This winter was slow in coming, all over BC except in the North, Revelstoke, and Rogers Pass. We took the opportunity to hunt for pow heading to Revelstoke to find the possibilities for skiing in adjacent areas. Obviously a choice is to tour in Rogers Pass. There are also a lot of choices closer to town not just to tour but also inbounds; always it is worthwhile if avalanche hazard ramps up. Town pow touring choices canvassed in this article include Begbie and the Fingers both of which are within 20 minutes of town. Revelstoke Mountain Resort is the go-to choice for resort skiing with some diverse slackcountry options.
Skiing in Rogers Pass off the Asulkan Parking Lot
(Sidenote - First I have to plug a guide book that will be the ski bible for Rogers Pass. It's written by local guru Doug Sproul. His Kickstarter for the guidebook is here - click and help fund it if you want a copy!)
Nice parking lot clearing Parks Canada!
Rogers Pass is the place that most people think of in terms of backcountry touring in Revelstoke and for good reason. The Trans Canada highway through the pass tops out at about 1350m so you can gain cheap elevation quickly. What a road; the highway winds through the heart of the Selkirks; one of the world's astoundingly beautiful mountain ranges.
Unfortunately there are logistical challenges in skiing the Pass. Most of it having to do with the fact that the highway has Winter Closures due to avalanche control. Since a few big storms came through the highway was frequently closed; and even when it was open we were limited in the terrain we could ski due to permit area closures. Parks Canada is also frustratingly slow in updating permit closure information, so if you want to ski at the Pass during storm cycles expect to spend a fair chunk of time waiting for information.
The next day we headed back to Roger Pass to take advantage of more pow. None of the Permitted areas were open so we headed up the Asulkan Valley again to the Practice trees. Lee had to break trail all the way!
On our first day of skiing we were joined by Douglas Sproul who created an epic Rogers Pass Online Guide Book via Geobackcountry. You can purchase this as an online PDF or as a mobile app. A review of this guidebook is here in two parts - part 1 and part 2. When most of the permit areas are closed you can still ski in the Asulkan or Illecillewaet drainage; a 45 minute drive from Revelstoke. Parks Canada is responsible for this lot, but their snow-clearing is haphazard (where do those Park fees go?). There are some RV's that spend a few nights here, as well cars parked overnight to access the Wheeler Hut. This can make parking challenging on snowy busy days so get there early!
Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR)
Under the Stoke chair, you can see the Fingers across the Valley
After two days of skiing at Rogers Pass and with concerns about deteriorating stability from yet another oncoming storm we opted for a rest day skiing at Revelstoke Mountain Resort . With all the new snow and hopefully most of the weekenders gone, we figured we'd have the resort all to ourself! Unfortunately, no. It was Alberta and Ontario reading week and it seemed like lots of Revy folk had the powder flu so the resort was busy. But we still found some pow.
Getting some pow inbounds!
This is also a good option when avalanche conditions in the backcountry are suspect. One convenient service offered by the town and resort is a Shuttle. Check link for times. Nice to not have to drive and be able to enjoy apres at Macs or dinner at the Rockford. We had a couple runs under the Stoke Chair before heading down the lemming line to the North Bowl, which had great snow but a long ski out. We also had a run on the South side which also had fantastic snow. This mountain is big and I think you need to really get to know it to use your time well and minimize traversing.
Places to stay: Minto Manor
On our first three nights in Revelstoke we stayed at the Minto Manor. Run by Edna Mae, this mansion was built in 1905, and has been a B&B since 2003. Edna Mae creates hearty breakfasts and the Mansion is quiet for a restful sleep. The old Mansion is well heated, comfortable and gets you ready for the next days outing. Since all the bedrooms are on the top floor (3rd) there is minimal noise from people walking around the bottom floors. There is a tv room on the 2nd floor, where breakfast is also served. There is a great ski storage room with boot heaters on the lower floor just off the parking lot.
Places to Eat
We can also highly recommend the Rockford Grill at RMR as a fine place to get food. It had a pretty wide selection of dining and drinks and lots of space to stretch out (good if you have ski boots).
Written by Sharon and Lee
Rogers Pass Useful Links
(from Geobackcountry's Rogers Pass North epic guide - thanks to Doug Sproule for permission to reproduce)
- Parks Canada (Revelstoke Office) (250) 837-7500 - http://www.pc.gc.ca/fra/pn-np/bc/revelstoke.aspx
- Parks Canada (Rogers Pass Office) (250) 814-5202 - http://www.pc.gc.ca/fra/pn-np/bc/glacier.aspx
- Road Conditions (Banff) (403) 762-1450 (Jasper) (780) 852-3311 - http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/ab/banff/visit/rout...
Winter Permit Information
- Winter Permit System explained - http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/bc/glacier/activ/ac...
- Winter Restricted Area status (250) 837-SKIS (7547) - http://www.pc.gc.ca/apps/tcond/cond_e.asp?oPark=1...
Weather, Snowpack and Avalanche
Glacier Park Avalanche Bulletin
- (250) 837 - MTNS (6867) - http://avalanche.pc.gc.ca/bulletin-eng.aspx?m=1&d...
- Weather station/Dataloggers - http://www.avalanche.ca/cac/pre-trip-planning/wea...
- Snow profiles - http://avalancheinfo.net/Parks/Glacier/Profiles/
- North and South Columbia bulletins (250) 837-2141 - http://www.avalanche.ca/cac/bulletins/latest/mona...
- Parks Weather Snowpack and Avalanche Observations - http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/bc/glacier/activ/ac...
- Environment Canada - http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/city/pages/bc-65_m...
- University of Washington Atmospheric Science - http://www.atmos.washington.edu/
- Drive BC road and weather conditions 1-800-550-4997 - www.drivebc.ca/
- Avalanche advisories for BC highways - http://tranbc.ca/avalanche-advisories/
- Home - www.drivebc.ca/
- Revelstoke - http://images.drivebc.ca/bchighwaycam/pub/html/ww...
- Macdonald Snowshed East of Revy - http://images.drivebc.ca/bchighwaycam/pub/html/ww...
- Rogers Pass - http://images.drivebc.ca/bchighwaycam/pub/html/ww...
- Golden - http://images.drivebc.ca/bchighwaycam/pub/html/ww...
- Revelstoke Mountain Resort - www.revelstokemountainresort.com/
- Kicking Horse - www.kickinghorseresort.com/
Maps and Imagery
- Government of BC 1:20,000 geotagged TRIM - http://apps.gov.bc.ca/pub/dmf-viewer/?siteid=5628...
- National Resources Canada geospatial information - http://geobase.ca/geobase/en/
- Geogratis 1:50,000 maps - http://www.geogratis.gc.ca/
- Geogratis map images and data download directory - https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/earth-
sciences/geography/ topographic-information/free- data-geogratis/download- directory-documentation/17215
- Magnetic declination calculator - http://geomag.nrcan.gc.ca/calc/mdcal-eng.php
- NAD 27 to NAD 83 calculation tool - http://www.geod.nrcan.gc.ca/tools-outils/ntv2_e.p...
- Topographic mapping basics - https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/earth-
sciences/geography/ topographic-information/maps/ 10995
- Map Tools - http://www.maptools.org/
- Garmin GPS user guide - http://www8.garmin.com/aboutGPS/manual.html
- BC Peaks KMZ - http://www3.telus.net/mtnclimb/pers/climbing/clim...
- Google Earth (GE) browser - http://www.google.com/earth/index.html
- GE Community - https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!forum/ge...
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