How did the eyes of the greater skiing world miss Revelstoke for so long? For those who have been fans of Revelstoke skiing for many years, this latent revelation that the region is the world’s epicentre of powder skiing must be what the Hawaiians experienced when Californians discovered the North Shore.
Vance Shaw, a former principal cinematographer for TGR, must have realized that the Revelstoke story had somehow missed the mainstream ski world and so he produced a revealing and tantalizing documentary about the budding ski Mecca. The result, Rev: A Buried Treasure, is an easy-to-watch ski flick that digs into the growing pains, the face shots that never stop, and the characters who live in Revelstoke simply because the powder skiing and terrain are as good as it gets.
The burning question is: Is the skiing around Revelstoke really that good? Consider the trifecta of Revelstoke’s ski assets:
- Snowfall. The snowiest weather station in Canada is on nearby Mount Fidelity where 15 metres (almost 50 feet) of snow fall annually.
- Mechanized access to big terrain including a ski area with the biggest vertical drop in North America, snowcat and helicopter skiing access - including CMH Heli-Skiing Revelstoke, which has a tenure spanning both the Selkirk and Monashee ranges of the Columbia Mountains and programs ranging from beginner-level Powder Intro to connoisseur-style Private Heliskiing.
- The Columbia Mountains are what Greg Hill, a skier who has skied 50,000 vertical feet in a single day and a million vertical feet in a single season without mechanized assistance, calls “unlimited backcountry” with an adrenaline-soaked gleam in his eye.
Throught the film, it doesn’t look like Shaw and his team had much trouble finding good snow to shoot – every ski segment is filmed in arguably perfect powder, and some of them feature just about the deepest powder you’ll ever drool over.
Dan Treadway, a ski legend who has skied everywhere and dreams of retiring in Revelstoke, calls the Revelstoke snow “by far some of the best that North America has to offer.”
The film narrator describes Revelstoke as a town “drenched in ski history and precipitation”. But it's not until you hear Eric Pehota’s story about skiing all day in a heavy snow storm and being unable to find his car in the parking lot afterwards - because it was buried in fresh snow - that you begin to understand the phenomenon of snowfall in the Columbia Mountains.
I downloaded the film, but it is also available on DVD. Either version should come with a disclaimer that reads: Warning, viewing this film could result in your booking a ski trip to Revelstoke.