Think you know Revelstoke? Check out these 10 little known facts about our mountain paradise…
1. Revelstoke was nearly called something else!
In the early days of there being a town here, it was called Farwell. The town was built around the railway and Mr Farwell was the founder of the first settlement here. When Canadian Pacific rail found they had a disagreement over the cost of doing business in Farwell, they started their own town right next to Farwell and named it after Lord Revelstoke. The part of town nearest the highway is still known as Farwell.
2. Revelstoke is a rainforest!
Not only is Revelstoke located in a rainforest, but it’s one of the rarest rainforests in the world! The inland temperate rainforest, and especially the old growth forest around Revelstoke, is a rich eco system of cedar and hemlock trees and hosts a wide variety of animals and plant life. BC is the only place in the world to find this particular type of forest. The mountain caribou makes its home in this type of forest because of the deep snow in the winter and the forests around Revelstoke play a key part in their protection.
Check out the Giant Cedars Boardwalk for a stroll through the heart of the old growth!
3. It was once a ski jumping mecca!
Revelstoke might be famous for its downhill snowsports now, but once upon a time it was the place to be for ski jumping. Ski jumping was a craze brought to Revelstoke by the Norwegians who settled here in the late 1800s and early 1900s. 5 world records were set on the jump before it fell out of use in the 1970s, including a staggering 73m jump by Nels Nelsen in 1925- when ski boots were made of leather, skis were one solid piece of wood, and the bindings held the skis on- whatever happened! Head to the Nels Nelsen historic site and lean into Nels Knickers to get an idea of just how big the jump here was!
4. Revelstoke Mountain Resort has the most skiable vertical in North America!
From top to bottom, Revelstoke Mountain Resort has the most rideable meters in North America, with 1713m to tear down! Ride through alpine bowls to miles (literally) of groomed trails leading to the base – just get some squats in before you go!
5. Our area is home to some amazing wildlife!
We’ve already mentioned the wonderful caribou, but did you know that the Revelstoke area is home to lots of other large mammals including grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, cougars, wolverines, moose, martens, coyotes, lynx, deer and mountain goats?
6. The dam is the most powerful on the Columbia river!
Revelstoke Dam is an imposing sight. And it has some impressive stats too! It’s one of the most powerful dams in BC, standing at a lofty 175m tall with a 155km2 surface area. Take a tour round the visitor centre in the summer to find out all about how the dam works and see the amazing view from the top.
7. Revelstoke is a movie star!
You might recognise us, we’re kind of famous. Revelstoke has become a movie set on numerous occasions- starting out with the 1936 movie “The Silent Barrier”. (Check out the images below of the filming of that movie!)
Since then we’ve appeared on camera lots of other times including Double Jeopardy, Mountain Men and two Hallmark movies, Frozen in Love and Marry Me at Christmas. Not to mention countless ski and snowboard movies, of course.
8. Canada’s most deadly avalanche happened here!
On March 4th 1910, as workers were clearing avalanche debris from the railway lines in Rogers Pass, they were hit by a massive avalanche from the other side of the valley. The slide claimed the lives of 58 men, buried over 400 metres of track and knocked a locomotive and plow upside down.
The avalanche was Canada’s deadliest and the tragedy was the start of the push to navigate Rogers Pass through a series of tunnels and snow sheds, making a safer route through the mountains. Leading to the world class avalanche prevention system we have now, using explosives and infrastructure to ensure the roads are as safe as possible.
9. We’re home to craft brewery of the year 2017!
Revelstoke might be a small town but our beers are big on flavour! Mt Begbie Brewing Co beat off competition from all over Canada to be named the best. Head to their new brewery tasting room to find out why for yourself!
10. You can explore the ruins of an abandoned hotel!
A short walk from the Illecillewaet campground in Glacier National Park are the ruins of the original Glacier House. Once the height of luxury, the hotel was used by tourists who visited to take part in the early 1900s craze for mountaineering. Now there’s nothing left but ruins and a few artefacts (see if you can find the old bathtub). After the 1910 avalanche, the over ground train route through Rogers Pass was closed, which was the start of the decline in Glacier House’s business. Now, there are some great hikes that start near the ruins. Just a kilometre further into the valley you can find the awesome Meeting of the Waters at the end of an easily accessible trail.
Historical images courtesy of Revelstoke Museum and Archives