Words and photography by Bruno Long
As I watch the rain fall outside my window, I know that freezing levels are also falling and the snow line, which has most people in Revelstoke thinking of deep snow and the return of La Niña, is creeping down towards our steep valley bottom. As most residents look ahead to another winter filled with early-morning trail breaking or lapping the local hill with friends, I myself want to look back at a season that doesn’t get the hype that it deserves.
Revelstoke has always been famous for its enormous snowpack, steep terrain and beautifully spaced tree skiing. It’s what lies underneath this snowpack for nine months of the year that most people have never heard of. Mountain biking has always taken a back seat to winter sports in this area. But this does not mean that the trails in the area are anything less than spectacular. With a history steeped in mining and logging exploration, access to remote areas has always been a part of life in the Columbia Valley. Roads built for industry have evolved into high-alpine access routes and a web of perhaps the most unique singletrack in the world. Spectacular alpine meadows filled with wildflowers bookending dreamy singletrack are the norm here, not the exception. Glaciers envelop the rugged mountains in the distance as you ride past alpine lakes that would have most people thinking of Switzerland or Italy, not British Columbia.
‘Epic’ is a word that is all too often overused in the ‘Dude Bro’ era. I can readily admit to using epic to describe a burger, a football game on television or a cup of coffee. Its meaning has lost some value due to overuse in any number of situations. The alpine trails in Revelstoke actually gain value due to lack of use. The trails stay in pristine shape due to the short season and rarely see the amount of traffic that a normal trail system would see. This, combined with the pristine and isolated beauty, intrinsically increases the perceived value of the trails themselves. If a scientist was to create a mathematical equation to explain all this, the statement would read as follows, E = p*I/C
For the two months or so that the alpine season lasts in the area, locals and tourists alike flock to the trails to catch a glimpse of this magical space before it is once again buried in snow. The images in this photo-essay are all located within a 50-kilometer radius of the Revelstoke town. We are very fortunate to have so many trails close to home. Although the trails range from easy greens, to difficult blacks, to ‘adventure bikeneering’ that may involve a bit of bike pushing, they all share one common thread: Each and every one is truly epic.