Stranded in Revelstoke — one woman’s account

Throughout the hustle and bustle of the holiday season I’ve encountered many rude and stressed-out people but my faith in humanity was re-stored Saturday as we were stranded in Revelstoke due to a two-vehicle crash on Highway 1 that sent two to the morgue and left thousands of travelers stranded.

We were one of those vehicles travelling home after spending a lovely Christmas with our extended family at Fairmont Resort. Suddenly traffic was brought to a halt and we sat still for 2 hours, snickering as fellow travelers snuck into the bushes to go to the bathroom, while others got out of their vehicles to converse and share news.

We were sickened to learn that it was a fatal car crash but waited patiently for the accident to clear. After several hours we were advised to turn around, that the road would not be re-opening for another 7 hours. As there was no other way home we started our frantic search for accommodations. There are only 17 hotels in Revelstoke and about an equal number of B&B’s, but they had already been snapped up which left us wondering where to spend the night.

My nephew came up with the ingenious idea to post an ad on the Stoke List, which is Revelstoke’s equivalent of Craigslist or Kijiji. Within an hour we received half a dozen responses from locals willing to open up their doors to complete strangers! Some of them had family members away for Christmas and were willing to give us their beds, while others had a combination of couches, foamies and beds that could make us comfortable. One fellow was heading out for the night but was even willing to open up his home to our family!

As we sat in a jam-packed Denny’s that afternoon with our five family members sharing news with many of the other stranded travelers I was overwhelmed with the generosity of these local residents who would open their homes to complete strangers. I’ve never experienced anything like it. We ended up staying with a lovely couple, who not only provided us with comfortable beds, a hot tub and an Xbox for my son to play on, but also served us food and drinks and offered an enjoyable evening of conversation. We later learned that the local Chamber of Commerce took names and found accommodations in Revelstoke homes for many others in our position and a local church housed many stranded travelers.

Talk about a great way to experience the true meaning of Christmas!

Thank you Revelstoke!

Trish Smith
Nanaimo, BC