Smithers, B.C. is where James Fisher founded Paranormal Skis four years ago, and where seven-time Grammy winner and jazz great Alex Cuba live.
Found along the Yellowhead Highway, Smithers may only have 5,000 people but it’s got an impressive cultural scene. That’s what keeps Fisher and Cuba here, and stoked about this place they call home.
Following Cuba’s first Grammy win in 2010, his social media feeds exploded and the media started calling. He recalls one of the first calls he received was from the CBC. The first question they asked him? ‘With your win, does that mean you are now going to move away from Smithers?’
“It took me by surprise … and I said, ‘I don’t think so because Smithers has given me something that has been recognized tonight so why should I even think of moving away.’”
Cuba has now written six albums within this community surrounded by the mountains. He has no problem finding creative inspiration all around in fact when we caught up with him for this story; he was leaving the next day for Victoria to produce his seventh release.
Though the nature of their work means Fisher and Cuba spend a lot of time on the road, they find it pretty easy getting in and out of town with the Smithers Airport and easy access to B.C.’s highway system.
“I can be out my door and into that mountain environment within minutes,” says Fisher.
“I walk out the door of my shop and can pick you the lines I am going to go hit with the new skis I’ve just created. It’s a great way to stay excited about what I’m doing here.”
Fisher’s find his inspiration for his Paranormal Skis, in the mountains and from the community. It’s right where he wants to be.
“One of the other things is it’s less competitive. People are less interested in being all about those city life goals, and more about doing things for pure love and joy. Everyone's pretty real here,” says Fisher.
Cuba says there are fewer distractions and it’s easier to get things done.
“It’s a place that makes you focus on the really important things in life, making quality time with the people you love and experiencing the so many beautiful places all around here.”
For Fisher, it’s those beautiful winter spaces found on the slopes of Hudson Bay Mountain Resort or the Hankin-Evelyn Backcountry Ski Area that are the testing grounds for his creativity.
Cuba, meanwhile, says a beautiful sight of the alpine glow, a fresh snowfall or the chance to roll in the snow with his kids, helps fuels his inspiration for what could be his next Grammy.
For more about Smithers, visit http://www.tourismsmithers.com.
Call Tourism Smithers at (250) 847-5072
Maybe you’re considering taking the next step and swapping your city life for a slower pace. Visit the Bulkley Valley Economic Development Association website, to find your slice of what they call “business in heaven.” http://bveda.ca
Fly into Smithers via Air Canada and Central Mountain Air with daily non-stop daily service. http://www.smithers.ca/airport/
For all your Travel Northern BC details, the folks from Northern BC Tourism can help make the planning process smooth. http://www.travelnbc.com
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