FOLLOW HUDSON BAY MOUNTAIN LOCALS TO SCORE SMITHERS’ STASHES
Boottop blower greeted us on a quiet Wednesday at Hudson Bay Mountain, drifts and lips, gladed stashes and blown-in bowls set the stage for a day of powder skiing. Off the parking lot, the fastest way to the top is the Panorama T-bar.
I followed our local Smithers crew – Jake Daly, Marty Clemens, Claire Challen, Rob Dowling and John Tejada – into soft, flowing powder lines. Days like this, following the locals on a locals’ mountain, on a powder day, no less, are like few things in this life.
Latching on to Claire Challen, Rossignol-sponsored skier, coach and Smithereen, we’d found the ideal guide to the mountain. “There’s always a lot of snow and you don’t have to share it with a ton of people,” Challen confides. “There’s not many places you can ski powder all day.”
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After lapping the T a few times, Challen points us towards the chairlift on HBM’s North Face. The north facing chair side has less wind exposure and holds the snow better, she explains. With gentle green groomers and blues on one side and ungroomed diamonds on the other, it allows everyone in the group to ski at their own speed.
“That’s our favourite place to ski,” Challen says. “It’s steep, there’s always powder and incredible views of town.”
I’d been hearing about Smithers for years from core skiers who’d stumbled upon it one way or another. It was rated a must, a hidden gem. And it still is. Smithers is a real northern town with a real northern vibe – the #SmithersVibe.
To strike white gold in Smithers, watch the conditions report and when the storm cycle hits halfway through the weekend or the start of the week, start packing. Hudson Bay Mountain Resort is closed Mondays and Tuesdays, so Wednesdays is a great day to cash in.
But never fear if you can’t straightline to Smithers midweek – with a population of only about 5,300 people, and at four hours’ drive from Prince George, it can take a while for the hill to get skied out between snowfalls.
The best way to ensure you’re the first to get it is with a Smithers Ski and Stay package… and some friendly tips from the locals.