Revelstoke, BC

I would use this to get around: Revelstoke is entirely walkable and there’s a shuttle that runs between downtown and the ski hill on a regular basis, so there’s no big need for a vehicle once you get to town. Getting there, however, can be a bit of a chore, particularly in winter when mountain passes on all sides can be closed due to weather for hours at a time, rendering road travel tedious at best and always a bit of a gamble. There are buses or shuttles to and from the major airports around Revy, such as Kamloops and Kelowna in BC, and Calgary in Alberta, but their schedules are fixed and their fares a bit steep. If you’re easy-going, on a budget and enjoy meeting new people in the confines of a Subaru Outback, Revelstoke’s online classified blog The Stoke List is a great source for ride share info.

I would stay here: On the hill, Sutton Place Hotel is your only option for full-service hotel stuff. It’s a beautiful spot, but a bit out of town and bars/restaurants are few. If your plan is simply to spend one day in town skiing the hill or taking the scenic gondola, go for it. Otherwise, I’d stay in town, where the Best Western is a solid option. They’ve got a great pool/hot tub situation and an even better continental breakfast situation to fuel you up for a big day of crushing it. If you’ve got big bags of money, or 15 friends with medium-sized bags of money, there’s a rental property called Big Horn Lodge located right on Revelstoke Mountain Resort that’s got more amenities than some small towns, including a small movie theatre and private heli-pad. It is, quite honestly, the shit.

I would eat here: Arguably the best food and atmosphere combo in town can be found at the Village Idiot. Recommendation: the cheese burger pizza. It looks even more bizarre than it sounds, but if you like food that tastes good, this will be a hit. La Baguette is a bakery and coffee shop in town that has the best breakfast burritos I’ve ever tasted, and most of their food is made in-house, from pasta to pesto and beyond. In other coffee shop news, The Modern on the main drag (aka: MacKenzie) is kind of an institution in a see-and-be-seen kind of way. Finally, the Taco Club is a deservedly popular food truck, and there are delicious rumours that they may be moving to a permanent, indoor location in Revelstoke this winter. Stay tuned.

I would drink here: Each bar has a little something different to offer depending on the day, so it’s worth asking around and doing a bit of digging before you head out for a night on the town. The Last Drop is a hot spot when it’s snowed more than 10cms – they offer “powder jugs” for $10 and good luck getting a seat. Chubby Funsters Kitchen and Cocktails is a new spot with the best patio in town. They’ve struck the perfect balance between kind of classy and really fun. Another local favourite is the Big Eddy Pub. These guys do wing night on Wednesdays and it’s a fantastic venue for live music, not to mention the very best spot for a beer after shredding the local mountain bike trails at nearby Mount MacPherson.

I would do this: Ski. Clearly. Revelstoke Mountain Resort is just about as good as it gets with phenomenal terrain and, somehow, NO LIFT LINES. So good. As for off-piste adventure, the backcountry skiing in the immediate vicinity is nothing short of world-class. In winter, Mount McPherson offers easily-accessed fresh lines (and fantastic nordic trails) a 15 minute drive out of town, and alpine touring mecca Rogers Pass is less than an hour away. For those with the bags of money I was talking about earlier, or simply an appreciation for how awesome and worth the dollars and cents it truly is, I would recommend going heli-skiing. There are a few different operations in town, but I’m very partial to Selkirk-Tangiers. The service is phenomenal and their pristine tenure of glaciers and powder is bigger than some countries, I think. (Disclaimer: I’m no geographer and I tend to exaggerate when I get excited.) If you’re not into skiing, however, there is still plenty of fun to be had. South of town near Nakusp there are several hot springs. Some, like Halcyon and Nakusp itself, are well advertised and commercially developed while others, like Halfway Creek and Saint Leon hot springs, require a bit of a hike and are more rustic/natural. In the summer, Revelstoke is a hiker/mountain biker’s dream. There are trails all over the place with Mount Revelstoke National Park right in the middle of town and a community full of folks who love to see the snow melt just as much as they love to see it fly.

I wouldn’t do this: Make the trip in winter without snow tires or all-wheel drive. All kidding and witty banter aside, it’s a really tricky drive no matter which direction from whence you come. Be smart and be safe.

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