Powder and people make Smithers ski and stays epic
Smithers, BC — In the early morning hours, you can barely see Hudson Bay Mountain towering over the tiny alpine town of Smithers. But soon, the white caps reveal themselves, shimmering in the morning light.
From the cozy, warm breakfast nook of The Stork Nest Inn, one of many local lodgings perfect to rest your bones after an exceptional day of skiing, you can watch the fog burn off the mountain and size up which runs you’ll conquer today.
WATCH: Smithers Ski & Stay: snow, friendly people and uncrowded riding make Smithers epic
As the Schwarz brothers, Kodi and Dawson, chow down on perfectly fried eggs, hash browns and pancakes, they plan their descent of the north face of Hudson Bay Mountain Resort (HBMR). With more than 38 runs of groomed and ungroomed slopes, it’s hard to choose, but no matter where you go, the lift lines are short, the powder is deep and the 360 degree views of the Coastal Mountains are second to none.
“You're not dealing with the gong show like you would be at other places,” Dawson said. “There's no big lineups, there’s no fancy things, we just get wicked snow. The people are great! We only drove 15-20 minutes from town, and we're on top of the mountain. It’s unreal and the vibe is great too.”
Our SnowSeekers crew tagged along with the Schwarz brothers, who are known for their humourous, outdoor-adventure focused Tik Toks, along on their Smithers ski & stay adventure, to catch their impressions.
After a short t-bar ride to the top of the south face of HBMR, you traverse the Skyline Connector to the more advanced north face to take in long, wide powdery runs that can make even the most experienced alpine skier weak in the knees. No seriously, you need to take a break halfway down.
“The snow here is what we like to call champagne powder,” said Kodi. “A lot of times when you go down to the coast, you get that heavier snow. Here, it's weightless. It just feels like you're gliding on the clouds. So that's what I love about it."
Smithers run check (aka where to ski)
Footloose, Ptarmigan, Alpenhorn, and especially the newly cut Seven Sisters Glades run are just a few of the spectacular slopes that await you when you make the journey. When you do, you'll be greeted by short lines, over 300 acres of slopes and world-class charm.
Legends of Smithers shred
Every year HBMR honours those that make the mountain what it is, they’re known as Legendary Locals. This year Debi Smith was named legendary local for her endless involvement and dedication to the growth of Hudson Bay Mountain over the past 30 years. She originally came from the east coast, but fell in love with the mountains and the snow and never left.
“The biggest thing is there’s no lineups, you basically ski right onto the lift,” Smith said. “And if you do get a chance to be in the lineup, somebody's probably going to talk to you, ask you where you're from, where you don't get that at the some of the bigger name resorts.
If you're sitting up at the top of one of the lifts and you got a puzzled look on your face, one of us will come by and say, “are you lost?” People will stick their necks out to help you. We just all look after our mountain and we look after the people that are on it.”
But skiing and snowboarding at Hudson Bay Mountain is not only what Smithers has to offer.
Smithers ski adventures extend to backcountry
Alpine ski touring lodges speckle the backcountry all over this valley, and the Hankin Evelyn Recreation Area offers a safe and unparalleled ski touring experience for every level.
Cross-country skiing in Smithers
About halfway down Hudson Bay Mountain the Schwarz brothers stop in at the Bulkley Valley Nordic Centre (BVNC), a community run network of more than 50 kilometres of classic and skate skiing trails that are a world of its own.
“When I'm skiing or snowboarding I'm looking for the deep powder and looking for the jumps,” Kodi said. “But down at the nordic trails you kind of lose yourself in the surroundings.
The forests, the rolling hills, watching the crows and the ptarmigan fly by, it’s a lot more chill. But we’ve barely scratched the surface.”
Sarah Newton, a recently relocated resident of the Bulkley Valley, is a long-time alpine and nordic skier. She’s skied all over the province but is convinced Smithers is the place to find that perfect alpine or nordic experience.
“You're not going to get here by accident,” Newton said. “I don't know a place in BC I haven't really skied. But the trails at the BVNC, they're the best I’ve ever skied on because they have a little bit of everything.
A lot of places are super hilly and not well laid out. That is not the case here. These are very well planned out trails; there's flats, rollers, a huge dog run trail and scenic views where you get a view of the whole Bulkley Valley. It's a very special place.”
When the day's winter activities are done, it's time to get to know the town. Meander your way through the snow covered streets to find a fresh pint of locally brewed beer at Smithers Brewing Company or Bulkley Valley Brewery, or a round of the finest rolls in the northwest at Blue Water Sushi where the company is just as perfect as the snow.
They say Smithers is a town for all seasons, but if you're lucky enough to arrive in the winter, you may never leave.
When you go
Elevate your ski adventure to new heights! Here's how to make your Smithers ski and stay experience beyond epic.
Ski & ride: score a powder paradise at Hudson Bay Mountain Resort, which boasts pristine slopes that cater to all skill levels, making it a haven for both beginners and seasoned pros. For a unique adventure, at day's end grab the Trail to Town run, a six-kilometre ski trail that will take you from HBMR right into Smithers, unlike any other town in B.C.
See: panoramic views abound as you carve through the slopes. Get your nordic flow on and enjoy stunning vistas from the Bulkley Valley Nordic Centre.
Stay: after a thrilling day on the slopes, unwind in the charming alpine village of Smithers. Quaint shops, cozy cafes, and friendly locals create a warm and inviting atmosphere, making your ski getaway a truly memorable experience.
Smithers BC isn't just a destination; it's a community of winter enthusiasts. Feel the camaraderie as you share stories with fellow skiers, creating lasting memories and connections on and off the slopes.
Ready to carve your own path in the snow? Book your ski & stay in Smithers BC for an unforgettable ski experience that blends adrenaline, natural beauty, and the warmth of a welcoming community. Your winter adventure awaits! #SkiNorthBC #SmithersVibe
Make it a #SkiNorthBC road trip
Connect from Smithers to other northern skiing destinations for an extended adventure.