Friday, February 14, 2020

Family Ski Guide to Revelstoke Mountain Resort, British Columbia

We try to take a road trip to a new ski destination every winter and this year's choice was Revelstoke Mountain Resort in beautiful snowy British Columbia.

We love visiting resorts for the first time where we can discover fresh lines, glades, and powder bowls that are new to us. It's also fun checking out the vibe in a new ski town and we always try to stay slopeside when possible so we can get the full mountain village experience.

Revelstoke Mountain Resort in Southeastern BC is a winter wonderland

We had big hopes for Revelstoke and it did not disappoint. We got the "big mountain experience" we'd heard about and my boys said Revelstoke had the best glades they'd ever skied (a rave review coming from my husband who loves backcountry skiing.)

I spent my two days trying to see how much vertical I could ski, stoked to find out that I had easily skied down 7000+ metres each day! To put that in perspective, if I were in the Himalayas, I would have skied from the top of Mount Everest down to Base Camp twice each day!



Where it all Begins: Planning a Road Trip to Revelstoke 


Revelstoke is located in Southeastern British Columbia, and is a 4.5 to 5 hour drive from Calgary. We found the drive doable for a long weekend by leaving Calgary early afternoon on a Friday. We arrived early enough to have dinner in downtown Revelstoke before driving up to the resort.

We spent three nights in Revelstoke so that we could drive home in the daylight rather than leaving after a long ski day. We drove home Monday morning and stopped in Golden for lunch (1.5 hours from Revelstoke,) stopped again at Lake Louise to skate on the lake and to go for a short cross-country ski, and then stopped in Canmore for an early dinner.

Plan a ski trip to Revelstoke and this could be one of your kids ripping down the mountain

If you want to break your drive up, Golden is only 3 hours from Calgary and you could always add a day of skiing at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.

To create a longer road trip, continue on to Vernon where you can ski at Silver Star Resort (which is just over 2 hours away from Revelstoke.)

Possibilities are endless for creating an epic road trip to Revelstoke. (You could even add on a ski day at Lake Louise on your way to or from Revelstoke.)

Read more on the Tourism Revelstoke website and start planning out your next road trip.


Revelstoke Mountain Resort needs to be one of the stops on your BC winter road trip 


Navigating Revelstoke Mountain Resort / Introduction to the Terrain


Revelstoke Mountain Resort feels like a huge resort when you're visiting for the first time.

Quick stats:
"Revelstoke Mountain Resort boasts North America's greatest vertical at 1,713 metres (5,620 ft) along with an average snowfall of 10.5 metres (34.4 ft).The resort also offers 3,121 acres of fall line skiing, high alpine bowls, renowned gladed terrain and endless groomers."
Ski this run for a top to bottom vertical loss of 1700 metres!

Top 5 (what you need to know:)

  1. There are green beginner-friendly runs off every single chair lift including the gondola at this resort.

  2. All abilities of skiers can make it top to bottom on the "Last Spike" run off the Stoke Chair, skiing all the way down to the village in a descent of 1713 metres!

  3. There are only 3 chairlifts at this resort along with the gondola (which has two stations to get off at)

  4. There are two beginner learning areas with magic carpets and they aren't both at the bottom of the hill! There is one that's right beside the bottom of the gondola in the village, but there's a second learning area located at the mid station on the gondola right beside Revelation Lodge. Use this as your base camp if skiing with little children or beginner skiers.

  5. The gondola starts loading at 8:30am! (and the mountain runs on Pacific time so you'll set your watches back an hour from Alberta time.) 

My husband also wanted to point out that the chairlifts are marked on signs with a gray background color. This does not mean it's a black run! Advanced runs are marked as black, but chairlifts are gray. 

Find a map of the ski resort here to help as you read the rest of this guide. 

Every sign shows directions to the nearest chairlift or gondola station (always shown as a gray color)

Skiing the Lower Mountain from the Gondola Mid Station:

The reality is that most people don't ski the lower mountain unless they are a beginner skier doing laps from Revelation Lodge or you've started at the top of Stoke and you're trying to ski all the way down to the very bottom (at the end of the day.)

Most people carry a backpack and stay up on the mountain throughout the whole day or use Revelation Lodge at the mid station of the gondola as their base camp, storing lunch and gear there. 

This is good news if you want a quiet place to eat lunch though because you'll find peace in abundance if you do ski all the way back to the base (where you'll find a coffee shop, a restaurant, a food truck, and a tavern.) Note there is no cafeteria or day lodge at the base though - this is all found in Revelation Lodge which you'll access via a short gondola ride to the mid station.


Looking down over the valley from the lower mountain 

The appeal of skiing the lower mountain - Families can base themselves out of Revelation Lodge for the day at the gondola mid station where there's a magic carpet and a small beginner learning area. From here, you can do laps of the lower mountain's green and blue runs (all short and quite easy) and ride back up the gondola (great on a cold day.) This means you'll also never have to ride a chairlift, which could be a giant appeal for families with little children.

Easty skiing on the lower mountain at Revelstoke Mountain Resort


Skiing off the top of the Revelation Gondola:

You'll exit the gondola at the mid station, and then get on the upper gondola in order to reach Mackenzie Outpost where you'll find a restaurant with warming hut. This is also where you can veer off for the Stellar or Ripper Chairs to your left, or for the Stoke Chair to your right. 

If your goal is just to ski between the upper station and the mid station, head towards the Stoke Chair on the "Last Spike," a gentle green traverse that winds its way down the entire mountain, and follow that until you come to other runs that you want to try. There is an assortment of blue or black runs that come off the green traverse. Unfortunately if you want a green beginner run, you're stuck with the traverse until you get to "Sunshine" which is another easy traverse.

If you want to have lunch at the Mackenzie Outpost plan to arrive there around 11 am or wait until later in the afternoon. Seating is limited in the small restaurant. The food however is amazing and I had the best chicken burger of my entire life!!!

Alternately, there is a warming hut beside the Outpost if you have your own lunch with you in a backpack. There's also a patio outside the Outpost if it's a sunny warm day. 

The appeal of skiing the mid mountain terrain - I personally loved the grooming on the runs between the upper and lower gondola stations and found the runs to be quite gentle and pleasant to ski. It's also a great place to ski with young children who might not want to ride a chairlift. (And a good option on cold blustery days!)

Mackenzie Outpost at the top of the gondola 


Skiing off the Stellar Chair:

The Stellar Chair is brand new for the 2020 ski season and it's a great addition to the resort. It's a short little chair and everything off it is either green or blue. Beginners will love that they can find easy terrain to ski off the top of the gondola and families will appreciate knowing that they can successfully send the kids down everything off this lift (without worrying about somebody accidentally taking off down a double black.)

To reach the Stellar Chair just head left off the top of the gondola on the bottom of the easy "Big Bend' run. Once you tire of this chair, you can easily head over to the Ripper Chair from the top of Stellar on "Over Easy," another easy green run which connects you to the bottom of "Sally Alley."

The appeal of skiing off Stellar - You'll find short beginner runs with a couple options for blue intermediate practice runs before you move on to the Ripper Chair. 

And lest you think there's nothing for advanced skiers off this chair, there's a fun little run underneath the chairlift that has plenty of opportunities for jumping off small cliffs. My son could have spent all day on this run.

The Stellar Chair is also a Godsend first thing in the morning if you want to head straight to the Ripper Chair without having to ski down from the top of Stoke. There are some great glades off Ripper which would be popular on a powder day. 

There's a super fun run underneath the Stellar chair with lots of opportunities for playing and jumping 


Skiing off the Ripper Chair:

Take the Stellar Chair to access the Ripper Chair or alternately you can ski down from the top of the Stoke Chair. Runs off this chair are shorter than the ones higher up on the mountain and there are some lovely groomed green and blue options here for beginner to intermediate skiers.

Advanced skiers will love skiing the glades off this chair and my boys could have spent hours in the "Powder Monkey Glades." Once you've successfully skied these glades, move on to the "Glades of Glory" on the other side of the chairlift. 

The appeal of skiing off Ripper - Conditions can be blustery at the top of the mountain but are usually much more mild off Ripper. This is a great place to ski when it's snowing heavily, it's windy, or there's flat light on the mountain. We spent a lot of time on Ripper when conditions got stormy off Stoke.

Ripper is also the best option for families who are skiing together, but not all skiing the same runs. You can ride up the chair together and then split up to ski groomed terrain or head down through the glades, always easily meeting up at the bottom of the chair again. If you were to try this off Stoke, it's very easy to overshoot the correct traverse to end up at the bottom of Stoke again (and before you know it, you're too low and heading for the upper gondola station. - ask me how I know this!)

There is skiing for all abilities off the Ripper Chair 


Skiing off the Stoke Chair:

On a bluebird day this is where you'll spend 90% of your time if you're an intermediate to advanced skier. The Separate Reality Bowl was magical with gorgeous frosty trees everywhere. My boys also loved the Tasty Glades which spit you out at the top of the Gnome Zone, a fun pint-sized terrain park.

I spent most of my time bombing down the steep groomed black runs off the top and my highlight for the weekend was skiing "Pitch Black" all the way from the top of Stoke down to the mid station of the gondola. "Snow Rodeo" and "Hot Sauce" were other groomed black runs I loved.

I skied down 7000+ metres each day at Revelstoke Mountain Resort 


The appeal of skiing off Stoke: The views from the top of Stoke are the best on the mountain and you'll find a warming hut here where you can eat your lunch if you have a backpack with you. There's also terrain suitable for all abilities. 

Beginners don't have too many options from the top of Stoke, but there's always the "Last Spike" which gently winds its way down the mountain. Intermediate skiers will enjoy "Critical Path," usually groomed, and then can move up to the groomed black runs. (Check the grooming report each morning to see what's available.) 

Advanced skiers will be in heaven up here with glades and bowls in abundance! You can also drop off the top into the North Bowl, ending up at the top of Ripper. ("Meet the Neighbors" was on my boys' list to try,  but we ran out of time.)

Find the Gnome Zone as you ski down from the Stoke chair

Finally, there are two terrain parks located mid-way down underneath the Stoke chair. If you take the "Last Spike" and "Greenhorn" traverses you'll end up at the top of the big terrain park (orange on the map.) Just beyond is the smaller one for children (purple on the map.)

Note if skiing in a group: it can be really challenging to stay together as a group if you aren't all skiing the same runs. My boys headed off into the Separate Reality Bowl and I was supposed to be taking a groomed run down to meet them at the bottom of the chair. I ended up missing the correct traverse though and before I knew it, I was heading for the gondola mid station. I had to text my husband to let him know that I'd meet up with them again later for lunch. Oops. 

Skiing above the clouds off the top of Stoke 

How to Make the Most of your Time at the Resort


I highly recommend you read the "First Timers Guide" on the Revelstoke Mountain Resort website. It was very helpful for us.

You'll also benefit from reading the "Mountain Guide by Ability" section on the resort site which breaks the mountain down by beginner, intermediate, or advanced to help you choose the perfect runs to focus on for your ski day. This guide was extremely helpful for me planning for our trip.

Finally, check out this useful guide: 9 Tips to Nail Your First Day at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, also located on the resort website.

The early bird gets the fresh powder at Revelstoke (starting at 8:30am!)

Personal suggestions and tips:

  • Mornings at Revelstoke Mountain Resort start early! The gondola starts running at 8:30am (Pacific time) and then each chairlift opens shortly after that (8:45am for Stoke and Stellar, 9:00am for Ripper.)

  • Show up early to get in line for the gondola (by 8:15 at the latest,) or else wait until the initial crowd has headed up the mountain and enjoy a final cup of coffee. This would be the relaxed no line up way to start your day.

Show up early and get first tracks on a powder day 

  • Plan to eat lunch up on the mountain. We loved the Mackenzie Outpost at the top of the gondola and as I mentioned earlier, their burgers are amazing (particularly the chicken burgers!) Alternately there is a cafeteria inside Revelation Lodge at mid station.

  • Take advantage of the warming huts on the mountain. There are warming huts at the top of the gondola, at the top of the Stoke chair, and at the top of the Ripper Chair. Bring a backpack with you and you'll be able to eat snacks or even your lunch inside any of the huts.
The Stoke warming hut is a great spot to have lunch on a chilly day 

  • Know where the bathrooms are. You'll find them at the base (next to La Baguette), inside Revelation Lodge mid mountain, beside the Mackenzie Outpost at the top of the gondola, and at the bottom of the Ripper chair.

  • Check the webcams on the mountain to find out what conditions are like at the top. It can be raining and completely fog-covered at the bottom, but sunny above the clouds at the top.

    "Conditions can change a lot over 5,620 vertical feet and it pays to take a quick look at the webcams, snow report and forecast before loading the gondola. It’s a long way down if you need a warmer layer or chose the wrong lens for your goggles. " - resort website

Gnorm the Gnome! Check the webcam daily to see how much it's snowed overnight 

  • Choose your ski terrain for the conditions and visibility. We spent most of our weekend skiing up high above the clouds because there was zero visibility below the upper gondola station. Meanwhile at the top, it was glorious with great visibility. Other times you'll want to head over to Ripper or ski the lower mountain if it's stormy up top.

    Check out the webcams here. And, you'll be able to follow Gnorm the Gnome as well. He is cleared off every afternoon at 3pm, so check in the morning to see how snow covered he is.

    Want to see Gnorm on the hill? He's located at the top of the Ripper Chair. Go straight as you get off the chair and he's behind the ski patrol hut. 


It was sunny with great visibility off the Stoke chair when we were at the resort

  • You can always download the gondola when the lower mountain is under a thick blanket of clouds or when legs tire out.

  • The après-scene is as stoked here as the skiing! The gondola stops running at 3:00 pm (3:30 by mid-January) and there's plenty of time left in the day for a pint on one of the patios. Read about the various options for village dining here. 

    My goal was to make it to the top of the Stoke chair by 3:00 pm so that I could ski the entire way down the mountain on the "Last Spike," stopping at Revelation Lodge for a drink on my way down. Sadly, I'm going to have to return because I never did make it there. We did stop in at the Rockford Wok, Bar and Grill one afternoon though where they had an après ski poutine special. (Which pairs very well with beer.)

The Mac Food Truck in the Village outside the Mackenzie Common Tavern 

The Village Experience and Slopeside Accommodations


We stayed slopeside at the Sutton Place Hotel, Revelstoke Mountain Resort's only ski in, ski out hotel. 

"The Sutton Place Hotel  is a true ski-in, ski-out luxury condominium style hotel, consisting of 3 buildings connected by an underground heated parking facility, and serviced by a beautifully appointed central lobby. This smoke-free property features 205 condominium hotel units, premium amenities and three on-site dining experiences; Rockford Wok | Bar | Grill, The Mackenzie Common Tavern and La Baguette, located in the village next to the Revelation Gondola, minutes from downtown Revelstoke."

We felt like royalty staying here for three nights and our son is now begging us for an upgrade to his tiny bed at home after spending the weekend sleeping in a king-sized bed! We ate out most of the time we were away for the weekend, but usually we enjoy cooking our own meals on ski weekends to save money (which would be very easy to do in these comfortable condo suites.)

Nothing but comfort in our suite at the Sutton Place Hotel 

We had two separate bedrooms, a comfortable living room with a pull out sofa, and a fully equipped kitchen with a large dining table. Best of all though was the convenience of being right on the ski hill so that we could be in the gondola line by 8:15 each morning without any effort at all.

We loved having several restaurants in the village and enjoyed both a dinner and a breakfast at the  Rockford Wok | Bar | Grill. We also loved the outdoor swimming pool and hot tubs, and spent time there at the end of each ski day. It's always a dream ski vacation for my son when there's an outdoor swimming pool in the hotel.

Outdoor swimming pool and hot tubs at the Sutton Place Hotel at Revelstoke Mountain Resort 

Finally, I loved that there was a comfortable common area/lounge in the lobby where guests got to enjoy complimentary wine and cheese Friday nights, and where there was always fresh coffee and water. 

Expect posh living accommodations when you stay at the Sutton Place Hotel 
Giant bed for a very happy child 

Leaving the Resort: Touring Downtown Revelstoke 


We ate dinner in downtown Revelstoke twice while we were at the resort, visiting both Chubby Funsters and the Taco Club. 

I highly recommend both and would return to each one in a heartbeat. I had the most delicious homemade perogies at Chubby Funsters and I'd return to Revelstoke just to have another margarita at the Taco Club. Both restaurants had children's menus as well which is always appreciated. 

Another restaurant I personally recommend is Nico's Pizzeria which we visited last summer. Their pizza is simply divine!

Find a complete list of dining options here on the Tourism Revelstoke website. 

Gotta try out the local restaurants when visiting a new place!

Exploring Revelstoke away from the Resort 


If you're spending several days in Revelstoke or only plan to ski at the resort for one of your days in town, check out some of these other fun winter options in the area.



Revelstoke is magical in winter 

Additional Resources 


Visit for the skiing and return for the mountain biking! Read my guides to Summer in Revelstoke here:







Disclaimer: Our trip to Revelstoke Mountain Resort was hosted by the resort in partnership with Tourism Revelstoke. As always, all opinions are my own and I wasn't paid beyond the costs associated with the trip. 


Monday, February 10, 2020

TOBE Outerwear Review: Youth Novus Jackets and Bib Snow Pants

My son has lived in his one-piece Novus Mono Suit from TOBE Outerwear for the past couple of years and wow, did we love that suit! We nicknamed the suit "Big Red" and it got to go out and play every time we headed to the ski hill, ventured into the backcountry, or took off for a wild mountain adventure.

Testing out the new TOBE Novus Jackets and Bib Snow Pants

Sadly, children grow, and "Big Red" had to go find a new home this winter. Fortunately, our friends at TOBE Outerwear were happy to work with us for another season or two, this time switching it up with a two-piece snow suit.





Background: Why TOBE Outerwear 


I remember when I first discovered TOBE a few years ago now and how impressed I was when I started doing some research into the company. 

Straight from their website:
"Designed by Vikings in Sweden. Built for backcountry conditions across the world. 
We design gear for a specific purpose - to keep you warm, dry and safe in whatever snowsport you pursue and wherever your adventures lead. 
Our motivation and determination to create the world's most reliable high-performance gear for the backcountry is renewed and intensified every day by the stories and experiences of the people we've had the privilege to protect in seasons past."

We have never been your "average" outdoor family, and when I say we're going skiing, it could mean that we're skiing into a backcountry hut for the weekend or that we're going downhill resort skiing (in -30 C weather.)

It was -35 C this weekend and my son was warm skiing in his TOBE Mono Suit

When I say we're going ice skating, it often means we're skating out into the middle of a wild windy mountain lake. And "come on a winter hike with us" usually means you'd better bring spikes for your boots, plan on getting wet, and dress the kids in their most rugged snow pants that won't get holes in them from bum sliding down a rocky icy path. This is our life, and it's why we need quality clothing like TOBE Outerwear.

You can read more about the TOBE Novus Mono Suit that my son first started out on in this review here: Guaranteed Warmth with TOBE Youth Mono Suits


We fell in love with the TOBE Mono Suit

Moving up to the TOBE Novus Jacket and Bib Snow Pants


While we were sad to let the Mono Suit go, at age 11 my son was definitely ready for a two-piece snow suit (like all the other kids his age wear) and he'd been commenting on how he felt a bit "babyish" in a one-piece suit. I disagreed and thought the indestructible Mono Suit was beyond rad, but it's hard to argue with a tween who wants to look the same as his friends.

We wanted to choose a brightly colored jacket so that we could easily recognize our son on the ski hill but if you choose the "Formula red" color for your child, there is a surprising amount of "dark pink" on the back of the jacket/suit that's not always shown on the website photos. My son was occasionally referred to as my husband's "daughter" while skiing in the red Mono Suit.

My son never really seemed to notice the amount of pink on his Mono Suit, but to be safe, we decided to go with a traditional "blue aster" color for the new Novus jacket along with the dark ink colored bib pants (the only color option for pants.)

Moving up to the TOBE Novus Jacket and Bib Snow Pants


TOBE Novus Jacket Review


I've broken this down into the top questions I know you all want answered: Is it worth the price, is it waterproof, is it windproof, is it durable, and is it warm? The answer is YES to those questions if you're short on time and want to skip ahead.

Outdoor clothing that's waterproof, durable, and warm!

Is it worth the price? I'm going to lose a bunch of you here with this one because the Novus Jacket is $259.99 if you buy it new. Is it worth that much for a ski jacket? Yes.

Consider that many/most families have more than one child and that you should get two years out of the jacket per child as long as you don't buy it too small. Because of the quality of the jacket, you'll easily get 4+ years out of the jacket - and it'll probably still look brand new when you go to sell it. So that's $65.00 per year for a quality winter jacket if it's worn for four seasons. If you have more than two children the price goes down even lower.

If you only have one child, it gets more expensive and you'll have to decide for yourself if you can justify the cost. Fortunately, the resale price for TOBE clothing is high so you should be able to get a decent amount back when you pass the jacket on to another family.

As the saying goes, "you get what you pay for" and that's the case with TOBE clothing. You'll pay for a durable jacket that will keep your child warm in ALL winter conditions, no matter how extreme.

Keep your kids warm in all conditions in a quality TOBE Novus Jacket this winter 


Is it waterproof? My son has been wearing this jacket on all of our resort ski trips, and it was raining at the bottom of the hill on one trip. On all of these trips my son's Novus jacket has never felt wet on the inside and I've never had to dry it out after a day of skiing. Even the outside of the jacket always feels dry to the touch.


Is it windproof? We've primarily used this as a ski jacket at resorts and we all know it gets windy at the top of a mountain. What you might not know is that my son hates wind (vehemently hates it.) He's never complained once about the wind though while wearing his Novus jacket. I'd call that a success.

TOBE makes outerwear you can trust to keep the kids warm and dry on the slopes

Is it durable? So far our Novus jacket has only touched snow and ice, but my son has taken some good wipeouts on his skis and has brushed up against trees in the glades without the jacket so much as showing a mark.

The seams are fully sealed, the jacket is double stitched, and the Aquaguard zipper is strong enough to take a beating. (Myself, I'll pay more just to have a strong zipper.)


Is it warm? We were super curious about this one because the jacket is not insulated. It's a Nylon hard shell jacket and not one of those 3-in-1 type jackets so popular at ski hills. My husband was convinced that it wouldn't be warm enough on the ski hill without layering underneath.

My husband wears a hard shell skiing but also has to wear a separate heavy fleece windproof jacket underneath (sometimes even a light puffy insulated jacket if it's really cold.) - Clearly though he's not wearing a TOBE jacket.

So far, our son has never had to wear anything under his Novus jacket other than his base layer shirt and a light fleece hoodie as a mid layer. Granted we haven't had a -30 C ski day yet, but we have had a backcountry touring day where it was at least -25 and he was toasty warm in the jacket. He's also spent hours outside in the jacket sledding and playing in the snow while it was easily -20, again in complete warmth.

So yes, the jacket is crazy warm and you shouldn't need to add extra layers underneath it beyond your normal base/mid layers. We have yet to pull out a light puffy or insulated coat to add warmth.

It was easily -25 C this weekend and he was toasty warm in his TOBE Novus jacket 


Other factors we like about the Novus Jacket: 


  • It is breathable. My son's fleece hoodie is never damp underneath, he never appears to have been sweating, and he doesn't complain about being hot. (I know with my own insulated ski jacket I alternate between feeling hot and cold, and definitely feel sweaty when I take it off after a warm ski day.)

  • It has great pockets!! It has two big pockets for stashing snacks on the ski hill and it has a separate card holder pocket for his ski pass at chest height. All pockets have zippers.

  • We love the hood. So far we haven't really used the hood because we're always skiing with the coat, but I could see it being very useful in the rain! The hood provides great coverage and would shelter my son's face from rain, snow, or wind if hiking. The hood is also removable should you choose to take it off.

  • There is Velcro at the cuffs to synch in the sleeves If you want a tighter fit around gloves.

  • We like the bright color contrast of the zipper because it makes the jacket stand out.

  • There is venting at the  collar. If your child pulls the collar all the way up to keep their neck or face warm on a windy day, they will still have air holes to help them breathe easily.

  • Reflective piping


Shopping tips for the Novus Jacket: I'd recommend buying a size larger than your child's age. We got size 140 (age 10) but I fear my son will only fit the jacket for a year. It's sufficiently big now, but it's the perfect fit without much room to grow.


Read more about the TOBE Novus Jacket here from the website.

TOBE makes durable clothing you can trust!

TOBE Novus Bib Pants Review



Are they worth the price? - This is another pricey item at $259.99 if you buy the bib pants brand new. Again, it comes down to getting what you paid for, outfitting your child in quality clothing that can withstand the elements, and knowing you'll never have to fix holes, patch rips, or buy new pants mid-season after they've worn out.

My son wears cheap snow pants from Walmart when he goes to school on cold days and they're fine. They get him to school and back. However, I wouldn't let him wear them on the ski hill where I want to be confident that he'll stay warm and dry all day. Also, are his cheap snow pants waterproof? - No. Could he slide down a rocky trail on his bum without tearing holes in them? - No (which I know for fact.)

I've patched up more pairs of cheap snow pants than I can count over the years. Invest in TOBE gear though and you're buying a pair of snow pants that will survive several years of use, go through multiple children, and still look new.

Quality bib snow pants that will last years of use!


Are they waterproof? Yes! My son has been wearing these pants on all of our ski days and his base layers underneath are never damp. I can't say the same for his school snow pants which are always soaked when we take them off - even after light skating or walking.

I've never even had to dry the TOBE bib pants out after a heavy day of skiing deep powder, sledding, or playing in backcountry snow banks. They honestly never feel wet to the touch, inside or on the outside.

Think of an indestructible shell that repels all moisture and that's what you're getting.


Are they windproof? We've had no complaints here. Nothing gets through these pants! Not snow, not wind, not moisture... Nothing.

You can spend the whole day outside and TOBE gear never feels wet to the touch


Are they durable? I'd cringe every time my son would slide down a rocky trail on his bum while wearing his TOBE Mono Suit, always fearing holes, but it never happened. The one-piece suits and the bib pants are both made with the same durable rugged fabric. Your child is virtually indestructible in these pants and you might as well be giving him or her a super suit.

As with the jacket, the seams are fully sealed, the zippers are strong, and the fabric is double stitched for rugged use.


Are they warm? My son wears a thin pair of long underwear bottoms along with a pair of fleece pants underneath his TOBE bib pants. He's never complained about his legs being cold. We had some very chilly ski days while wearing the one-piece suit, and his legs were always warm (down to -35C or colder.) The bib pants are constructed to be equally warm.

As with the jacket, the pants are not insulated but most children will be wearing layers underneath the pants so this should never be a problem. There is fleece padding in the seat area.


Ski resort to backcountry trails, your child won't be cold in TOBE clothing 


Other factors we like about the bib pants:


  • These are bib snow pants with great coverage. If you're out cross-country skiing or hiking on a warm day, your child could take off their jacket, and still have a good portion of their chest covered thanks to these bib pants.

    They offer amazing coverage and protection from the elements and no snow is going to get  between the pants and the jacket.  (There is no pant/jacket gap.)

  • The pants fit large to allow for more than one season of use. Note that even though they fit large, they never seem to drag on the ground. They're just baggy with loose suspenders that will grow with my child.

  • You can easily layer under the pants. If you're looking for a slim fit pair of snow pants, this is not it. These pants are nice and baggy so your child can move around, play in the snow, get up after falling down, and layer underneath.

    On a warm day you could easily have a hoodie underneath the suspenders without a jacket overtop and it would fit with comfort.

  • The pants have two large pockets for stashing snacks on the ski hill.

  • Reinforced knees!!! Every parent knows this one is important because it's impossible to keep kids off the ground. It's also important when ice skating so you don't get holes in the knees.

  • Reinforced boot bands. I bought a new pair of snow pants for myself and they are already showing wear and tear around the boot band from walking to and from the ski hill from the parking lot. Meanwhile, my son's TOBE bib pants still look like new.

    I appreciated the heavy duty construction of the one-piece suit as well for this reason. The pant legs never look beaten up, torn, or ragged where they brush against the ground.

  • Reflective piping on the legs. 

The TOBE Bib snow pants are very comfortable for all winter sports


Shopping tips for the Novus Bib pants: These pants fit large. We got size 140 (age 10) and my son will easily get two years out of them. They're quite baggy now and the suspenders are a bit loose.


Read more about the TOBE Novus Bib Pants here from the website.

Toasty warm in the backcountry in TOBE Bib Snow Pants 

Overall Recommendation 


I realize that a $500.00 snow suit will not be in the budget for every family out there. The average child can most definitely survive winter as well with a more affordable clothing option. That being said, we loved our TOBE Mono Suit and we are seeing the same great quality with the Novus jacket and bib pants. 

Winter outings are stressful enough without having to worry about cold children who feel grumpy and miserable because they aren't comfortable. We are confident that we can take our son anywhere this winter, in any conditions, in any temperature - and that he'll be warm. 

Investing in quality winter clothing is something you'll never regret and it definitely makes for easier days on the ski hill, in the backcountry, or out on snowy trails. 

We'll always have challenges when we head outside, but warmth won't be one of them. Comfort has been secured and guaranteed for us this winter.

Comfort and warmth guaranteed this winter with TOBE outerwear 

Disclaimer: My son was given a TOBE Novus Jacket and pair of Bib Pants for this review. As always, all opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any other way.  



Sunday, January 05, 2020

2020 Campsite Reservation Guide for Alberta and BC

It's January and it's time to start booking national park campsites across Canada for the entire summer season!

It's January and it's time to start booking campsites for the summer

Provincial parks still give you a little more time to plan out your summer, but you'll want to be organized so you don't miss the dates for making reservations. (Competition for May long weekend reservations is especially high!)


National Park Reservations 


National Park campsites can be booked online for the entire 2020 camping season beginning in January.

There is no 90 day window. Book a site for any month this upcoming season in January. This includes comfort camping sites as well.

Below is the reservation launch schedule for national parks near Calgary:

Banff National Park - Wednesday, January 8th, 8am! (and backcountry campground reservations can be made as of January 23rd at 8am.)


Jasper National Park - Tuesday, January 7th, 8am! (and backcountry campground reservations can be made as of January 22nd, also at 8am!)


Waterton Lakes National Park - Thursday, January 9th, 8am!


Kootenay National Park, BC  - Thursday, January 9th, 8am! (and backcountry campground reservations can be made as of January 24th at 8am.)


Yoho National Park, BC - Thursday, January 10th, 8am!  (and backcountry campground reservations can be made as of January 23rd at 8am.)


NEW FOR 2020: Glacier National Park, BC - Reservation launch coming in May 2020.


NEW FOR 2020: Mount Revelstoke National Park, BC - Parks Canada will be opening a brand new campground - Reservation launch coming in May 2020.


NEW FOR 2020: Campsites at Lake O'Hara can be reserved online for the entire summer season as well starting on January 24th at 8am.


*Note that reserving spots on the bus to Lake O'Hara for just a day has gone to a lottery system. (More on this below.)


**All times are in MST.


For full information on reservations in all parks, visit the Parks Canada website. You can also visit individual parks from this link to read up on the campgrounds.

Camping at Redstreak in Kootenay National Park 


NEW FOR 2020!


  1. You can now reserve sites in Glacier National Park in the Loop Brook Campground at Rogers Pass. (finally!!) - RESERVATION LAUNCH COMING IN MAY.

  2. Mount Revelstoke National Park is opening a brand new campground! The Snow Forest Campground will be open for reservations and it looks like there'll also be comfort camping in three new MicrOcubes along with backcountry camping available too this season. - RESERVATION LAUNCH COMING IN MAY.

  3. Whistlers Campground in Jasper will continue to be CLOSED for the 2020 season. Book very early if you want to camp in Jasper this summer. Wapiti is a good alternative to Whistlers.

  4. The Crandell Mountain Campground in Waterton remains closed following the Kenow wildfire. The Townsite Campground is the only one that will be open for 2020.

  5. Backcountry Campsites at Lake O'Hara in Yoho National Park can be reserved online this year. Finally, you don't have to wait on hold for hours to book sites for Lake O'Hara this year. You can reserve a site for anytime over the entire summer season starting on January 24th at 8am.

  6. Day Use Bus Spots for Lake O'Hara can be booked through a lottery system this season. It used to be near impossible to get a bus spot to access Lake O'Hara for a day hike. This year, at least some lucky people will get spots. Visitors will have a one-month period from February 1 – 29, 2020, to submit an application online through the Parks Canada Reservation Service. Visit the link above for more information.
Camp in Mount Revelstoke National Park's brand new campground for 2020!

Tips for Getting the Site you Want!


  • You will want to book campsites the day that the reservation system opens for each park and at 8am sharp if planning on camping on weekends during the summer season. There will be more flexibility if camping mid-week or in the spring/fall months.

  • Be on the computer, logged in, and ready to go for 8am sharp!! Know which site you want and have it already up on your screen so that you can click on it at exactly 8am. (and if you prefer to book by phone, that is an option too.)

  • Tag team with friends to get sites you really want (especially if you are looking for sites side by side.)

    Make sure you exchange all booking info. with your friends ahead of time because you can't hold more than one permit in your name for the same date/campground. If booking for friends, you'll want their full name and address. You'll also want to know the size of their trailer or tent along with how many people they will have on their site. (And if you are booking for friends who haven't committed yet, you can change the name on a campsite permit before you show up.)

  • Have your payment information handy. And know that you can't book more than three sites at a time. If you need to make separate bookings on the same day for different campgrounds, you'll want to have multiple tabs open on your computer and you will have to pay for the first campground before switching to the second one.

  • There are still several first come first serve campgrounds in the national parks if you don't get a site.

  • Consider private campgrounds if you can't get into a national park campground or choose provincial park campgrounds just outside the national park.

    For example, in Waterton, you can camp at nearby Beauvais Lake Provincial Park. For Banff, we like camping outside the park gates at the Bow Valley  Campground. There are many private campgrounds in the Radium Hot Springs area if you can't get into Redstreak as well.

  • Make sure there is a fire pit on the site that you are reserving. Some sites in Banff and Jasper do not allow fires.

AND THIS IS THE WEBSITE WHERE YOU MAKE YOUR RESERVATION: Parks Reservation Service Website 


The Bow Valley Campground is an excellent choice near Banff National Park 


Alberta Provincial Park Reservations


Reservations in past years have gone live in February for the upcoming camping season. Alberta Parks is still confirming this for 2020. For now, exact dates are still TBD and they will be posted online, on social media and emailed out to all opted in Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca account users once they have been informed.

Before you get too excited (or worried though,) you can only book up to 90 days in advance of your departure date. This means if you want to camp in April or May, or over the May long weekend, you can usually book sites in February. Otherwise, plan your tentative trip by counting back 90 days, and marking the reservation date for that trip on your calendar.

Note that for the May long weekend, there are specific booking times for each provincial park to ensure that the website doesn't crash. (and yes, that has happened before!) Follow this link for a full list of times for each park as soon as Alberta Parks has the schedule published.

Once May long weekend reservations have been made and the reservation system is officially open, reservations always start at 9am for each 90 day window. This includes group and comfort camping reservations.

All times are in local Alberta time.


Camping in Alberta's Provincial Parks (Photo: Beauvais Lake, Southern AB)

Special Dates: (to be added for 2020 soon)



May Long Weekend Camping - was February 19th for 2019

Group Camping - was February 4th for the entire 2019 season. No 90 day window

Comfort Camping - was February 11th for the entire 2019 season. No 90 day window

Backcountry Camping  - was February 25th for the 2019 season with a 90 day booking window

All reservations can be made online.

Group camping at Twin Lakes, Crimson Lake Provincial Park


Special Tips:


  • Follow many of the same tips as per national park bookings above. Be religious about logging in before 9am and at having your site up on your computer screen ready to be booked. Tag team with friends (especially for group bookings) and pay very close attention to those 90 day windows!

  • Make sure everything is in your calendar with reminders! I even put reminders beside my computer, my coffee pot, and my bed the night before making a campsite reservation so that I don't accidentally forget.

  • If you don't get the site that you want, there are plenty of first come first serve campgrounds. Many campgrounds also have a small number of  FCFS campsites. A Full List of FCFS Campgrounds can be found here.

  • Consider booking a group site if you have at least 5 families coming with you. You'll get your own private campground or group area and will have lots of room for the kids to run around and play.

    Note that most group sites do not have power or services for RVs so you'll have to either bring generators or camp off the grid as we do. Most group sites can be booked with a payment for 5 units but some require payment for 10 units so make sure you check the details before reserving a site. Full info. on group camping can be found here.

Spring Camping in Dinosaur Provincial Park



 Important Links:

Alberta Parks Online Reservation Information

Comfort Camping in AB Parks  

Backcountry Reservations


AND THIS IS THE WEBSITE WHERE YOU MAKE YOUR RESERVATION: Reservation website 


Peter Lougheed Provincial Park is a beautiful place to camp in Kananaskis 


British Columbia Provincial Park Reservations



BC Parks has eliminated their opening day system and now goes with a rolling system of 4 months for all campground bookings.

Note that this is 4 actual months to the day so you do not need to count back the days as you would with AB Parks.

Beach life at Kokanee Creek Provincial Park, West Kootenays


For full information please visit the Discover Camping Reservation Service.

Other news, changes, and full booking policies can be read about on the BC Parks website here. 

Some provincial parks also offer group camping. Group camping reservations can be made up to 12 months in advance of the arrival date via the Discover Camping reservation service. Information on group camping can be found here.

And follow this link if you would like more information on backcountry camping and reservations.

NOTE RE LONG WEEKENDS: This one screwed me over a couple of years ago. If you want to camp in a BC provincial park over a long weekend, you must make your reservation for all nights of the long weekend.

You can NOT plan to show up on the Saturday (even if in the middle of a road trip where you're traveling outside the normal weekend period.) You must be able to camp in the park Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night of the long weekend, and you must show up on the Friday night! You can not book for Friday, planning to show up on Saturday (or hoping to cancel the Friday later.)


AND THIS IS THE WEBSITE WHERE YOU MAKE YOUR RESERVATION: Discover Camping in BC.


Camping at Surveyor's Lake in Kikomun Creek Provincial Park


Backcountry Huts and Wilderness Hostel Reservations


The Alpine Club of Canada backcountry huts and cabins can be booked a full year in advance.

Dorm rooms or private rooms in Hostelling International wilderness hostels can also be booked a year in advance.

This means that if you haven't booked anything for this upcoming summer, it might be too late. It is not too late however to start figuring out your winter plans for 2020-2021. Mark those dates on your calendar now if planning to book something for Family Day in 2021 for example.

For more information, visit the Alpine Club of Canada website or the Hostelling International website.  

One of the many ACC huts that you can book for your family (photo: Elk Lakes Cabin, BC)

Other Suggested Reading 


Camping Super Guide - This is a quick guide to all of my popular camping stories for easy reference and reading. I add to this page regularly.

Notable stories to check out:

How to Choose a Good Campsite (Family Camping Made Easy) 

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