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204B 1st Street West
Revelstoke, British Columbia
If newer equals better, then the Nelsen Lodge is top dog. Located at the base of British Columbia's one-year-old Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Nelsen Lodge pegs itself as an eco-boutique lodge. Situated right at the base of the Lower Gondola, which serves an amazing 5,620 vertical feet, the largest in North America and fourth largest in the world, the exterior of the hotel has a contemporary style, with large windows providing excellent views and incorporating native stone towers into the(+) More
If newer equals better, then the Nelsen Lodge is top dog. Located at the base of British Columbia's one-year-old Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Nelsen Lodge pegs itself as an eco-boutique lodge. Situated right at the base of the Lower Gondola, which serves an amazing 5,620 vertical feet, the largest in North America and fourth largest in the world, the exterior of the hotel has a contemporary style, with large windows providing excellent views and incorporating native stone towers into the design. It's the handiwork of famed resort architecture firm Raymond Letkeman and Associates, who came up with the idea for the curved and slanted roofs mimicking a ski jumpa nod to lodge namesake Nels Nelsen, a former ski jumper who founded the Revelstoke Ski Club in 1915. The resort welcomed its first guests in March 2009 as part of a phase-one opening that unveiled 59 new suites; phases two and three are scheduled for completion in late 2009 (56 suites) and sometime in 2010 (the final 111 suites).
Inside, the hotel offers pet-friendly studios in addition to one-, two-, and three-bedroom suites. All come with king-size beds or two queens, iPod docking stations, flat-screens, and gas fireplaces. The bathrooms are cut from granite and quartz and outfitted with rain showerheads and toiletries by Italian designer Acco Kappa. Balconies look out onto the cathedral peaks that have been the prized hunting ground of the area's heli-skiing operations for almost 30 years. Those heli-skiing operations still exist and operate. Selkirk Tangiers flies skiers and snowboarders to half a million acres (no, that's not typo) of surrounding wilderness at the confluence of interior British Columbia's Monashee and Columbia ranges. There's a helipad adjacent to the lodge, and the resort plans to base all heli operations in a "heliplex" building just steps away from the lobby. A cat-skiing operation also exists, and, as opposed to the choppers, it operates in bad weather. Nelsen's building number one already has a large outdoor hot tub, with an indoor/outdoor pool slated for completion with building two. More amenities will come as the hotel expands into phases two and three in coming years.
Indeed, some may argue that the resort is too new. Lifts to expand the terrain out to 6,100 vertical feet are still in the planning stages. Currently, just three lifts and one gondola operate on the mountain, though 21 more lifts are planned, and real-estate and parking are still in the nascent stages. Revelstoke's 3,070 acres is one-third the size of fellow British Columbia giant Whistler-Blackcomb, and early visitors have complained that it's hard to get around. Others say that sleepy Revelstoke, while a longtime haven for backcountry skiers and snowmobile enthusiasts, lacks the flair of glitzy ski resorts in the United States. (Local response: "Exactly, eh?") Still, the region gets a dry, light snowpackleagues different than the heavy coastal fare most skiers associate with British Columbia. Due to its far-north location, the season runs deep into April. And the pointed and craggy Mount Mackenzie and its 400-plus annual inches of snow are natural resources with which most resorts can't compete. So even if the heliplex isn't completed by the time you visit, it's a small price to pay for getting in on the ground floor of skiing's next big thing.
A former senior editor at Skiing magazine, Pieter van Noordennen owns more ski jackets than any man should.(-) Close