Revelstoke, British Columbia might have North America’s newest and most vertical ski field; but, the town is more than just a winter sports mecca. While everyone else goes up the mountain, you can fill your day with ground-level, local activities.
No cold weather morning should start without coffee from the Stoke Roasted Coffee Company. La Baguette, a French style café, and Sangha, an artsy living room, both offer espresso made with beans from the nearby roasterie.
Before you add anything else to the day’s agenda, wrap up your scarf and wander the few blocks of downtown “Revy”, as the residents call it. Divided between outdoor gear stores, family dinners and specialty boutiques, Revelstoke is a decidedly small town with an international feel. Canadian natives mingle politely with European and American visitors. Untapped by too much tourism – the ski resort is only six years old – this is still the sort of place where a smile is common greeting, and every vehicle stops to let you cross the street.
Learn more about the multicultural history of Revelstoke at the Museum & Archives (Mon. – Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m., $5.00 donation). The highly personal exhibits, photos and relics, donated by generations of residents, document the Scandinavian-influenced ski industry, the expansion of Chinatown, and its 21st century links with Japan.
Across Victoria Avenue, the Revelstoke Railway Museum (Wed.-Sat., 11 a.m.- 4 p.m., $10 adult) explores the region’s rail heritage, through retired engines and exhibitions on the Canadian Pacific railroad. Revelstoke began in the 1880s as an isolated supply center for miners working in the Columbia Mountain Range.
This encroaching landscape inspires a community of artists. The Revelstoke Art Gallery (Tue-Sat, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., donation) showcases local artwork and offers educational art classes in silver jewelry-making, pottery and painting.
If you’re a collector, ArtFirst functions as a downtown gallery and retail store.
Revelstoke also has a strong beer-making past, beginning in 1890 with the opening of its first microbrewery. Now, Mt. Begbie – named for a strict local judiciary, Matthew “Hanging Judge” Begbie – creates a small range of beers based on regional flavors, such as Tall Timber Ale and High Country Kolsch. While tours run Fri.-Sat. (16 people per tour, book ahead), the gift store is open daily.
When the temperature finally begins to seer through your coat, join the skiers and snowboarders at the Revelstoke Aquatic Center (Mon.- Fri. 6:30 a.m.- 9 p.m., Sat.- Sun. 12 p.m.- 8 p.m.). The best place to wind down after a busy day, the Aquatic Center has a 25-foot swimming lane, water slide and lazy river. Its hot pool and steam bath will warm you up just in time for a Canadian poutine dinner.
Visit seerevelstoke.com to find out about specific events in town.