Forecast Ski Magazine’s True North BC – Episode 1: Smithers & Hankin-Evelyn

Forecast Ski Magazine’s True North BC – Episode 1: Smithers & Hankin-Evelyn


[MUSIC PLAYING] The last couple of weeks,
popped in a few vehicles and drove 15 hours north to
northern British Columbia. It was just an
awesome opportunity to get to see a bunch of new
areas of my home province that I haven’t had a chance to
but have heard about for years. The crew on this trip
consisted of Simon D’Artois, who is on the Canadian
national team for half pipe. I was joined by Riley
Leboe and Anna Segal. Anna’s got lots of
experience in the park and in the back country. And Riley’s just an all
around mountain man. I hadn’t traveled with
either of them before, but it was actually one
of the funniest road trips I’ve ever been on. I think we got to know each
other pretty well over the two weeks, and there’s
maybe a couple spots where there was a little
bit too much information. But I think all of it
provided some good laughs. When an opportunity
like that comes up with some amazing
people, you just drop everything, reorganize
your schedule, and you go. You’re driving
along, and then just as you come down the hill
from Telkwa into Smithers, it just opens up, and
you’re looking straight at Hudson Bay mountain. Dave Walter is one of the local
community business owners. He owns Local Supply
Co in Smithers. We were lucky to
meet up with him, and he had a checklist for us
with a bunch of Google Earth spots. And he said, like,
these are the spots that we can hit that I think
you guys are going to like. I didn’t expect to get
there and immediately be catapulted right into the
biggest mountains of the area. But were able to
get a heli bomb just on the backside of
Hudson Bay Mountain. And as soon as we came
over the first ridge top, it just opened up. And there was this
beautiful spiny face that looked like it was
holding cold snow, which for it being 15
degrees in the valley, we weren’t holding
out much hope. And we were able to
get a couple laps off the top of this
main face, which was way beyond our expectations. [MUSIC PLAYING] Drop! [MUSIC PLAYING] You get out into the range, a
little bit behind Hudson Bay, and then it hits you that you’re
in some seriously big terrain. It could look like something
out of the Himalayas. It’s just these massive walls. It’s a pretty amazing piece of
the province, that’s for sure. [MUSIC PLAYING] We actually finished our day by
skiing down into the Evelyn ski touring area. We weren’t even sure
that the two connected. And Dave had looked
it up on Google Earth and figured that it’s
probably possible to traverse between the two and
make our way out. By doing these little ridge
walks and a couple of skis along the way, we were actually
able to get back and hit that one run that
goes down Evelyn. And it was pretty rewarding
to know that we set out going up a totally
different area and we were able to wrap
around and find our way back to the trucks. I knew that this area,
Hankin-Evelyn, existed. And I remember reading
about it in a magazine maybe two or three years ago. When we got to Smithers
and met up with Dave, he was able to take us
out there and tell us all about how the community
pitched in to make this happen and how the different
grants have come about to enable the place to run. The Hankin-Evelyn
project to Brian is, I would say, his legacy. It’s something
that we will have. It wouldn’t be
reality without Brian. If I was talking to somebody
on the street about it, it’s a developed back
country ski area. So it’s almost the same
concept as a ski area, but there’s no lifts,
there’s no lodges. So we came up six, and then we
headed out through this basin here, and then up to the camp. We can drive out there in
probably about 20, 25 minutes. You know it’s just
this little drive that lets you know that
you’re going to somewhere that feels a bit adventurous. It was kind of endearing
just pulling up into this muddy parking lot with
a couple of trail maps bolted to the wooden frame
there with Hankin-Evelyn. Just so cool that
you could walk up and there was this
free area to go skiing. It’s set up to encourage people
that don’t have as many skills. Like, there’s signage there,
there’s beacon checkers there. And so it’s kind
of an easy place to get introduced
to the back country and start to feel
comfortable with it. It just seemed
really approachable for anyone trying to
get into ski touring. There’s a lot of
more mellow terrain, really manageable from an
avalanche hazard point of view. And lots of great,
gladed skiing, and the runs that they’ve cut
are really well planned out. Once you get to
the heart, that’s where all the alpine opens up. We were able to see
the full potential, and it was really eye opening. Obviously, Brian was integral
in starting the Hankin-Evelyn. But from that has spawned
the Bulkley Backcountry Ski Society and now we’ve
got multiple areas that are being worked
on and being developed as backcountry ski areas. Growing that
backcountry community. And I think that was
what I was hoping for when I’d first envisioned
building something like that. So after a couple
great days in Smithers, we packed the trucks up and we
were driving west to Terrace. [MUSIC PLAYING] It’s almost like this
river’s taking you to, I don’t know, the
next crazy adventure.

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