Ski Powder Euphoria at Powder King
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Put Powder King on your bucket list - as in, it snows buckets here! With over 12 metres average annual snowfall, there's a reason PK is one of the most "whispered" about destinations for skiing and snowboarding. Let's dive into it.
Powder King, BC - Exploding through white curtains, like Ghostbusters through the Stay Pufft Marshmallow Man, our crew of skiers and snowboarders emerged out of the towering spruce snow ghosts onto the lower part of "Satisfaction" run at Powder King. For a moment, we all just looked at each other. Low snow clouds and fresh blankets of pow absorbed sound, creating the feeling of being all on our own. Here we were, in the white room.
That’s Powder King. At two hours’ drive north from Prince George, open Thursday to Monday through the main season, the ski resort’s northern locale attracts a certain type of skier. Powder seeking, fun-loving but driven to find something special.
Powder King regular Michael Watson describes the experience like this: “You get that shot of euphoria, and you come out and wait for your friend and they come out from a different line, and they look at you and they’re just like, ‘woah,’ and you’re both like ‘Yeah! That was nuts.’”
“It’s almost indescribable to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it, that rush and focus at the same time.”
“It’s the flow state,” adds his adventure buddy, Jessie Seniunas. “Just focusing on what you’re doing, there’s no disruptions in your brain from the world, there’s no noise.
“You’re not thinking about what you’ve gotta do later it’s just - oh that’s a cool line. For hours and hours.”
The intensity generated out of such shared experiences creates strong bonds between friends, but also to this northern mountain. The Powder King loyal are serious about their hill.
How serious? Put it this way, there's a reason Powder King is known as the "whisper of the North". But when you get them going, like SnowSeekers' Doc Pow did recently, they whisper in volumes:
“Digging my shack out,” Rob Arsenault quipped, “Every. Weekend.”
“My daughter’s second name is Azuzetta,” wrote in Mit Notnats.
For more PK lore, check out Doc Pow’s full story.
But what about for those who’ve never been? I happened to be one of those, until this trip. Like many, I’d known about Powder King for years, but just never got around to making a visit until this year.
If you’re coming from beyond Prince George, travel time is a factor. From Grande Prairie, Powder King is a reasonable three hours, 45 minutes' drive. From Edmonton it’s over eight hours - a bit harder to fit into a standard weekend, maybe.
But a lot of Grande Prairie and Peace River skiers and snowboarders regularly head there, and the more I talked to friends up in those places, the more I got the bug.
So how do you make the trip pay off? By doing what I wish I’d done: stay longer. Simply put, Powder King is worthy of an extended stay. With just a day visit there, basing myself out of Prince George, I felt like I barely scratched surface. But I saw the potential and I left wanting more, and more.
In between powder days, there’s even more to explore within five minutes of the resort. Azouzetta Lake Lodge, on its namesake lake, offers perfect down day relaxation in cozy A-frame chalets, with snowshoeing out your door on the lake, surrounded by mountain peaks. And for fuel ups to keep those big days going, Cafe 97 at the entrance to the Lodge delivers tasty, hearty fare. Their doughnuts are famed in the region.
This is a single destination ski trip that should be on every skier and snowboarder’s bucket list. The only reason it isn’t one of the largest points on the radar is because of its location. But this layer cake of a mountain is legendary for good reason, with friendly fall lines, gentle pillows, well spaced glades, tons of space and few people. The epic powder days you keep hearing about from this place are real, and happen all the time.
This is a ski hill to book in for a week, so you can have days like these:
“A lot of people come here and you see it - it’s that feeling, that euphoria, the look in their eyes or their smile,” says Watson. “They’re just like ‘oh.’”
“Yeah Powder King is awesome, for consistency, I don’t think anywhere beats the powder conditions,” says Seniunas. “Every weekend you can expect fresh runs, at least somewhere. Even if there’s a lot of people on the main runs you can find a lot of stuff in the trees.”
“It’s in the middle of nowhere but it’s worth it.”
The middle of nowhere, perhaps, but the eye of the storm, with powder to spare. At over 12 metres annual average, Powder King is more than worth the trek and the time for an experience that will leave you wanting more.
WHEN YOU GO
Azouzetta Lake Lodge, just down the road from PK, offers cozy, classic A-frame chalets big enough to fit ## people.
Breakfast or lunch, Cafe 97 at Azouzetta Lake Lodge does it right. Plus their donuts are so good, you’ll be bringing an order home if you let anyone know.
Apres at PK is a must - you can make friends on a powder run, but there’s nothing like celebrating the day in the lodge after, and PK is a place to connect to community.
Snowshoe at Azouzetta Lake for a peaceful day away from the mountain, while you wait for the powder to accumulate.