Skiing into the wild
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But its not just the pow, its the people who make this place special
TERRACE, B.C. - Imagine using the beautiful wilds of northern British Columbia's winter as your laboratory. For a long time, Terrace, B.C. local Hansie Mudhenk, has done exactly that every day.
"Here in the north we have an unbelievable amount of geography and weather features, which makes avalanche management very interesting", Mudhenk says.
With Terrace as home, hes got easy access into the wilds based on the slack country access offered at Shames Mountain Ski Resort.
"Our tenure and terrain is actually bigger than Whistler Blackcomb's", says Christian Theberge, Shames Mountain's general manager.
The big difference is this awesome little ski gem found within the Kitimat-Stikine region of the province. And if you want those incredible turns, that means backcountry skiing.
Mudhenk is an avalanche forecaster, whose main client is CN Rail. Its his job to ensure the train gets through. That means he spends a lot of time in the field understanding the science of snow, and the state it is in on any given day.
As part of our #SkiNorthBC Expedition, my pal @ApresWheeler and I had an afternoon with Mudhenk and some of his buddies, who took us backcountry skiing right into the depths of their laboratory.
The backcountry of Shames Mountain is an endless world of steeps and deeps that could keep any snow seeker busy for a lifetime.
People move here just to ski the backcountry in and around Shames. That's certainly what brought Mudhenk here after living in Prince George and growing up within the Cariboo region. Through his company, Little Cedar Services, Mudhenk puts on avalanche education for the community and for anyone who make it their passion to explore the great outdoors.
It's a living lab around here to keep my skills topped up in understanding snow, Mudhenk says.
This living lab improves his understanding both recreationally and professionally, testing hypotheses about snow and prevailing conditions. These consistent deep-snow conditions and the geography are exactly what keep Mudhenk firmly planted within the Terrace community.
His good friend Kris Pucci couldnt agree more.
"It's a place where you can find soft snow any day, anytime", says Pucci, founder of Divide Rides, Craft Skis and Snowboards.
"There is nothing else like it; the feeling of weightlessness when you are slashing pow. There is so much of it here at Shames and in the backcountry, its why I ski here and live here", Pucci adds.
And don't think this winter bounty of backcountry is only for skiers, snowshoeing in the region is popular, too.
Shames shuttle bus driver, Bob Oliver is president of the Terrace Hiking Group, a thriving community of over 300 people who have regular meet ups and are happy to have anyone join them to explore.
Shames is the perfect launch pad for any snow-filled adventure, says Oliver.
Yes, there's the pow, but there are also plenty more reasons to get out and explore this region. We're impressed and we know anyone who visits will be too.
We've left with eyes wide open, just from meeting some amazing people that are proud to show you some incredible places in B.C.'s north.
Be sure to check out Dax Justin's People of Shames story, or his recommendations of things to do in his story 72 hours in Terrace.
If you go
Check out the conditions at Shames Mountain here http://mymountaincoop.ca
Call Shames at (250) 635-3773
Visit the official Terrace website to learn more about the region http://www.visitterrace.com/stage.php/events/activities
Fly into Terrace with daily non-stop daily service: http://www.yxt.ca
For all your Travel Northern BC details, the folks from Northern BC Tourism can help make the planning process smooth. http://www.travelnbc.com
Learn more about what BC has in store for you this winter, search #ExploreBC