Why Powder King is Tops
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With a perfect position, The King reigns supreme when it comes to the POW
Mackenzie, B.C. - This is the story of why the King will always be Powder King Mountain Resort.
Meet Doug Thompson, aka Azu, who's been at this Northern B.C. resort for 31 years.
Doug Thompson is one of many purveyors of good times here at Powder King, not many were naming runs after Beatles and Rolling Stones tunes some 31 years ago; Azu Doug as hee' known - part time groomer, long time legend.
Photo by Doc Pow
"I showed up in 1986, the season after it opened, and the reason I have been here for so long is simply the snow."
My pal @ApresWheeler and I skied the day with Thompson in what can only be described as stellar white fluffy conditions the kind of snow we all dream about.
Thompson says his days look pretty much the same every day, skiing powder without another track in sight. In his experience at the King, he never considers the idea of a road trip anywhere else in winter. "Why go ski somewhere else that might not have powder?" he asks.
Sure there are snow covered trees on Powder King, but in the same weekend be sure and get over the Ancient Forest - head for a snowshoe; read SnowSeekerss story first.
Photo by Doc Pow
So, what is it about this place, two hours north of Prince George International Airport, that keeps the powder coming?
As that business saying goes, its location, location, location.
To learn more about the unique aspects of Powder Kings location, I chatted with 12-year Environment Canada meteorologist Alicia Charbonneau, who laid out three interesting facts:
Location - Powder King is found at the west entrance of the Canadian Rockies. As the weather systems move across B.C. from the Pacific Ocean, they hit the coastal mountains. As they move east, because B.C.s interior is relatively flat, that means the next big run-in of those systems is up against the Rockies, with Powder King sitting right there.
Location - Being this far north, means that cold Arctic air flows through the region. And because this chilled breeze interacts with those systems it translates into white fluffy gold.
Location - Powder King is within the Pine Pass meaning that the systems get funnelled up through this Pass. So, when the winds pick up, the system gets squeezed by the sides of the Pass and means Powder King can see significant snowfalls as the system moves through the valley.
The City of Prince George sees an annual snowfall of about 215 centimetres per year, while up at the Powder King, they see an annual snowfall of around 1,250 centimetres; six times the city.
Thompson who has run a groomer off and on over the years, explains one of the challenges, most resorts would love to have.
"I don't know too many groomers who can say they have a problem getting rid of snow. We are constantly looking for places to move the snow and just get rid of it so we can keep access to the lifts and such."
After spending a day playing in the pow, we were having a tough time leaving and understood how Thompson feels about his home.
His heart and soul is invested in the mountain, after nearly 30 years in a place, where he sat around with the original owners naming all the runs after Beatles and Rolling Stones tunes.
And after my latest #SkiNorthBC experience, I can say the runs live up to their names. If only I could take a daily run down Satisfaction where Thompson guided us as part of our fine day at Powder King, I'd forever be in Powder Heaven.
Call Powder King at +1 866-769-5464
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