The History of Skiing on Mount Revelstoke

Mount Revelstoke National Park

Watch our video Flying Without Wings, featuring the amazing history of ski jumping in Mount Revelstoke National Park using six decades of archival footage.

Flying Without Wings


Our winter - Our history - Our national park

This is not a movie about skiing. - This is a movie about flying .

Revelstoke, B.C., Home of one of Canada's oldest ski clubs

Ski train to Revelstoke 1939

7 Decades of ski jumping on Mount Revelstoke

The only ski jump in Canada where world records were set

5000 spectators in a town of 3000

Nicknames 'Suicide Hill'

John McInnes

Bob Lymburne

1932 Winter Olympics

Isabel Coursier

Hans Gunnerson

Ivind Nelsen

Nels Nelse, Bold, Daring

5 time world champion Nels Nelsen ((far right) 1920

"what good is a town without a ski jump." - Nels Nelsen

Revelstoke's Wrold Records

Nels Nelsen. 1916 - 183 ft, 1920 185 ft, 1921 - 201 ft, 1923 - 202 ft, 1925 - 240 ft.

Ivind Nelsen 1921 - 133 ft, Isabel Coursier 1923 - 85 ft, Bob Lymburne 1933 - 287 ft.

Visit the Nels Nelsen historic ski jump on Mount Revelstoke National Park

Of courrse during the Depression there was no money, no toys or anything else, so my brothers, who were quite smart, made molds.

And Irvind said "Whatever happened to all of Nels' cups?" They melted them down and made army soldiers out of them.

Bee-bee bullets…sinkers for fishing…silver pellets for our slingshots

The End

Filmed in Revelstoke, British Columbia between 1915 & 1974

Did you know?

On February 15, 2016, ski jumping at Mount Revelstoke was named an event of national historical significance!

The Mount Revelstoke Ski Hill site, northeast of Revelstoke and just within Mount Revelstoke National Park, has a history as old as the settlement itself. A local miner introduced "Norwegian Snowshoes" to Revelstoke as early as 1892 and the first ski club was organized the next year.

Skiing developed simultaneously in eastern and western Canada, but from the same source: Norway. Skiing in North America was closely associated with Nordic immigrants who farmed, logged and mined. They formed ski clubs wherever they settled and organized nordic competitions which attracted huge crowds from the very beginning. The Revelstoke ski club was reorganized in 1914 by Sigurd Halverson and Nels Nelsen (world record holder and member of BC Sports Hall of Fame), the same year Mount Revelstoke National Park was established.

Nels Nelsen jumping at Revelstoke
In February 1916, Nels Nelsen broke the world record by jumping 183 feet on the Revelstoke ski jump
© Revelstoke Museum and Archives / Barton / 1916

Today ski jumping is a spectator sport and few ski hills maintain a jump. But in the earliest years of skiing, jumping was the main emphasis of the sport. From 1915 to the late 1960s, annual ski jumping competitions were held on Mount Revelstoke -- the longest period of any Canadian ski jumping venue. Revelstoke's was the biggest natural ski jump hill in Canada and internationally recognized as one of the best in North America. The length and natural grade of its 600 m hill made possible jumps of over 60 metres -- the longest in Canada. It was also the only hill in Canada where world ski jumping records were set, in 1916, 1921, 1925, 1932 and 1933.

Beginning in the 1930s, the emphasis began to shift to downhill and slalom skiing, but jumping continued as a spectator sport. As late as the early 1960s, the Revelstoke Ski Club and the park improved the jumping facilities, including building the judges' tower that still stands today. The last competition in the park was held in 1971 -- 56 years after the first one. The Mount Revelstoke Ski Hill had closed two years earlier, in favour of a new commercial development outside of park boundaries.

Arnfinn Bergman, 1947
Arnfinn Bergmann airborne over Revelstoke, 1947
© Revelstoke Museum and Archives / 1947
Revelstoke ski jump in the 1950's
Revelstoke ski jump, 1950s
© Revelstoke Museum and Archives

The Nels Nelsen Historic Area at the base of Mount Revelstoke allows you to explore this area. The old ski runs are slowly growing in, but the judges' tower is a prominent local landmark. Revelstoke is still a centre for skiing activity: the Columbia Mountains' tremendous snowfalls and spectacular runs provide ski touring opportunities second to none in the world. For more information on ski touring in our national parks, check our Ski Touring page.

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