Winter Fun in Revelstoke Story Contest Winners

Editor’s Note:

Here are the three winners of Winter Fun Story Contest sponsored by the Friends of Mount Revelstoke and Glacier and the Revelstoke Museum & Archives.

I Love Winter

By Sol Moorhead

I love winter, in Revelstoke that is. All the glistening snow…It’s just so nice to wake up to on a nice winter morning.  But my dad says ‘shovel shovel shovel,’ that’s all winter is… but he is wrong…

I love making big snow forts! There are so many things to do!

He just forgot how to be a kid because there is mainly work for an adult such as: shovelling, snow blowing and shovelling!

Lately I have been saving up money to get a new snowboard, so I can go snowboarding. I love making snowmen, very big snowmen with huge eyes. I also like having snowball fights with my dad.

I am excited about the torch relay, and the torch coming through Revelstoke, it is so exciting! My favourite sport is snowboarding, Olympic snowboarding to be exact…

I love winter in Revelstoke, it’s so peaceful…

I love to toboggan in a saucer style toboggan down big hills with jumps…

Hey I am looking forward to help my dad finish my snow fort! Neat!

These are the reasons of why I love winter in Revelstoke!

Sol Moorhead

Age 9


Snow Is An ‘S’ Word

By Barbara J. Little

With our infamous snowfalls, Revelstoke winter fun inevitably involves cold, speed, ice and snow – and a hunger for adventure.  If the Inuit have over 200 words for snow, we must have that many and more for our relationship with snow and ice, the fun things we do with it and the pleasure we take.  Interestingly, many of them are ‘S’ words – slide, ski, smile, skate, snowshoe, sled, skins (as for touring), snowflakes, snowball, scenic, slippery, soft, serene, steep and spectacular.

There truly are so many ‘funtastic’ things to do here in winter it would be impossible to mention them all.

Isolated and winter bound, we’ve always been great at making our own fun in Revelstoke, especially as kids.  Long, long ago, when the snow used to fall steady for weeks, it would accumulate between the steeply roofed houses, piling past the windows to merge with the snow on the roofs.

Ignoring mom’s explicit warnings not to, my brothers and I would scramble up onto grandma’s roof and fly all the way down on our bums in one exhilarating breathtaking ride. In our day, that was radical fun, and living on the edge if you knew our mom!

Back then before rotary plows and an army of trucks, snow removal was pushing it into gigantic heaps on corners and empty lots.  We’d spend hours atop those pyramids playing king of the castle, having snowball fights, burrowing deep into snow and flying down on rickety wood sleighs.

Way, way back and long ago in my father’s day, for fun he used to ski tour with friends up to Heather Lodge on Mt. Revelstoke.  The photographs mesmerized me; it looked so otherworldly.  I’d puzzle over the huge Disney-esque mushrooms of snow on the trees, the ski tracks crisscrossing every which way and the smiling girls.  I’d wonder how they got up there, was there electricity, what did they do, isolated in that lovely log structure?

Back then, winter fun was skating, curling, hockey or tobogganing.  But those seeking heart stopping thrills could try ski jumping.  Right near that historical jump on Mt Revelstoke there was also a skookum little ski hill with a rope tow and some challenging terrain.  We boast two generations of excellent skiers who first got their legs and a taste for speed on Mt Revelstoke.  After the park was established, the fun moved to Mt. Mackenzie.

When I moved back in the seventies, I got a few nasty doses of the winter blues and cabin fever when the grey skies lumbered down for weeks, and the roads were too treacherous to travel.  I figured if a person was going to survive here they’d better learn how to get outside and play, or go mad longing for spring.

I learned to ski.  It was a painful experience at the not so tender age of 27, but I hung in and joined the ski patrol, a fun group – we had a blast!  I became totally addicted to the thrill of speeding through the crisp, sunny air, and still can’t get enough of it.

Now, the fun factor of Revelstoke winters has seriously escalated.  Our gorgeous great outdoors is a gigantic playground.  Families can take the kids tobogganing at the base of Mt. Revelstoke.  Evidence of a great deal of fun, goofy snowmen dot the town. The nicely set tracks and the fingers on Mt McPherson lure cross-country and touring skiers alike. With the new light snowshoes, you can traipse off exploring just about anywhere.

We have some of the best sledding terrain in North America and grown up boys and girls with their toys are flooding here to play.  Skiing and snowboarding have exploded too with dozens of heli, cat, and ski touring businesses within an hour’s drive of Revelstoke, or a hop and a skip by helicopter.

Revelstoke Mountain Resort sings a siren song for those wanting easy access to the thrill of the steep and the deep, and I can’t resist it.  The zippy gondola gets me that much closer to heaven.  More days than not, we pop up through the thick fog blanketing the valley into brilliant sunshine, a perfect antidote for the wintertime blues. The 360 degree view from the top takes your breath away.  Pushing off the top? Indescribable.

Flying down Mt Mackenzie at warp speed I find myself grinning.  I’m 10 years old again, playing outside on a Saturday afternoon, no homework and no school for two days. Soon I’m giggling, then hooting and hollering out loud.

I adore skiing – it defies gravity, turns back the clock, puts pink in my cheeks, but my absolute favourite winter fun thing — I confess – is to walk with the dogs.  No matter the weather or my state of mind, when I follow my sure footed friends through the cathedral forests or along the ice crusted river, the first is ignored, and the other is elevated. Always.

Into the snow we gleefully go the dogs and I. They show me things I’d miss. They take me places I’d never go. Their ability to stay in the moment and their Buddha joy in being alive is infectious and humbling.  They make me laugh, they make me play.  I am calmer and grateful for having been out with them.  No machines, no high tech equipment, no expense, no talk, simply a pair of boots and a willingness to follow.

My wish for the future generation coming up hard on our heels, and the adventurers from away seeking all the ‘funtastic’ experiences this spunky town has to offer, is that they keep themselves safe, protect the playground, honour the mountains, and have half as much fun as we all did!


Winter Fun

By Carol Fitchett

We had the best snow when I was a kid.  We couldn’t wait for that first big dump.  The house across the street had a huge yard so all of the snow in the neighbourhood was piled up there.  Sometimes it was a castle but the big kids always took it over.  Sometimes it was a great snow fort with tunnels dug into it. We could only go inside when the conditions were right in case the walls collapsed.  Sometimes it was a great toboggan run when it got steep enough.  We would take sleds and crazy carpets to the top and slide into the street.  Luckily there wasn’t much traffic in those days.

Once when the weather got cold an ice rink appeared in the yard.  The neighbours had been busy clearing and flooding a spot near the great big white house. I don’t remember if I had ever skated before that time but I remember borrowing “boys” skates and went for a whirl.  I thought it was the greatest place.  We had the biggest smiles back then.

We would get our snowsuits on, our boots, our hats, and could hardly stand and wait for Mom to get our long mitts on overtop of our sleeves so snow wouldn’t get in.  Out we would go.  All day, until dinner and grudgingly come in quickly to eat.  Mom was smart. She always put our stuff in the dryer and our boots by the fire while we ate.  It wouldn’t take too long for our gear to dry.  We would still have a couple of hours of play to get in before bed even though it was dark by then.

My little sister and I would climb our “mountains” and pretend we were knights protecting the invisible princess in the snow.  It was always more fun to be the protector than the damsel in distress. We weren’t sissies, we had older brothers. You could practically walk all around the block on top of the snow.  When people walking on the street got too close we would hide in our turrets and would be very quiet.  We would watch them go by hoping they didn’t see us in case they would spoil our fun.  Of course if it was someone we knew, like siblings or neighbours, we would bombard them with snowballs and run as fast as we could in ten pounds of wet gear.  Sometimes they caught us which usually resulted in snow down our backs.

I remember my brother and his friend Bobby thought our toboggan hill wasn’t big enough so they walked up the mountain to the old ski jump with their crazy carpets in tow.  Now there was a hill.  I remember hearing stories about the great ski jumpers of old and would always imagine how great it would have been to try it. Crazy carpets weren’t the best choice though in retrospect.  There were old cables on the hill under the snow which the boys didn’t pay much attention to.  So up they went, got on their carpets and plunged down the hill. You can get a lot of speed on crazy carpets at that grade.  They crashed and burned getting caught up in the cables.  My brother fared well but Bobby broke a limb. There is a road behind Farrell’s trailer court and what is now the train museum that we would try to toboggan on.  Sometimes it was okay but nothing like Mount Revelstoke.  We were a little afraid to go up there after my brothers’ misadventure.

Getting to school on time was always a chore especially with fresh snow.  We would walk on top of the mountains of snow, trying to make it all the way without touching the ground except to cross the streets.  The winter of 1971 was amazing.  I was only in grade 1 and not very tall, but I remember the walls of snow that almost reached the sky, they were so big.  Everywhere you looked it was white.  One day walking home from Farwell I got lost.  I took a turn on Charles thinking it was my road.  The streets all looked the same.  I was beginning to panic because I didn’t recognize the houses and I couldn’t find the big field.  Just as the tears started to fall my brother found me.  Mom had made him look for me because he showed up home alone.  I was only a block away.  After that I counted blocks before turning. We were late a lot.

There were great cedar trees on the top of Farwell hill that hid the “Haunted House” (Holten house) from the sidewalk. Some of the trees are still there.  It was a scary place then. The trees hid the house well so it really added to the effect.  It was well known that there were ghosts there, my brother and his friends told me, so it must be true….  I never saw any ghosts but we were very careful not to go near it just in case.  The snow would fall just nicely in between the cedars so that you could make a path through the trees high above the road.  You could keep one eye out on the house and make your way through the trail until you could see the school down below.  Jumping down and sliding as far as you could to the playground was the challenge.

The house with the big field is still there, though not as big as my memory of it.  The field may not get as much action now that there aren’t as many children in the old neighbourhood these days, but you never know.  Things change.  People move on and new people replace them.  It’s just waiting for a new generation with big imaginations, to get outside, maybe find their way back to that great field of snow, or another like it and enjoy some winter fun.