Awed by the sledding and sights of Stewart, B.C. and the Kitimat-Stikine region
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Through winter 2018 SnowSeekers has once again teamed up with our #SkiNorthBC partners and contributors to bring you #SkiNorthBC 2.0 - another season of exceptional video, photo and stories to inspire you to #ExporeBC via a #SkiNorthBC adventure. Read on…
Stewart, B.C., the single name and two letters following make me giddy just thinking about finally seeing what I’ve heard and dreamed about so much. The drive up was filled with slices of Indigenous culture, glimpses at the rich Gold Rush history and a tease of the mountains waiting for us to explore within BC’s Kitimat-Stikine region.
Road trip stops
Skeena Bakery, New Hazelton: All great road trips start with coffee, but what’s better than just coffee? A coffee and freshly baked road snacks, and to top it off, the fact that the Skeena Bakery is a non-profit organization.
‘Ksan Historical Village: At the confluence of the Bulkley and Skeena rivers you’ll find a pristine Gitxsan village replica from centuries past. In winter, the longhouses glow against the white snow and showcase the traditional artwork adorning each building. Totem poles are staggered throughout the village and its authenticity is sure to inspire a connection to the place and the people.
Kitwanga Gas Station: YES, a gas station made the list. For one reason, because you actually MUST get fuel here, otherwise it’ll be while before you can fill up again. And two, for the well known “North to Alaska Steward, Hyder, Bear Glacier” sign. We know you’ll want a photo of this landmark when you pass by.
Bear Glacier: Glacier meet lake, lake meet highway. What a view! The tongue of the Bear Glacier feeds right next to the highway for an optimal viewing experience. Keep your eyes peeled for a few more glacial views as you near Stewart.
Sledding and skiing in Stewart
Waking before the sun with excitement, we walk from our pleasant sleeping quarters at the King Edward Hotel to the Silverado Cafe. Over a hearty breakfast with the Bordertown Snowbombers snowmobile club, we formulate a plan to safely see as much of the Stewart/Hyder region as possible. This crew has spent years exploring their backyard and where thousands flock. Few know the area as intimately as they do, and what an honour it was to have them escort us.
We continued navigating the unmaintained road by sled before making our final stop to soak it all in at the marked view point. Engulfed by glaciers and peaks in all directions, it was impossible not to feel humbled by this immense landscape. In silence, we attempted to soak it all in before vocalizing just how incredible this place really is.
Craving another view point and some powder turns, a few of us skinned up to a few lines above the view point and relived another moment of awe. Light, cold snow filled our faces turn after turn and we were smitten. Stewart exceeded all our expectations. We were only convinced to head down when the sunlight started to slip.
Our trip to Stewart was short and sweet, but the visit has left us with a hankering for more. The journey to Stewart and the experiences all around it, surrounded by mountains and glaciers, were unforgettable and we can’t wait to do it all over again.
We were only able to peek at the potential experiences here in the Kitimat-Stikine region of B.C. that few get to explore. It's home to more than 100,000 square kilometres of mountains, rivers and ancient Indigenous sites and settlements.
"Every time I go sledding in Stewart I get really stoked knowing I get to ride some of the gnarliest terrain in B.C.,” says Jesse Millen. “The most unique thing about Stewart is how you can sled right from your home to a backcountry cabin in one day or even see the Salmon Glacier all in that same day,” Millen says.
Before hitting the trails, we cruised to the Hyder Alaska harbour for sunrise. A five-minute drive hardly makes it feel as though we’d crossed any borders, because it’s all equally wild and stunning on both sides.
With the roar of the engines, we began making our way to the Salmon Glacier, about 25 km from Stewart, B.C. Ready for a 30-km sled ride, we got cozy on our snow ponies and were whisked away. It wasn’t long before Colin Burke of Bordertown Snowbombers stopped to show us the tree cut border. We'd now crossed back into B.C.
Getting here is easy via the Northwest Regional Airport. There are daily flights to Terrace from Vancouver with a variety of airlines.
Check out more about the region at Kermodei Tourism.
Learn about all the experiences to be found in the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine.
Through winter 2018 SnowSeekers has once again teamed up with our #SkiNorthBC partners and contributors to bring you #SkiNorthBC 2.0 - another season of exceptional video, photo and stories set to inspire you to #ExporeBC via a #SkiNorthBC adventure. Read on…