Despite being rainy and unusually warm, I had a great time in Revelstoke, BC. I first heard about the city a few years ago when I told a close friend of mine (who is an avid snowboarder) that I was going to Whistler. He told me: “Forget Whistler. Go to Revelstoke.”
Revelstoke has been on the map for skiers and snowboarders for decades. Some consider it to be the helicopter skiing capital of the world. But there are only so many people who can afford $1,000+ per day skiing, so it wasn’t until 2007 when the first gondola opened up on Mount Mackenzie that people started calling Revelstoke the next Whistler, the next Jackson Hole, the next Zermatt, and so on.
As both a snowboarder and a real estate developer, this is of course exciting. Everybody wants to be a part of the next big thing and they want to call it before anyone else. That’s how you make money – by being right about things before the masses catch on and/or when everyone else thinks you’re wrong.
But 2007 happens to come before 2008. And 2008 wasn’t a kind year to the real estate community. Revelstoke was no exception.
The condos at the base of the mountain weren’t selling (about half of the ones that did sell were sold to Canadians I was told). Expansion plans to become the largest ski resort in the world were scaled back. And the resort teetered on the brink of bankruptcy. But since then, new ownership has taken over the resort and the sentiment on the ground seems to be that Revelstoke – as a real estate play – is somewhere near the bottom.
But something even more interesting is happening in Revelstoke, beyond just luxury condos at the base of a mountain. And since I was on the disabled list for the second half of my vacation, I had time to explore.
I was fortunate enough to meet a local entrepreneur (who happened to also be from Toronto) and his message to me was clear: Ontario is moving in. Both talent and capital from Ontario are starting to flock to this small mountain town of almost 8,000 full-time residents (it’s technically classified as a city). And from my experience at the bars and restaurants in town, he appears to be right.
Now, you might be thinking these people are just ski bums looking for an excuse to live in a mountain town. But is that such a unique and bad thing? Today’s up and coming generation is looking for lifestyle + career. And so if your city or community can offer both, you have a competitive advantage when it comes to attracting talent.
Revelstoke knows they have the outdoor amenities and the “epic pow”, so now all they need to do is bring the businesses. And that’s exactly what Revelstoke wants to do. If you’re an entrepreneur or business owner, Revelstoke wants you to move there. I’m serious. The vision is to create a sustainable live, work, and play mountain community in the BC interior.
I hope that happens.
Drop me a line if you want to talk mountains and business.