashee Lookout from where you can ride the road down for eight kilometres. In summer, the gates close at 5:30 p.m. to uphill traffic, and at 8:30 p.m. to downhill traffic, leaving a mostly car-free window for riding before sunset.
Adam Auger (pictured above) is a recent transplant to Revelstoke. He’s a former sponsored racer who’s been heavily involved in the scene. With friends, he helped organize the Giant’s Head Freeride in Summerland, a premiere event that attracts over 250 riders, including U.S. and international competitors. It’s one of several prominent longboard races in B.C., including the Whistler Longboard Festival World Cup Downhill, the Salt Spring Slasher, the Sullivan Challenge in Kimberley, the Sun Peaks Freeride, and Danger Bay.
Does the Meadows in the Sky have potential for a sanctioned race? Maybe. The asphalt’s now up to snuff, but managing a 26-kilometre course is a big undertaking. You’ll need hay bales and course marshals at each corner, timing equipment, insurance, and more. It’s costly. Also, top-tier riders are attracted to challenging courses. If it were a ski run, Auger reckons the Meadows in the Sky would be a blue run. There are some steep sections, but by longboard racing standards, the grade is fairly average for much of the hill.
For now, there’s always sunset rides through the alpine wildflowers.
This story originally appeared in the August issue of the print Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine.