Revelstoke adventure tourism program targeting fall 2013 start

Start-up funding main barrier for launching program in Fall 2013, program head says.

Thompson River University is targeting fall 2013 for the launch of the adventure tourism program in Revelstoke, the department’s chair says.

“We want to ensure that when and if this gets going, we’d rather delay and do it right rather than press it,” said Gilles Valade, the chair of the Adventure Studies Program.

The program would be run in Revelstoke by TRU and Okanagan College, with the university providing the adventure courses and the college the classroom courses.

The long-rumoured program appears closer to reality, with the biggest hurdle right now being the financing needed to buy the equipment needed for the program.

Alan Mason, the Director of Economic Development for the City of Revelstoke, said funds have been secured from the Economic Opportunity Fund that is administered by the city and the regional district; as well as Columbia Basin Trust, however, that funding is contingent on TRU and Okanagan College also providing some money.

Valade said the funding was both the “first hurdle and a show-stopper at the same time.”

Thompson River University is targeting fall 2013 for the launch of the adventure tourism program in Revelstoke, the department’s chair says.

Mason said he has asked that any money raised be spent locally. “If we’re going to raise the money, we’re going to help the program, it would be nice to spend that money locally.”

Valade said an adventure program in Revelstoke “has a tonne or potential.”

“Revelstoke is one of the best places for an adventure studies program given where it is,” he said.

He said the Revelstoke program would be different from the programs currently on offer and that the Revelstoke brand would be used to promote the program.

The program currently accepts 50 students every year and the number of applicants exceeds it. The program already runs courses in the Revelstoke area, such as advanced ski touring and avalanche training.

Valade said the program hires as many as 200 part-time instructors to teach courses – many of whom are professional guides.

“It is teaching, it’s part of a university program,” he said. “It’s not taking clients out for a tour so we have to make this a training program for future guides and instructors.”

The economic benefit of bringing the program to Revelstoke is estimated at $1 million. The cost to start the program is estimated at about $400,000 – most of which would go for equipment and vehicles.

“That’s probably the most expensive component,” said Valade.