Revelstoke Mountain Resort continues to grow but still has room to get even bigger, general manager Rob Elliott told council last Tuesday.
“We’re the belle of the ball in the resort game,” he said in a presentation to council. “We’re young and raw but we’re still an attraction.”
Elliott’s presentation was part of an effort to improve communications between the city and the resort. The two sides have butted heads in recent years, mostly over construction issues.
Elliott’s report focused mostly on mountain operations, largely ignoring the real estate side and the issues between the city and Northlands, who owns the ski hill.
The resort recorded it’s 1,000,000th skier visit in December and approached 200,000 for the season. Season pass sales remained steady at about 3,000 — Elliott figures that market is saturated — but there was significant growth in day ticket sales last year.
As well, the retail, snow school and rental departments saw revenue increases, as did food and beverage, which was put under management of Northland Properties’ Moxie’s group.
“They facilitated growth in the numbers,” said Elliott. “They livened it up a bit. They provided music in the plaza. The energy level was brought up.”
For summer operations, opening the gondola and serving brunch at the mid-mountain lodge has doubled occupancy at the Sutton Place Hotel. The number of people eating brunch has tripled this summer.
A trail from the hotel to mid-mountain has proven popular and the resort has money from the tourism infrastructure fund to build trails around Williamson Lake.
“We’re trying to get to a four-season resort status and the gondola is a part of it,” said Elliott. “What it did is show we can start drawing summer traffic.”
For the coming winter, the resort is focusing on glading in the Ripper Area and in the Tally Ho glades. There are also plans to expand the cat skiing terrain by extending the cat ski road along Kokanee Ridge. In more long-term plans, the resort is considering a boundary expansion to include the Elephant’s Trunk, which is located to the looker’s left of the gondola.
At the base, the retail store is doubling in size and will add services like ski boot sales and fittings; and the Revelstoke Outdoor Centre is moving into a new space. The small parking lot is being re-designed to increase capacity and a new bus drop-off area is being added.
Elliott said the resort is working on cleaning up the construction yard around the old Mount Mackenzie Playhouse.
The one area he did acknowledge the resort was struggling was in real estate sales, which have been almost non-existent for five years.
“The only way Revelstoke real estate is going to sell at those levels is if it’s sold on lifestyle,” he said. “I think it’s a community effort. The resort is a part of it. It’s the bike trails, the Nordic trails, the museums. It’s a bit of a mantra I’m trying to sell corporately and I’m also trying sell community wide as well.”