Smithers - 360 views, 365 days of adventure
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Surrounded by 360 degrees of mountains, the locals in Smithers have nothing but smiles, stoke and love for the community. We spoke with four residents, business owners and managers who have carved out lives for themselves from the valley floor to the mountain tops.
The slopes of Hudson Bay ski resort can be seen from town.
Smithers struck me as the perfect mountain town. Within 20 minutes you can be at an expansive yet quiet ski resort, Hudson Bay, which also boasts unlimited backcountry access. Within 45 minutes you can be amid untouched Alpine touring terrain at the Hankin-Evelyn Backcountry Ski Area, and in an hour to its Skeena Cat skiing operation. Hudson Bay Mountain is massive, standing just under 2,600 metres tall, a marvel of a backdrop in this incredible landscape.
With a small-town vibe, it’s no surprise everyone seems to know each other. We got the feeling that they’re all there for one another, and have each other's backs. That’s the beauty of this place, where you don’t feel the completion of the big city; everyone’s willing to work together.
The Bugwood Cafe, run by Nick Meyer, is a popular spot to gather with friends.
We started our day with a locally roasted coffee from Bugwood Cafe & Lab, a favourite local hangout. Nick Meyer, the owner and operator, showed us the process of how he single-handedly fuels his neighbours’ mornings in this northern British Columbia hub. Meyer saw there was a gap in the local business scene, and decided to start his own business just before 2020. He’s likely the only roaster for miles in northern B.C.
When he’s not working, Meyer enjoys the trails around Smithers which more than fulfill his passion for cross-country skiing. He’s also a paddle-boarder and there’s no end of places to glide on the water. It’s safe to say that Meyer thinks Smithers was the best place for him to put down roots.
Dave Harris is an avid backcountry skier who also has a micro-brewery in town.
Another local legend (who by the way, instantly became our close friend) is Dave Harris. He’s a local backcountry stoker, brewer and ski tuner. His generosity showed up in the form of beers, smiles and an informative tour around his micro-brewery, Bulkley Valley Brewing. He gave us some insight into the local area.
"There’s unreal backcountry just off the resort up at Hudson Bay,” he says. He adds it also safer because the skin track in the backcountry has been improved recently, making it safer. Harris seems to have it all. He gets out as much as possible to pursue his love of ski touring and he raises his family in town, just two blocks down the street from his brewery. Sounds pretty sweet.
Moe Kafer's Roadhouse is a great spot for pre- or apres ski.
Local businesswoman, Moe Kafer, opened the Roadhouse restaurant two years ago with her sister. Kafer was attracted to Smithers for the views, local community and the cross-country skiing right out her back door. “It’s a hard place to beat when you can go for a cross-country ski 20 minutes away before or after work anytime you like. When I go out to the trails, all the worries and hustle and bustle about life floats away.”
When she's not working at the Chamber of Commerce, Sheena Miller is likely kite-boarding or on a mountaintop.
Our last local, Sheena Miller, manager of the Smithers Chamber of Commerce, seems to live life to the fullest in Smithers. She gave us a few pointers about the area. “This town is so perfect. You know everyone thinks it’s all just skiing in the winter, but there’s so much more,” she says, adding that two locals bought Zamboni’s for ice skaters. But what Miller really enjoys is kite-boarding up on the flats on top of the mountain. It sure sounds like she’s living the dream.
When You Go
Tourism Smithers and Hudson Bay Mountain Resort make it easy for you to ski this season through the Ski and Stay website.
Learn more about what B.C. has in store for you this winter, search #SkiNorthBC
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For more on skiing in Northern B.C., check out our #SkiNorthBC expedition page. More stories and videos will be coming out all season long.