Last season was rough for almost all of North America including the Powder Highway. Early indications seem like this season could be a totally different story. As we’ve discussed, so far Revelstoke has been getting hammered with snow. That makes this the perfect time to finish the closing chapter from last years epic journey along the Powder Highway. On this four week adventure, there were stops in Nelson, at Baldface Lodge, Whitewater Ski Resort, Banff and Lake Louise just to name a few.
From Baldface Lodge we continued to head further north. Before hitting the road, a bit of a respite was in order. Lucky for us, the Ainsworth Hot Springs are only a few miles away. This place is unique and different from any other hot springs out there. It overlooks Kootenay Lake and the Purcell Mountains. Like most it has a hot water pool, but the differentiating feature is the pool connects to a cave! Ainsworth is a horseshoe cavern which makes it feel like you are in a sauna and a hot spring at the same time. Purity is also a big part of the experience. Each night the pool is drained and cleaned. Once refilled the minerals in the water rid of all the toxins in your body. It’s like hitting the reset button. That’s not all. Even though it’s in a remote location, the food at the restaurant is good and worth a trip out. Indian cuisine along with other classical choices done right justify the upscale pricing and the experience is one of a kind.
From there we headed deeper into the wilderness. The snow was melting at an indescribable pace all around due to the heavy rain. This normally isn’t seen until late April. Our mood was gloomy at best. The road winded through small towns and massive mountains hugged the road tightly as we continued our journey. Mudslides were seen everywhere and blocked the road in some locations. Fortunately, the Ministry of Transportation was on the job to keep these trails open for commuters like us. Our hope was that this rain translated to snow on top of Revelstoke. Finally, arriving in town at the Alpenrose Bed and Breakfast, this play felt more like home rather than just a place to stay. Frank and Lisa treated us like family and showed us the place. There is a nice hot tub, great place to dry your gear (boot dryer, glove dryer, and a MacGyver built clothes dryer), along with a hearty breakfast to start your day this place was amazing. It was also nice to see after the exhausting journey, the room had one of the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in at a bed and breakfast. This place was awesome!!!
Dreary Weather in the Valley leads to Heaven on Earth
Waking up the next day, the weather still was socked in with dreary clouds and drizzly rain. Our hopes for snow were diminishing. The weather didn’t look to be cooperating so we were not so enthusiastic about the possibility of riding that day. Nevertheless, we slowly trudged up to the ski hill. A few minutes down the road we arrived at the base of Revelstoke. We wanted to see if the Pineapple Express continued to take a toll on the snow base of the resort. With a vertical rise of over 5,600 feet the word was snowg up top. That and a discount lift ticket were enough justification to check it out. Hopping on the gondola we headed up the mountain. The drizzling rain began to slowly transition to sleet until it fully converted to snowfall right before mid-station. Stepping out of the cabin we were transported into a winter wonderland. From glum faces we became ecstatic at what we saw on the horizon. Huge mountains played peeked in and out of the clouds. We weren’t the only takers this day. Exiting the gondola and heading to the lift we were joined by a 1,000 or so friends eagerly standing in line at the Stoke Chair. This was for sure an atypical weather pattern which confined everyone to the upper part of the mountain. It was no big deal though…it was finally time to slay some pow! As we boarded the chair the snow looked fantastic. Once we exited the chairlift we found out it was true. The goods were amazing. Soft snow under our feet and a smile on our faces we began to take slashes. It was denser like maritime snow. Next, we dove into the glades.
The trees were so tall to the point that they made us feel like Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk. We took a moment to stop and gaze at the beauty. The hulking trees loomed over us like goliaths and seemed to sway back and forth even though there wasn’t even a wisp of wind. Being transported from a dreary rain soaked valley to a bright mountain snow scape was like magic. This place was heaven and we were lucky to be there to enjoy it. With darkness arriving it was time to head back down and find sustenance.
Dining and drinking in Revelstoke
Revelstoke similar to Nelson has a TON to offer for food choices even though you are in a remote part of Canada. Here are just a few of the cool places that we found to check out in town:
From humble beginnings to what it is now… it is an amazing story. Sonia, the owner, started by selling bread at the farmer’s market in town and did so well that she could not keep up with demand. From there, she purchased the main location that exists today. Initially it was only for catering and baking but due to popular demand she opened up a storefront at the catering location as well. Now they have two storefronts in the area. One at the Revelstoke resort along with the main store in downtown Revelstoke.
This place has fantastic sandwiches but surprisingly the Gelato is some of the best tasting Gelato in North America.
I know… Gelato in a winter destination? It’s worth a try! Having had it in Italy and all over the world the major key for good Gelato is texture. It should be velvety. It should be silk-like. Their gelato does that. All the Gelato they have is made fresh and the Pistachio has chunks of real pistachios in it! Sure, it’s weird to want Gelato in the winter but why not go to Mt Weird and get some Gelato like the locals do.
That’s not the only thing that they make from scratch. Everything from baking their own bread, to making pastas and creating maple sauce is done fresh including the flavorings in their coffee.
This place seems fit to be in a small town in Japan just as much as in Revelstoke. Walking into the restaurant the first you notice is a private room in front that you need to take off your shoes to enjoy. If that’s not your thing don’t worry you can head further into the main part of the restaurant. We decided to sit at the small bar in front of the sushi chefs Marc and Gabriel. With no idea of what to order these chefs were fantastic guides in our journey of the food that they make. Like a heaven sent angel, Gabriel whispered the words Red Dragon as we looked over the menu. California might be home to great sushi but this place is equal to anything you can get in that region AND the snow is even better.
Where did they learn to make such good sushi? Japan, of course! Spending a few seasons tasting the “Ja-pow” both took it as an opportunity to also learn how to make sushi. Once they returned back from Japan to Canada they were able to get a direct connect to Vancouver to obtain fresh fish and the rest is history. Another signature sushi dish to try is the Rainbow, if you like eel. If you do show up to this spot be sure to let them know Local Freshies sent you.
With a sweet tooth it’s always up to me to find the best bakery in town. For Revelstoke, this is the Modern Bakeshop. A quaint homey bakery on the main street of Revelstoke this place has savory and sweet items that fit everyone’s palette. The most unique pastry on the menu is the caramel implosion. Served warmed with whip cream this is something like a grandmother would make. The texture and consistency of the cake is like a zucchini or banana bread but then upon slicing it the warm caramel oozes out allowing you to dip the cake into its own sauce. Extremely tasty and definitely worth the try.
Finally, every ski town deserves a good bar to celebrate an epic day on the mountain. For Revelstoke, this is the Village Idiot. In fact, they even won the Transworld top 10 best après bar in North America and they deserve it. From the amazing food to their great food selection and ski movies playing on the TVs along with ice hockey how could you go wrong? The bar stools are even made out of re-furbished skis and snowboards to make sure you keep the p-tex as close to the body as possible. Most of all they serve the local micro-brew which is Mt Begbie!
Even with a town of just over seven thousand people Revelstoke offers a town of great dining options, cool bars, affordable places to stay, and finally a ton of gear shops that you will most likely not find anywhere else in the world. Similar to Nelson, Revelstoke is a town that supports local and has not been tainted by corporations… yet. If this place isn’t on your list to visit in the next few years… it should be! We, at Local Freshies will definitely be back to enjoy it.