Revelstoke guide: Get revved up for your best winter yet

The Revelstoke newbie’s guide to making the most of your first winter season in this vibrant mountain town

Make the most of your first season in Revelstoke. Here’s how. Photo: Paul Wilanowski

By Emily Stone and Louise Stanway

Live life out of bounds. Packed your shovel, beacon, probe and skins? It’s time to get deep into the thousands of potential backcountry adventures that surround Revelstoke! Dive into the area to the south of the resort, head east out of town to the world renowned Rogers Pass, and get waist deep on Mt. Macpherson. But first, be sure to complete an Avalanche Skills Training (AST1) course; there are dozens of guiding companies offering AST courses. Check the list on Avalanche Canada’s website at Already done your AST? Brush up on your knowledge, round up your friends to do some search and rescue practice, skin up and get going!

Stuck for touring partners? Try the Revelstoke Ski Tourers Facebook page, or ask if you can go along with an acquaintance’s group (we can shamelessly vouch for using Tinder for this purpose as well). Be outgoing and interested when meeting new potential touring partners – you can learn a lot about terrain choice, snow science and route finding from those more experienced than you. Be critical as well – make sure you know who you’re going out there with, and if you don’t fully trust someone’s judgement, don’t be afraid to take command over the decision-making process or opt for a tour in less challenging terrain. On another note, pack wisely – take a map and compass and know how to use them. Always carry a first aid kit, head lamp, fire kit and something to insulate you from the ground should an unlikely emergency arise.

Don’t be a pow-chasing-snow-snob! There are days that make good skiing, and then there are days that make good skiers. A drier winter translates to less powder days and icier, mogul-y, chossy snow days (these are the days that make good skiers). Ripping the mountain in marginal conditions gets you more props than doing so in blower pow, and it’s a sure-fire way to improve your skiing or riding. Plus, you will acquire the ability to go and ski comfortably and complaint free at a hill that isn’t gifted with the desirable conditions that we receive here in Revelstoke. Yes, of course savour the powder days – but don’t get so hung up on them that you disregard all the fun to be had on the days in between!

Know where your party people are at. We live in the mountains to free ourselves from concrete jungles, so why party like they still confine us? You haven’t truly partied in Revy until you have found yourself swept up in a whirlwind of glitter, dancing to one of your favourite DJ’s (who might just happen to be your neighbour too), all the while trying to visually separate fairy lights from bonfire flames.

Keep your ears pricked for word of private parties, which will pop up throughout the season. These events will usually occur in people’s backyards or just outside of city limits. Talented local musicians, coupled with an adventurous crowd, make for a night that you won’t easily forget (or, maybe you just will …)

That said, if you prefer the comforts of a warm bar or club, there are still plenty of places to have a big one in town. Try Toonie Tuesdays at the Traverse nightclub for $2 beers, or impress your friends at open-mic nights at The Last Drop Pub every Wednesday.

Be a savvy spender. Yes, you have entered a world where it is not uncommon, or frowned upon, to transfer funds from your savings account whilst at the bar, trying to purchase your $7 highball. It’s paramount that you plan your nights out ahead of time to ensure you have maximum booze-for-buck intake. But it’s okay. Just know you are not alone in your struggle. In fact, even if you are ‘funemployed’ for the season, or working precious few hours, there are still ways that you can make your money stretch a little further in this town.

Firstly, follow Macklemore’s advice, please do pop some tags with that twenty bucks in your pocket. You’ll acquire most of your treasures at the Revelstoke Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Shop on 302 Second St. West (open 1–4 p.m. daily, or 7 p.m.–9pm Mondays and Thursdays). The re-use of clothes and household items helps not only your wallet, but the community and the environment too! Following this theme, check into the RevySell facebook page to snag some cracking deals, or earn yourself some extra pocket money by selling off your unwanted items. Secondly, Keep an eye out for free ‘swag’ at events such as movie premieres and organised talks. Local businesses have proven generous when it comes to raffle prizes and freebie donations. You never know, you might just be walking away with a free pair of skis!

Your mountain diet: eat cheap, feel good. The best way for you to perform well in your winter sport of choice, or simply in your day-to-day routine, is to balance your diet. The oppressive cloud that parks itself over our town for a large chunk of the winter months can result in a lack of Vitamin D intake. Try eating foods fortified with Vitamin D such as orange juice, soy milk and cereals as well as tuna, mackerel or other fatty fish as a substitute source of this vitamin.

If you have a busy line up, try to plan your meals ahead. Packed lunches will save you money and time, and they also allow you the opportunity to cater them precisely to your nutritional needs. As a complimentary snack (especially if you are up at the resort), make yourself some homemade trail mix before you set out, as a nice alternative to buying pricey energy bars.

That said, we all like to treat ourselves from time to time. If you do decide to eat out, line up your budget with local offers such as Taco Tuesday at The Taco Club, or Wing Night on Mondays at the Rockford.

Strike a balance. January is the time to consider your priorities. What’s your reason for being here? Is it specifically to work, or is it to max out the riding-to-work ratio? If you’re comfortably frugal, you can get by in this town on a low part-time wage. With the right job, your hours don’t always have to clash with the ski days. Don’t get lumped with a dead-end job five daytimes a week, when there are numerous better opportunities in this town that allow you time to actually ski with your pals, and not be the one known for always being stuck at work!

Take time for yourself. It’s easy to get caught in a chaotic web of riding, working and trying to uphold your social life. Sleep may get sacrificed, and somewhere along the way you will probably fall into the trap of forgetting about your physical and mental well being. Life in this town can be draining and it’s often necessary to take time out and zone back into your own uninterrupted headspace. Ski a day solo, offer to house-sit for someone if your own house is busy, or make the most of the introductory offers at Balu, Revelution or Welwinds yoga studios.

To further recover your body after a long day on the hill, the Revelstoke Community and Aquatic centre provides reasonably priced access to a hot tub and sauna, if you can resist spending the whole time on the slide!

Know how to cope if life goes tits-up. The curse of an unfixable car, problems at work or an injury could strike you at any time. In the unfortunate case that the worst happens, keep yourself busy. Whilst taking on more when your brain is full of anxiety seems like a silly idea, it is actually a perfect coping mechanism – especially if you have been dealt some bad luck and have no control over the situation. Plan a trip for your summer, take up a new craft, start reading a novel – or even writing one. If your brain has something else to focus on, the problem won’t dominate your mind.

Be a ‘yes person’. Got a goal for the season that you’ve not fully committed to working towards yet? With a generous four months of winter ahead of us, there’s no better time to begin than January. Start 2018 off with a can-do attitude. Make a flexible game plan, decide who and what you need to help you, and focus! Whether you aspire to tour to a summit in Glacier National Park, achieve the perfect backflip, rip confidently through the trees, don’t let little niggles such as Netflix days and the aftermath of a big weekend swallow your motivation.

This article first appeared in the January issue of Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine.