Discover #SkiPowTown yourself

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Behind the scenes with DOC POW for #SkiPowTown

Powell River, B.C. – Ok, I’ll tell you right now, heading out to #SkiPowTown is an adventure you will remember for a long time coming – if not for the rest of your life.

Since when have you taken boats to get where you need to go shred some gnar. Such is the case when you go #SkiPowTown; who knew that the Sunshine Coast’s Powell River is also known as Pow Town.

With rumors of people growing pineapples and avocados along the shores of the Salish Sea, I went out with long time ski scribe, Steve Threndle, our buddy, Action Jackson, videographer, Nic Collar and a bunch of new friends to experience why this place truly lives up to the name – Pow Town.

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Be prepared

You need a kick-ass *4X4 with high clearance for some of the tough spots as you get up the road. *Tire chains for all four tires are recommended.

A VHF radio with correct road frequencies programmed in is a must. Channels are listed on the signs as you go up. Of course, as a backcountry enthusiast, you've not only shared your destination/duration plans with someone, you’re also bringing in the right gear. Our friends at AdventureSmart provide a great list to make sure you aren’t missing anything.

Before you head out, download a SkiAreas_North PDF and a Turn-by-Turn PDF map from the Knuckleheads’ Facebook page (click the “Files” button), and on your smart phone, download a mapping app from Avenza Maps (free). By using the combination, it’s pretty easy to find where you are and where you want to go.

Photo: Steven Threndyle

Doc Pow and friends drop in to ski and ride some virgin pow in Powell River's backcountry.

Getting there

Post two B.C. ferries voyages north from Horseshoe Bay along B.C.’s coastline, you’ll arrive at the north coast of the Sunshine Coast and the City of Powell River. On your drive between the ferry terminals of Gibsons and Earl’s Cove, consider stopping at Dakota Ridge Ski Area (yes, the Sunshine Coast has two ski areas – Dakota for Nordic and the Knuckleheads Ridge for backcountry skiing).

Photo: Doc Pow

An ATV gets you to the top, no problem.

Once you are in Powell River, head to the Lang Bay Store, located at 2365 Lang Bay Road. From there, you want to head north on the Sunshine Coast Hwy/BC 101 and turn right on Dixon Road (note: the name will change to Goat Lake Mainline Rd., just keep an eye out for a sharp righthand turn onto DixonRd/Tinhat Jct.) From here, start using your PDFs and mapping app.


Hauling happens on these roads Monday to Friday and some Saturdays. Be cautious and pay attention. Some sections that are one-way, so you want to ensure you are driving the right way. Check with Western Forest Products for current conditions and activity levels before driving on resource roads. Drive as far as possible, park off the road (check map for indicated parking areas) and start your snowshoe/skin ski in. This could take anywhere from two to three hours, unless you also brought in an ATV. Then you can get right up to where you need to be. 

When you get up to the Ridge, the Knuckleheads and Vic Cabin, you’ve arrived. It takes a bit, but as you will discover, it is well worth it. Acres and acres of Sunshine Coast powder all to yourself.

Photo: Knuckleheads Winter Recreation FB Group

Getting up to the Vic cabin and #SkiPowTown takes some doing, but the rewards are well-worth the efforts.

Support the Knuckleheads

The Knuckleheads Winter Recreation Association, a volunteer group, looks after access to the area and the infrastructure. Help these dedicated folks out and become a member of the Knuckleheads community; just head to the club’s Facebook page and buy a membership ($20 individuals/$30 families).

The page is a great resource for what’s happening in the #SkiPowTown backcountry, as members are constantly sharing their recent experiences – everything from dramatic pics and successes to conditions and snowpack updates. The conditions update info is important, as you’re off the beaten path here and there are no dedicated forecasts for this area. Know your snow by taking a AVI course or ensuring one of your crew has the knowledge.

On a final note: Have an epic adventure, but like a good scout, be prepared for anything. The local SAR group is volunteer-based and limited in what can be accomplished in a timely manner. #SkiPowTown is a trip you won't ever forget. It's definitely diving into the backcountry in the real sense and you might even feel like a bit of an explorer at the end of it. 

Photo: Doc Pow

A session or two at the Elements Yoga Studio is a great way to keep limber either before or after your backcountry adventure.

Back in town

Stay loose out there and when you get back from your adventure to #SkiPowTown – plan on booking time in Pow Town at any of its funky accommodation locations like the Pacific Point Suites. Stay a few nights and take in a yoga class at the Elements Yoga Studio or spend some time at the Powell River Climbing Co-op, both in the heart of Historic Townsite in the Townsite Market, across the street from the famous Townsite Brewery.

For more inspiration, head over the feature SnowSeekers story from my trip with ski scribe, Steve Threndle, our buddy, Action Jackson, videographer, Nic Collar and my new friends, and get planning. 

Sunshine Coast Tourism will help you get to #SkiPowTown.

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