48 Hours in Smithers, B.C.
You'll feel like you've hit the jackpot in this ski town
Smithers is known for its epic amounts of snow, but what some people might not know is just how darn nice the people are that live here in the town close to Hudson Bay Mountain ski area.
One doesn't outweigh the other; it's definitely a combination of the people and the snow that make this place so special.
As I explored the town, I instantly felt that any passerby would stop to help jump my car battery if the need arose, or give me a lift to the ski hill. And, even reveal their coveted snow stashes.
Arriving in Smithers by train, from Prince George, we were able to shop along the way on the commute into town. The mountains teased every step of the way, and by the time we pulled into the Smither's train station we were more than ready to hit the slopes.
We decided we needed a quick gear prep and wax from the keen crew at Local Supply Co. right in town. Over dinner, we dialled in our ski day plan with tips from friendly locals. Our heads filled with ideas, new locations and endless options, we drifted off to sleep in our slope-side cabin, knowing we'd be on top of Hudson Bay Mountain ski resort before the sun rose.
Peering out the windows of Marmot Cabin, the fire crackled as its warmth kept me cozy after a -20 C commute in the dark to the top of the resort.
Photographer Andrew Stain and filmmaker Marty Clements ran around the cabin with their camera gear as the light painted peaks across the valley before the clouds took over and the snow started.
You could feel the magic of this place as the sun faded and the fat flakes began to fly. The fresh snow called, so we explored Hudson Bay Mountain run by run. Gladed trees held stashes of untouched snow and the lineless T-bars and chairlifts chauffeured us up lap after lap for more Champagne powder. Flawless groomer runs were reserved for playful races and party laps with our crew.
Up for another dose of northern B.C. powder, we started the next day by heading to Skeena Cat Skiing. Operated by a mother and son team, it was easy to see how passionate these two are. These powder junkies couldnt wait to show us their terrain.
We loaded into the cat, first stopping untouched alpine with big open bowls and steeps, leaving us to choose any line we wanted. The immense scale of terrain in the Babine Mountains looked even grander in the early morning light. Dropping into untouched powder all day long never got tired, but eventually our legs did. Our smiles were non-stop, just like the runs. It was everything we had hoped for face shots, epic terrain and the best crew to ski with.
Leaving with a hefty list to accomplish on our next Smithers trip, we felt content. Our legs were tired, but our hearts were contented, as we loaded onto the train, knowing full well that we'd be back to this gem before too long.