The biggest event of the sports calendar in Revelstoke is the Snowshoe Snowball Contest held on Valentine’s Day since 1872. This event combines the stamina required to snowshoe 10 kilometers over hilly terrain with the accuracy of a marksman. During the snowshoe, the participants have to knock over 10 bottles of Kootenay beer with 10 snowballs that they make themselves.
The snowballing takes place at 2 kilometer intervals. After 2 kilometers the bottles are 10 meters away from the thrower and the distance increases by 5 meters at every throwing station until the bottles at the finale are 30 meters away. Any bottles of beer that aren’t knocked over by the contestant must instead be drunk. For this reason registered alcoholics aren’t allowed to enter the contest.
This event produces lots of interest and crowd participation. Snowshoers must not throw snowballs at each other at any time otherwise they will be disqualified. Any contestant “taking a rest” face down in the snow for more than a minute is also disqualified.
The event started when fur trappers hunted in the backwoods and walked miles each day in pursuit of the animals. In the evening the trappers drank lots of alcohol to rehydrate themselves.