Snow starts to fall gently while we drive to Revelstoke through Rogers Pass. We leave behind great memories of our days in Golden. After dropping off all our gear at the Stoke Hotel, we stop in Revy to see our contact, provided by Ty Mills. Mark Hartley is a local legend who has headed the splitboarding revolution in Canada. These days, he manages The Stoke Roasted Coffee Co. when he is not cshasing powder with his splitboard. Honestly, we couldn’t be more stoked to share a few days with someone as experienced as Mark.
With one of the highest snowfall average in North America, Revelstoke has become one of the world powder Mecca and an unmissable pilgrimage for freeriders all over the planet. Located between the Selkirk Mountains towards the east, and the Monashees Mountains to the west, this small British Columbia town breathes freeriding through all its pores
On our first morning, we wake up to cloudy skis and it’s snowing. It’s been a couple of days since it last snowed and the closest areas, such as ‘The Fingers’ at Mount Macpherson are really trashed. ‘The Fingers’ is one of the best options on overcast days thanks to its quick access from the Nordic ski club lodge parking lot on the S5. This time we are headed to the shoulder of Mount Begbie, another classic route starting from Revy. We have 1400 vertical meters (4.600 ft) ahead of us before we reach the ridge, at around 2000 m (6600 ft), where we find a short but super fun area with excellent conditions.
Back in the hotel, Hugo Serra and Tomás Castelli are waiting to join us for the rest of the week after competing on the Kicking Horse FWQ 4* stop. The options to approach from the valley are really scarce, and after checking the snow forecast for the following days, we head to Rogers Pass with Mike Wigley in search for better conditions.
Just like we did in our former article on Golden, we’d like to emphasize on the difficulty of approaching these mountains on a splitboard, specially for us Europeans, who are used to accessing mountain passes by car. In both cases, we find the highest point to park our car at the Rogers Pass, 1330 m (4.265 ft). If the conditions at the Pass are not too favorable –like during the first two weeks of our trip- our only option is approaching with sleds, or using the resort’s ski lifts, unless we are keen to go broke spending a fortune on heli or cat-skiing operators.
After obtaining the daily permit at the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre, we hit the Dagobah System sector on an endless approach through the forest; the tree line here goes up a few hundred feet. Once we make it to the top, we rule out the bowls due to lack of visibility and we choose a more conservative approach, descending through the infinite pillow line. Deep snow, big terrain and a bunch of stoked buddies, what else?
The following morning we wake up to cloudy skies and a forecast of moderate snow for the rest of the day. Our sore legs from the former days and the good weather window coming up lead us to choose the Revelstoke cable option. We take it easy at the long queues at the gondola staring early in the morning. We do a quick run on Separate Reality Bowl making the most of a weather window and later we traverse from The Stoke Chair towards Montana Bowl, where we manage to score a couple of good runs, The snow starts to fall heavily and the visibility is null, so we spend the rest of the day at the lower part of the resort.
In the afternoon, we check on Mark and agree to meet him early in the morning at the resort. After three days snowing, it seems like the weather window is actually coming in the following day. We wake up to a crisp, cold morning, bluebird skies and 40 cm (16 in) of freshies. It looks like a big day ahead. We manage to hop on the first gondola and then The Stoke Chair. The options from the top of the chairlift are endless. After a short boot packing, first we find the chutes which lead to the North Bowl, and short after 30 minutes we find ourselves summiting Mt. Mackenzie, where we can choose between hitting the Mac Daddy Face, the east face of Mt. Mackenzie, known for hosting one of the FWT contests, or else we can look for the north face chutes.
The Revelstoke sidecountry is really complex. The combination of this complexity and the abundant snowfalls in the area, result in a challenging terrain. You need to be very sure about how and when you are hitting it.
After a good adrenaline fix sliding a few meters down Mac Daddy searching for the diagonal line leading to the ridge overlooking the north face, we drop in at Brown Shorts and Katana to mind-blowing snow conditions.
We meet Juan Aizpuru, our photographer. We go back up the chairlift to search for lines on the north face of Goat Peak. It’s a highly advisable option with an easy approach on a splitboard following the ridge, and a pretty quick scape back to the resort. The clouds keep coming in rapidly from the west, and we manage to drop in good visibility before they totally gulp as down.
So this is how we wrapped up our British Columbia trip, scoring one of those epic days, which make up for endless hours travelling, waiting for an opportunity to feed our souls. Thank you Mark Hartley for good vibes and for sharing his knowledge with us. We’d also like to thank Revelstoke and Revelstoke Mountain Resort for making things so convenient for us.