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Considered one of Canada’s best winter playgrounds, the city of Revelstoke nestled in B.C.’s Kootenay Rockies region is a treasured spot for snow-seekers. Surrounded by dramatic mountain peaks, the ranges serve up untouched terrain perfect for backcountry pursuits like snowmobiling, skiing and snowshoeing. Revy’s outdoor adventures pair perfectly with the more laid-back offerings found closer to town, including spas, great dining and a lively après scene that keeps the fun going once the chairlifts close and the sun goes down. Here are some of the best things to do in Revelstoke in winter.
Things to do in Revelstoke: Skiing
Surrounded by towering mountain ranges and boasting world-class conditions, Revelstoke is a mecca for all things skiing. Most of the action is based around Revelstoke Mountain Resort, found on Mount Mackenzie in the heart of the Columbia mountain range. With a well-appointed village at the base and bragging rights as the home of North America’s greatest vertical at 1,713 metres, the hill has over three-thousand acres of terrain to explore including alpine bowls, a terrain park and family-friendly areas for skiers of all levels. Be sure to keep an eye out for ‘Gnorm,’ a gnome found behind The Ripper chairlift who’s the so-called ‘measurer of stoke.’
Revelstoke Mountain Resort is also the only place in the world to offer lifts, cat-skiing, heli-skiing and backcountry skiing all from a single base. With four heli-skiing companies right in downtown Revelstoke, well-heeled adventure seekers from around the world have long been lured to the area, eager to make first tracks in champagne powder on peaks so remote they can only accessed by air. When it comes to the best things to do in Revelstoke, there’s no question ski days are what draw the crowds.
For those with a need for speed, Revelstoke’s snowmobiling offerings are sure to satisfy. The city is surrounded by the towering Monashees and Selkirks—spectacular mountain ranges which are considered some of the best backcountry spots in B.C. An estimated 50-thousand riders hit the peaks in this area every single year, following the groomed trails edged by thick fir trees that lead up to alpine meadows blanketed in soft, sparkling snow.
Tow out your own gear, or take advantage of the snowmobile rentals available through outfitters like Great Canadian Tours, which also leads snowmobile excursions through the Boulder, Frisby and Turtle ranges in the Monashees. Based at Glacier House Resort just a short drive from town, their expert guides lead riders on hours-long tours that include instruction, a delicious packed lunch and lots of photo stops to gaze out in awe at the majestic snow-capped peaks and Columbia River that winds through the valley below. There’s also a chance to put newfound skills to the test in picturesque, open bowls filled with fluffy powder, which have earned them fond nicknames like ‘Pillow Factory’—the perfect place for making fresh tracks.
Other Revelstoke activities: Sip some local spirits
The perfect way to cap off a pow day in Revelstoke is to hit the local spirits scene. The city is home to the award-winning Mt. Begbie Brewery, which has been operating since 1996 and is fittingly named after the most prominent nearby peak. Time your visit for one of their daily brewery tours, or simply drop in to enjoy dinner paired with a beer flight.
Another happening spot is Monashee Spirits Craft Distillery, found smack dab in the centre of town. During the day it serves as a production centre for their vodka, cinnamon and espresso liqueurs, and the public is invited to tour the facility. Come dusk, Monashee turns into a busy bar, serving up custom crafted cocktails like stiff Moscow Mules infused with rosemary syrup, and what just might be the best Bloody Caesar you’ve ever had.
Explore downtown Revelstoke
The compact city centre is easy to explore, starting at the pedestrian-only Grizzly Plaza. Revelstoke’s most famous residents mark the entrance: three bear statues, which make for a popular selfie stop.
Stroll down Mackenzie Avenue and drop into cute cafes like DOSE Coffee and The Modern Bakeshop & Cafe to gobble down fresh-baked cupcakes or steaming lattes, then duck into one of the many outdoor apparel stores to grab any gear you might have forgotten. Top marks also go to The Annex, an adorable gift store just off the main street which has just about anything the woman in your life could ever want: think quirky cards, statement jewellery, beautifully scented candles and spa products galore.
For those looking for a night on the town, great places to eat in Revelstoke include:
Quartermaster Eatery: Found on the main floor of the Explorers Society Hotel, this spot is the go-to for creative cocktails. The French-inspired menu serves up huge portions like a mouth-watering bone-in tenderloin, and a slow-roasted Peruvian chicken paired with a refreshing cucumber avocado salad, and plantain chips dipped in an addictive jalapeño-cilantro sauce.
La Baguette: This local favourite serves up organic, fresh-baked goods at its two locations: one just off the Trans-Canada Highway, and the other in Revelstoke Mountain village. Be warned: their mouth-watering pastries are so big you’ll need to come with a plus one—or a big appetite.
Village Idiot: This is Revelstoke’s ultimate après ski spot, complete with snowboarding videos on repeat and decor that will make you feel like you’re still on the chairlift.
Big Eddy Pub: Local swear this joint has the best burgers in town—oh, and there’s a free shuttle so you can spend all night at the pub without worrying about hailing a ride home.
Other fun things to do in Revelstoke
While hitting the hills is a popular pastime for visitors, locals have a few other fun ways to spend the colder months. Drop-in curling is always a crowd favourite, which runs on Friday nights from December to March at the Revelstoke Forum. Anyone can show up at the rink and get instructions and equipment, then compete in a lively match of the quintessentially Canadian game.
Speaking of hitting the ice, the arena that the Revelstoke Grizzlies call home is found just next door. The Junior B hockey team is part of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL), and come playoff time their games are the hottest ticket in town. Be sure to show up early, and get set to cheer on the action with a raucous crowd.
Where to stay in Revelstoke:
There’s lodging to suit all group sizes and budgets, including quirky hostels, retro hotels, boutique properties and alpine resorts. Top picks for Revelstoke accommodation include:
The Sutton Place Hotel: You can’t get closer to the mountains than this. This fab property is the definition of ski in/ski out, located just steps away from the gondola that shuttles skiers up Revelstoke Mountain Resort. The condo-style lodge is a great place to relax for a few days, as suites are equipped with amenities like private balconies, fireplaces and full kitchens. Guests love soaking in the heated outdoor pool or hot tubs that overlook Mt. Begbie at the end of a ski day, and the resort is also one of the few pet-friendly hotels in Revelstoke meaning the whole family can come along. Parking and WiFi are included, along with a complimentary wine and cheese from 4-8 p.m. every night.
Journey’s Perch Guest House: Located between the ski hill and downtown Revelstoke, this former church has been beautifully converted into a guest house with both private and shared rooms. It’s a heavenly place to stay. #SeeWhatIDidThere
The Explorers Society Hotel: This highly-rated property is found in the centre of town, in a historic building that was once a museum. Its Scandinavian-inspired interior features exposed brick walls, custom furniture and big windows that beam sunlight into each cozy room. With extras like luxe bedding, an in-room French press, soft robes, a rooftop lounge and hot tub, the hotel is a chic respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Globe Guide explored Revelstoke as a guest of Kootenay Rockies Tourism. As always, hosts have no editorial influence on articles.
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