HOW TO: ski north BC to tap northern snow, stoke and soul
What is it like to ski north BC? It's short lift lines. Lift passes for $100 or less. Maybe eating a homemade cinnamon bun for breakfast on the t-bar. Making new friends who introduce you to the best powder stashes. Skiing and riding epic terrain. Singing along at apres—and then bunking down in a cozy cabin before doing it all again.
Skiing and snowboarding in northern BC is unlike anywhere else, thanks to its wild snowy spaces and friendly communities. Here is your ticket to escape.
Tap into the roots of northern BC ski culture in this epic region, with this How To #SkiNorthBC featuring a mapped-out itinerary and tips to each destination from locals who know.
How to Ski North BC
A ski trip through northern BC just hits different. Fewer crowds, friendly people, laidback lifestyles and, when conditions are right, unbeatable powder. Here's how to get after it.
Map out your trip
Four #SkiNorthBC communities and three ski resorts make up an epic winter road trip for skiers and snowboarders:
- Hudson Bay Mountain Resort, in Smithers BC
- Powder King Mountain Resort, near Prince George BC
- Troll Resort, between Quesnel BC and Wells BC
From Edmonton, tie in a stop at Marmot Basin for an extra ski day, or if you're travelling from the south from either Calgary or Vancouver, a stop at Sun Peaks.
Ready? Bookmark this page, save this map to your phone, pack your bags and let's hit the road, with a tour of each destination and some tips from the people who live there.
Hudson Bay Mountain Resort
A 20-minute drive up from the town of Smithers you'll find the epic northern paradise of Hudson Bay Mountain at a base elevation of 1142 metres. A total of 36 runs spill out from the four lifts (one chair, two t-bars and a rope handle two), including one run that will take you right back into town for apres!
Local tips: Claire Challen is a sponsored Rossignol skier and instructor based in Smithers. Her unbridled enthusiasm flows through everything, including her love for sharing winter in her home base.
Here's her advice: "Head right when you get off the chairlift, look for someone who knows where they are going and you’ll be sure to find some secret snow stashes."
You can read more of Challen's tips to skiing Smithers here.
Ski resort info: Hudson Bay Mountain Resort operating hours, snow conditions, trail maps and more
Where to stay: Ski & Stay in Smithers has all the best deals and intel on accommodations
Apres in Smithers: Challen recommends checking out a few of her fave places for dinner, including Blue Water Sushi, Roadhouse and Telly’s Grill. More places to eat & drink in Smithers.
Powder King Mountain Resort
Prince George, BC
It's been called the "whisper of the north" for good reason—no doubt you've heard rumours of the epic powder days this place is known for. Now it's time to get after it for yourself!
Two hours north of Prince George, PK's three lifts deliver the goods with an average of 12 metres of snowfall per year!
Local tips: "Driving up to PK is a beautiful drive along the Crooked River and frozen lakes, up through the Pine Pass," advises resident Prince George shredder Kara Pidherny. "You're almost guaranteed to see wildlife on your drive. Watch for moose!”
For more of Pidherny and her pals' adventures at Powder King, read this story on why you're gonna "heart" PK.
Ski resort info: Powder King Mountain Resort operating hours, snow conditions, trail maps and more.
Where to stay: You'll find a hostel right at the base of Powder King, or cruise five minutes over from the lodge for a cozy A-frame cabin stay at Azouzetta Lake Lodge; or, stay in Prince George as your #SkiNorthBC basecamp, central to the region.
Apres: the PK Bar & Restaurant, in the daylodge, is a must at day's end. Prince George is also central to the Northern BC Ale Trail, for craft beer afficionados who like to explore the spirits scene at day's end.
More winter activities: snowshoe around Azouzetta Lake for a down-day or two between ski weekends (read more on that here). PRO TIP: start with a hearty breakfast and one of the famed doughnuts at Cafe 97, on site at Azouzetta Lake Lodge.
For more info check out the Powder King website.
Troll Mountain Resort
Quesnel BC / Wells, BC
About halfway between Quesnel and Wells sits Troll Mountain Resort, a ski area that embodies the frontier spirit. Built by pioneering Norwegian Lars Fossberg in the 1970s, Troll skiers and snowboarders are a fiercely loyal bunch, and they're proud to show you their mountain paradise.
Local tips: Tyler Dinsdale is a Troll fixture, who you'll find telemarking, eating those aforementioned homemade cinnamon buns and letting out big "whoops" on powder days (just watch this video to see what we mean).
“People are generally surprised by two things at Troll," he says. "They are either surprised by the fun, friendly atmosphere, or they are surprised by the amount of diverse terrain. People tend to expect one or the other, but not both together."
John Courtney, who co-owns Rocky Peaks gear shop in nearby Quesnel, adds: "The feeling of peace and solitude is continually available to us to experience here."
One local who's giving Troll a bigger name these days is Fossberg's grandchild and pro freeskier Emily Childs. You can catch her skiing at Troll with her mom Hildur in this awesome new North Face doc (for some Troll stoke, drop in around the 5-min mark.)
Check out this story for more Troll soul and fresh-baked fun with Dinsdale.
Ski resort info: Troll Mountain Resort operating hours, trail maps, snow conditions and more.
Where to stay: In Quesnel, the Billy Barker Casino Hotel is an icon central to all your adventures; check out more accommodations via Tourism Quesnel's listings. In Wells, pick out a cozy B&B on the Stay in Wells website, or pop in for a night at The Wells Hotel.
Apres: after a day of skiing at Troll, make time to join in the apres fun in the daylodge, where you'll often find live music. Don't miss exploring the Wells area while there, and for dinner in style in one of their heated outdoor domes, book in at the Jack o' Clubs Pub in Wells (here's a primer on these Wells adventures), with a flight of scotch for a nightcap at the Wells Hotel. When back in Quesnel, after a day trip or some nordic skiing, be sure to check out Barkerville Brewery.
More winter activities in Quesnel and Wells: Quesnel is hosting the BC Winter Games in 2024, and one of the main venues is Hallis Lake Nordic Centre, as featured in this story. In Wells, you'll find gold-mining history at Barkerville and a cultural enclave full of creative and historic beauty—stick around for the Wells Winter Wonders Festival to discover more!
Read up and get ready for #SkiNorthBC
Get to know more about the skiing, snowboarding and winter experiences across BC's north, for the ski trip of a lifetime.