Skip to content

Canada’s Ultimate Challenge takes on Revelstoke

Canada’s Ultimate Challenge airs on Sundays and can be found on CBC Gem

Two B.C. residents used both brain and brawn when they competed in Canada’s Ultimate Challenge.

The first episode, of the second season, premiered on April 28, on the CBC Gem streaming service. The contestants competed in teams of four in obstacle challenges and travelled to Newfoundland, Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

“We scoured the country to find the toughest, most competitive, and compelling cast for season two,” said Erin Brock, EP and senior vice president, of Insight Productions, in a press release.

Starting in St. John’s, Nfld., contestants made their way across the country, with two stops in British Columbia, Revelstoke and Vancouver Island.

During the Revelstoke episode, all four teams squared off on top of Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s Revelation Gondola for a gondola-to-gondola rescue challenge, followed by an elimination challenge between two teams on Lake Revelstoke.

Host Brandon Gonez said coming to B.C. was like a homecoming for him as he previously worked in Smithers and Terrace.

Gonez who isn’t fond of heights said as he was ascending the mountain, “I was getting nauseous and all I could think about is this challenge is going to throw these competitors for a loop.”

During the challenge, three team members from each of the four teams participated in a challenge where one teammate dangled from the gondola tower, while the other teammates rescued them. To rescue the teammate, competitors had to climb a rope to reach a support tower, then tip-toe across a cable to connect their gondolas with a wooden plank and then hoist their other teammate by rope together. After the rescued teammate reached the tower, all three teammates were forced to free fall to the ground, where they then raced to hit the buzzer.

Despite his stomach still settling from his fear of heights, Gonez was able to appreciate the view and celebrate his 30th birthday by popping champagne at the top of the Revelation Gondola.

“Getting to the top of that mountain is like nothing I’ve seen before,” said Gonez.

Following the gondola-to-gondola rescue challenge, two teams faced off on Lake Revelstoke where their canoes were tethered together.

The teams had to dig deep and paddle hard as they worked together to push their opponents into a boundary formed by pontoons, known as the battle edge. The winner of this challenge competed in the Vancouver Island finale.

Contestant, Courtney Copac-Hopkins, a Sḵwx̱wú7mesh education counsellor from Vancouver, said that the show was thrilling, challenging, humbling and fun.


She noted that as an Indigenous person, she was really able to connect with the land across Canada’s diverse landscapes.

“It was amazing to experience the beauty and the lands of Canada,” said Copac-Hopkins.

Copac-Hopkins also noted that in the past, she hid her Indigenous heritage, but now sees the strength in her identity and the strength in vulnerability.

“It’s taken me a while to honour all parts of me, but now I know who I am and where I come from, it’s a superpower of mine,” said Copac-Hopkins.

Her journey of self-discovery has left her deeply proud of her ancestry. While she acknowledges that history is full of pain, she also noted that there is much to be proud of, and this pride is something that she carries with her throughout the game.

“I want to honour the excellence, resilience, pride and beauty in my culture,” said Copac-Hopkins.

The Vancouver resident also came to the competition with an adventurous backpacking background and years of experience as a competitive gymnast which aided her in the very physically demanding challenges.

Fellow B.C. contestant, and wellness coach, Jac Le, who also hails from Vancouver, said she used her power from within to propel her forward in the competition.


“It was the wildest experience of my life, truly a rollercoaster of emotions and events, twists and turns,” said Le.

While Le has a background in fitness training, standing 4’11, she knew that she would have some physical limitations and felt that her mental fortitude would give her an edge over her competitors.

“I know I’m not the fastest, the biggest or the strongest, so I wanted to play to my unique strength, my mindset,” said Le.

Le’s strength has largely come from learning more about herself, and her neurological disorders, ADHD and autism spectrum disorder, which went undiagnosed until the past year.

“I feel like I finally grew into the person that I’ve wanted to be,” said Le.

Having the self-awareness of understanding how her brain works helped Le reach this growth as well as throughout the competition.

Le said that one of the biggest things that she has learned in the past year was being in tune with her mind and body, and better learning how to regulate her emotions.

“My emotions played a huge part in the show because in such a high pressure, chaotic environment…everything was so fast-paced and there were so many heightened emotions that you’ll see a lot of people kind of exploding, but I think I did a good job keeping a cool head and that got me far,” said Le.

While one team was eliminated during their time in Revelstoke, Gonez noted that they all were able to enjoy what the region had to offer and was grateful to celebrate his birthday in the adventurous mountain city.

“I wouldn’t have minded staying a few more days, especially waking up every morning and seeing the mountains like that,” said Gonez.

READ MORE: ‘Going up’: Elevator to be installed at Revelstoke Museum & Archives

About the Author: Lauren McNeil

Read more