Amid the grief and anger you can hear today in the voices of some people living in this mountain resort town, a surprisingly different conversation is also taking place.
"Look," says Richard Jack of Cold Lake, Alta. "I've ridden the mountains here when the risk of an avalanche was high to extreme many times. You have to be aware. But what happened on the weekend was an act of God - an act of nature. And you have to accept it as that." His friend Jason Duperreault, of Prince Albert, Sask., interjects.
"Pretty much any time you go into the back country, you're taking a risk. And you accept those risks every time you do. You have to be smart. But what happened isn't going to stop me from going up there today, tomorrow, the next day."
Mr. Jack and Mr. Duperreault were both at nearby Boulder Mountain on Saturday when an avalanche struck, killing two snowmobilers and injuring 30 others. They were among the first on the scene to rescue dozens trapped beneath the snow. It's generally accepted now that the quick reaction of first-responders like Mr. Jack and Mr. Duperreault, among many others, prevented more deaths.
The accident took place during a non-sanctioned snowmobile event known as The Big Iron Shootout, in which participants try to ride as far up the mountain as possible. Except on this day, the risk of an avalanche was high, which has led to questions about why the event was allowed to take place and whether the participants, and those who gathered to watch, bear as much responsibility for what happened as the organizer.
But according to many people in town, the Shootout is nothing more than a loosely structured outdoor snowmobile party. And versions of it take place almost every weekend in the mountains around here - they just don't have a fancy name. And they don't attract the 200 or so snowmobilers who turned out at Boulder on Saturday. But groups of 40 to 60 aren't uncommon.
This is why sledders and others - while acknowledging that the loss of lives is a tragedy and accepting that the incident could have been a whole lot worse - are trying their best to place it in some perspective. This is a town, after all, that counts on millions in tourism dollars from snowmobiling every year.
"You can't legislate against stupidity," said Alan Mason, director of community economic development for the local chamber of commerce. "I think that's what happened here. But I don't think many in town, certainly, will say anything bad about snowmobilers generally. Their business is just too important.
"As I say, we're probably talking anywhere from $7-to $8-million a year in business and in a town this size, that's not insignificant."
Steve Bender is a member of the Revelstoke city council and its liaison with the local snowmobiling community. He compares extreme snowmobiling to other extreme sports like cliff diving or surfing.
He's not even sure that what happened on the weekend is a poor advertisement for a community that relies on people arriving by the thousands to motor up its mountains.
"On the surface, it may look like bad publicity," he says. "It's a tragedy what happened, no question. But when you think of the average adrenalin junkie, is it bad publicity for them? I don't know if it is."
Regardless, Mr. Bender believes the matter will ignite a debate in Revelstoke about what, if anything, should be done. Many questions, ethical and otherwise, need to be talked through as well.
Who, if anyone, is responsible for what happened? The organizers of the Shootout, whoever he or they may be? No prizes were handed out. This wasn't some competition that was part of a snowmobiling circuit.
What about the riders who climbed the mountain and likely triggered the slide? Are they more culpable than the spectators who were injured - all highly experienced snowmobilers in their own right? They knew the risks. Shouldn't they be responsible for their actions? And besides, isn't it true that the government can no more stop snowmobilers from going places they shouldn't than it can prevent snowboarders from going out of bounds?
Beyond the questions, though, is the reality that a lot of people up here share the view expressed by Mr. Jack and Mr. Duperreault - that there has been a massive overreaction to what happened.
That is not to diminish the loss of lives, they quickly add. But snowmobiling in the outback has always been about managing risk, they say, and always will be. People who do it are no different, said Mr. Duperreault, than others who sign up for dangerous situations.
"Why do people volunteer to be on the front lines in Afghanistan?" he asked.
Mr. Jack said he witnessed slides on Boulder before, though never one that went down the mountain as far as it did on Saturday. That was likely once in a lifetime. But as far as the slide itself, he said: "It's a tragedy that can happen any day, anywhere, any time."
There will be snowmobilers back up on Boulder as soon as they're able to go there, both say. And they'll be among them.
"It gets in your blood," said Mr. Duperreault. "And after a while you just want more of it and more of it. It's a rush. What can I say?"