The resort’s closed, the snow’s melting fast and Revelstoke’s heading into the shoulder season. We looked at what happens when the snow people go…
Warmer temperatures. Melting snow. Daylight after work. Yes, one look at the beautiful ball of light shining in the sky and the dirty snow banks and any permanent resident of Revelstoke knows that spring is upon us.
Subarus with ski racks and lifted F350s with sled decks head back onto the highway, the driver’s eyes give a wistful look at Revelstoke in their rearview mirror for the last time this season. Our mountain town grows smaller — both in the rearview mirrors of the people who make the trek from all over the world to spend a winter in paradise and in population size.
When the snow people go, our town transforms, stretching its bones from a long winters slumber. Birds sing. Trees grow leaves anew. Flowers bloom, and all the while the physical transformations of nature are occurring the community itself undergoes change.
All the sudden The Stoke List is inundated with miscellaneous items; everything from used Volkswagens for $500, illegal basement suites to toasters (FREE!). The Thrift Store fastens their annual sign: ‘We Will Not Accept Mattresses.’ Going to the grocery store for milk still takes ages, but now instead of standing behind 30 people in line with board boots and ski pants it’s because you’re finally seeing and catching up with everyone you haven’t in six months. ‘You still live here? I haven’t seen you since October.’ That’s right — the Revelstoke locals emerge from their caves after hunkering down to hibernate for the winter. Gone are the eight-foot snowbanks obscuring the view of your neighbour’s home or seas of unrecognizable faces. You start seeing the people who have decided to make Revelstoke their home through all the seasons — the lucky people who get to see the beauty of Revelstoke without the veil of snow.
Many of these people, the all-season people, are business owners or people who work for businesses reliant on tourism. If you listen closely you can almost hear their barely audible expulsion of a long held breath as the shoulder season commences. Congratulations, you made it! We made it, Revelstoke. The busiest season is over for seven months and the shops and restaurants around town relax as things temporarily slow down — many taking a break now and even closing their doors for a period of time to rejuvenate.
Forever a tourism community things will heat up again soon for the summer months; music will fill the streets downtown, people will be seen dining on patios, mountain bikes will be strapped to roof racks to replace skis and people will flock in droves to Revelstoke’s new The Pipe Mountain Coaster.
Summer tourists are not the same as snow people. They stay in Revelstoke for a brief period — enjoying hiking, biking, paddleboarding or adventuring for a weekend then returning home. Snow people make Revelstoke their home, if only for a season.
Before we know it streams of traffic to the ski hill on powder days will be back, the sound of lilting Australian accents will be heard once more, the smell of two stroke will hang in the air at the base of every mountain and the snow people will return to this ultimate mountain paradise for another year of powder dreams.
This article first appeared in the April/May issue of Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine.