Story and photosy by Bob Barnett
an inauspicious introduction to what is supposed to be another all-season
mountain resort in B.C. There is no one in sight at the base of Revelstoke’s
Mount MacKenzie in the middle of September, and little indication that anyone
is working on the $1 billion development. The end of the gravel road is marked
only by an old Mueller double chair, a weathered barn of a day lodge and a
nothing more to see.
buzz of a chainsaw breaks the silence long enough for someone to buck a log and
a few moments later a gregarious lumbering man in overalls wanders into view.
He is TJ, a lift mechanic — perhaps
lift mechanic, as there is currently only one lift at Mount MacKenzie.
lift, the Mueller double chair, was installed about 1990 he says, after it was
rescued from a Lower Mainland ski area. He unlocks the door to the building
that serves as the cafeteria, equipment rental centre, ticket sales office and
ski patrol quarters. Inside, a map of the development concept plan for the
future Revelstoke Mountain Resort shows 20 lifts servicing 6,500 feet of
vertical terrain and 110 runs. Single-family and condo developments straddle the
road leading up to the base, where the lift and the day lodge now stand.
shows us out and locks the door. Standing in the autumn sunshine surrounded by
the peaks of the Selkirk Mountains, we all agree it’s a beautiful area. And TJ
is optimistic about the future.
glad I got my house before the real estate boom hits,” he says.
there may be a boom in recreational real estate at Revelstoke. Heli-ski and
cat-ski operators have been based in the town for years, including CAT Powder
Skiing, which currently operates on Mount MacKenzie’s upper slopes. There is no
doubt the skiing and boarding can be great.
question is, when will the resort development happen. New runs have been cut in
the trees above the lift, providing new terrain for clients of CAT Powder
Skiing, and a road is being built to the top of the mountain. But the promise
of an all-season resort with 16,000 beds, announced nearly two years ago, seems
a long way off. Speculation about a boom in recreational real estate is a