Backcountry variety pack: Hankin-Evelyn a community run snow playground for all abilities


SMITHERS, B.C. - Peaks soar above. Snow piles up above car rooflines, and terrain for backcountry touring stretches seemingly endlessly. Here, there are no motors running, no crowds, no distractions. Just you, your friends and the bowls, ridges and glades to play in.

Looking to get the most out of your visit to Smithers? Check out the official Tourism Smithers website.

You'll be pinching yourself twice as you discover Hankin-Evelyn, a community-run playground, near Smithers B.C, dedicated to anyone who seeks out self-propelled snowy fun.

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Back in 2008, Brian Hall had a vision to create a non-motorized, ski touring area, that could be enjoyed by all. It would be a place not only perfect for those taking out first timers, but also for experts looking for multi-lap tours. He founded the Bulkley Backcountry Ski Society.

Arriving in the parking lot of Hankin-Evelyn ski area, we get geared up for some backcountry ski touring, starting off with our avalanche beacon check. We next consult the map and choose from nine purpose-cut runs, ranging from beginner to expert.

There's a little bit of everything for snow-lovers here, not just backcountry adrenaline seekers.

“It's all about sharing the backcountry here. We have low-level routes for snowshoers or cross-country skiers to enjoy. And above that a variety of gladed tree runs and/or a selection of bowls if conditions are right for ski touring enthusiasts to enjoy,” says Hall.

You'll quickly feel like you are part of cool community. Heading up, we get into the rhythm of the climb, up track routes, on perfect grades. We take a route that leads up to a high ridge, and traverse across, choosing one of the gladed trails with no tracks. It's boot top dry powder through perfectly space trees.

I can't shake my enthusiasm for the people who brought this all together. Recreationalists and volunteers went all out, showing that when there is a will, vision, and a plan, that the ripple can really make one incredible wave.

With views to peaks in all directions, this place is wild and pristine. As part of the Bulkley River Valley, nature thrives here. It’s home to wolverines and grizzlies, mountain goats and moose.

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The entire Hankin-Evelyn basin is designated non-motorized, so the snow stays fresh and the air silent. Despite its wildness, it is amazingly easy to reach and has all the services you’ll need, from lodging to supplies in nearby Smithers.

One place to stay is the Stork Nest Inn, a family-run inn that’s comfortable and offers the most up to date information on backcountry skiing conditions. If you forget any gear, there are numerous outdoor sport shops nearby.

There are also many options for dining. For breakfast, hit up Two Sisters Cafe where they make a mean espresso and house-made breakfasts like French toast with prosciutto or good old-fashioned porridge. You can also get your grab-and-go lunch here for the day's adventures. 

Learn more

For more about Smithers, visit

Call Tourism Smithers at (250) 847-5072

Fly into Smithers via Air Canada and Central Mountain Air with daily non-stop daily service.

For all your Travel Northern BC details, the folks from Northern BC Tourism can help make the planning process smooth.

Learn more about what BC has in store for you this winter, search #ExploreBC

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