Hudson Bay Mountain

Smithers: the cross-country capital of the north?

Nordic club has BC's highest participation per capita


Jan Hudec, Lake Louise, 2007 Canada
The Buchfink Family Memorial Ski Lodge
DOC POW/SnowSeekers

SMITHERS, BC — It’s fair to say that a lot of snow seekers look for opportunities to “get off the beaten path” in order to find those unique experiences stories are made of. For snow seekers with a nordic bent, head north to Smithers, British Columbia for a some pretty cool discoveries.

Located in the Bulkley Valley of Northern BC, Smithers is home to an incredibly active cross-country skiing community that has over 700 members. 

Given that the town itself is home to just 6,000 people, the Smithers Bulkley Valley Nordic Centre is an amazing success story.

“It’s pretty impressive," said Smithers BV Nordic head coach Chris Werrell. "It's a family thing. Around here people have been nordic skiing for years and now that love of the sport has transferred to their kids. Smithers is a super-outdoorsy town and we have some fantastic facilities.”  

Once you get out there and actually immerse yourself in the Centre’s offerings it’s easy to see why there's such a buzz. 45 km of groomed trails wind through and impressive forest. The trails are tracked and groomed and laid out in a way that allows you to choose between huge sweeping green loops or thigh burning black diamond climbs, and everything in between.  

Smithers cross-country skiing
Follow the white rabbit to some outstanding nordic skiing.
DOC POW/SnowSeekers

Werrell, who recently moved to Smithers after a few years coaching in Kamloops, sees a difference being further north. “Here, you really feel like you're out in the woods. It's a real outdoor experience. Typically, it's a colder snow compared to the Okanagan, which generally means that the waxing is a lot easier. And there's a longer season, opening earlier and lasting longer.” 

The Centre traditionally opens in mid-November and stays wide open until the end of April. “I think this year we might be skiing till June. It’s been such a huge snow year for us.”

Making your way into Smithers is easy, via direct flights into Smithers Regional Airport or a drive along the Yellowhead Highway. No need to travel with your own gear, either, as Smithers has a couple of outdoor sports stores that can get you suited up, including McBike, right on the main drag in town. Peter and his staff are uber knowledgeable about all the winter adventures that await in Smithers, and would be stoked to see you pop in for a visit.

If you're a nordic fan, an adventure to the Smithers Bulkley Valley Nordic Centre will not steer you wrong. Take in some of that northern hospitality, get out on the trails, and leave in finer form.

Smithers also has downhill riding. Take a look!

Go for a different kind of ride. Check out this video to preview the snowmobiling experience in Smithers.


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