Let your kid (or your inner kid) ski freely in Smithers
Visit Hudson Bay Mountain Resort in Smithers, BC, to ski above the clouds and take your skills to the next level. A ski lesson at this friendly local mountain ski area can get you stomping pow like a pro in no time, just like Joey.
Smithers, BC - Hudson Bay Mountain Resort's best kept secret – the inversion factor – is surely reason enough to become a skier. What begins as a bleak morning in the quiet mountain town of Smithers, BC, will often shift to blue sky and crisp fresh air as skiers pull into the resort parking lot. There's nothing quite like driving up beneath dark, cloudy skies and suddenly bursting through the bottom of the clouds, greeted warmly by the mountain's bright pink light.
Hudson Bay Mountain Resort (HBMR) is definitely a wonderful place to be in the winter. However if you're new to the sport or the last time you skied was 30 years ago, getting onto a pair of skis can be a daunting prospect! Anyone who's ever been lured in by the glamourous side of skiing quickly finds out that without some kind of on-snow support, Instagram stories of dancing through powder and ripping high speed turns on freshly groomed corduroy could come to a grinding, cartwheeling halt. Luckily there's a way to smoothly make the transition from mountain spectator – or spectacle - to carving down the mountainside with a smile on your face.
A smile like this: meet Joey Ziegler.
“I want to be able to ski with my friends, without you and Dad tagging along,” says eight-year-old Joey. Her mom, Anna, smiles but her hesitation is obvious. For a parent, this can be a huge step and one not taken lightly.
“Okay,” says Anna, “but first let's put some more time into your skiing skills so I can be sure you're ready, deal?”
And so on a beautiful sunny day at HBMR, one young girl begins her journey to become a lifelong skier who will learn what it means to truly feel the freedom of the mountains. Joey couldn't possibly imagine the world of unlimited possibilities that is about to open up for her, but her instructor Alvin Henry knows it all too well.
Henry is a permanent fixture at HBMR, whether it's instructing ski or snowboard lessons, DJ-ing in the lounge, or taking care of guests in the Rental shop, he's there. When asked what he likes best about being an instructor, Henry answers confidently, “I've been doing this for 15 years and I still love to see the excitement in a new skier's eyes when it all clicks. It's the best!”
Henry's patient and calm demeanour is a perfect fit for newcomers to feel comfortable and supported in their learning. He's also a lot of fun and that, combined with his step-by-step teaching process, proves to be the perfect mix for Joey to improve her skiing skills in the space of a two-hour lesson. Joey's goal is to be a strong enough skier so her parents will let her ski with her friends. With that goal in mind, she's motivated to learn and improve with Henry's guidance.
“Helping others like Joey get to the point where they can feel confident and independent on the snow is incredible,” Henry says. “Joey did great!”
Pointedly looking at Anna, Henry says with a grin, “I think she's ready for a run on her own, Mom!”
A successful lesson completed, it seems like the perfect time to head over to the day lodge for hot chocolate and french fries.
The HBMR Snow School provides support for never-ever beginners and also those who already know how to link a few turns but are keen to increase their skill and confidence. Skills learned by taking a lesson or two are key components to a successful ski journey. When I watch skiers, it's almost always apparent who began their formative skiing years with formal instruction versus those who chose the “here goes nothing method”.
Practicing her newfound skills for the remainder of the afternoon, Joey's legs are tired but she's not ready to call it a day. Joey phones her dad and says, “We'll be down in 20 minutes. Can you pick us up?”
Joey and Anna zip onto the trail below the Panorama t-bar to meander down the Sidewinder Trail, which takes you all the way to the Skyline Chair. But, they don't plan to stop there. Bypassing the lift loading zone at Skyline, the two embark on the unique Trail to Town adventure, that will take you all the way down into the town of Smithers.
Whizzing past what are biking and hiking trails in the summer, through tree lined passages and a farm-gate or two, skiers arrive in town at the end of Zobnick Road. If the road edge is snowy enough, you can even ski right to the railroad tracks!
Joey is lucky. She's just turned nine years old and is likely going to be allowed to ski this year with her friends, without the watchful eyes of mom and dad. (She'll have a radio in her pocket so she has contact.) She's learning the joy of this sport early.
This a true family sport, one that brings families together and creates friendships which will last a lifetime. From the lift line chatter, meeting people on your favourite run in the trees, to the après warmth as you swap stories of your favourite run of the day, this is a magical place to be. You don't have to be the best, you don't have to ski all the runs, you don't have to have perfect technique. But start off right, with the support of the HBMR Snow School, and you'll be skiing for life. Let HBMR introduce you to an amazing world just above the clouds. And while you're up there, keep your eyes open for little Joey zooming down the trail.
When You Go
- Remember, if it's grey downtown, it may well be brilliant bluebird up above! Check the webcams & the snow-table to see what's happening!
- Extend your ski day with a unique ski to town adventure! Plan ahead for a pick up at Zobnick Road.
- Ski to town, and then stay! The Town of Smithers has a number of ski and stay options for travelers to the area.
- Give the gift of skiing and snowboarding with gift card stocking stuffers! Hudson Bay Mountain gift cards can be used for lift tickets, equipment rentals, lessons and delicious eats.
Ready to Learn to Ski or Up Your Game?
Hudson Bay Mountain Resort has lessons for all levels:
- Discover the Thrill - Perfect for first timers! Lesson, T-bar lift ticket, full day equipment rental!
- Discover the Mountain - Explore the mountain and improve your skills for beginner/novice! Lesson, all-mountain lift ticket, full day equipment rental!
- Never Ever Days – If you've never skied or snowboarded before, this could be your chance! Includes 2-hour lesson, rentals & lift ticket. Pre-registration required.
- Ski with Claire Challen - Camps and lessons for Intermediate & Advanced Skiers.