Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

  • Vertical (m)
    1,142 – 1,650 (508)
  • Average Snow Fall
    ?  metres
  • Lifts (4)
    1 triple chair
    2 T-bar 
  • Ski Season
    Nov - mid April
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 36
    Longest run – 8 km
    Beginner - 20%
    Intermediate - 55%
    Advanced - 20%

Hudson Bay Ski Resort is somewhat typical for a northern BC ski resort, but rather small compared to most of its western Canadian counterparts. The average size for western Canadian ski resorts is about 7.5 times the size of Hudson Bay, which weighs in at only 315 acres (127 hectares).

There are two sides to the Hudson Bay Ski Resort. Above the main day lodge is the South Face which has green runs serviced by the Prairie T-Bar and blue (intermediate) runs off the Panorama T-Bar. As the name suggests, the views from the top are rather lovely. The North Face (which doesn’t actually face north) mostly has a few blue runs and a handful of black runs, including some glades. A very long trail drops down below the North Face to town (Zobnick Rd off Railway Avenue), which isn’t lift served. As to be expected, the town trail is only open when the snow conditions are good.

Lifts

The lift infrastructure at Hudson Bay Mountain Resort is rather no frills, consisting of 2 T-bars and an ancient triple chair lift that moves at a slow pace. Near the day lodge there’s also a mini handle tow.

Lift Tickets

You don’t get a lot of value out of a lift ticket, but they are certainly inexpensive. And for beginners, the packages that include a lift pass, lesson and equipment rentals are very affordable.

Hudson Bay Snow and Weather

With Smithers BC skiing it’s supposedly “always been about the powder”, except that Hudson Bay doesn’t get a lot of powder. Statistics for the snow base are cited as 1.3 to 1.8 metres, but not the actual snowfall, which is standard for most ski resorts around the world. The average annual snowfall in Smithers town at 490 metres elevation is 2 metres, and it’s thought to be only about 5 metres up at the ski resort. Some say that Hudson Bay Ski Resort is in the middle of the snow doughnut, considering that some of the surrounding mountains are renowned for getting absolutely dumped on with snow, such as those a little to the north that are home to Skeena Heli Skiing and Skeena Cat Skiing.

The quality of the snow that falls is typically of very good quality because most of the moisture gets dropped on the mountains near Terrace, a little closer to the coast. The elevation is reasonable considering its northerly position, yet the aspect of the ski resort isn’t overly conducive to maintaining good snow quality. The South Face sits smack bang in the sun most of the day which is nice for the beginners and intermediates. Even the supposed “North Face” is mostly east facing, although a couple of the black runs near the resort boundary just make it to a north-easterly aspect.

Smithers BC Skiing for the Beginner

First timers can start near the day lodge, and then progress to an area serviced by the Prairie T-bar which is pretty much dedicated to beginners, so novices can learn to snow plough in peace without the distraction of faster skiers and snowboarders. Beginners can also head up the Panorama T-bar to enjoy the views from the top and then meander down a couple of easy trails. A potential downside for Smithers skiing is that beginners have to ride T-bars, and they may be exhausted enough just getting down the hill without having to work on the way up too.

Or confident beginners can ski or snowboard down Twinkle Toes, a ridiculously long run that heads to the chair lift. It’s more “dark green” than standard “green”.

Intermediate Skiing Hudson Bay

The South Face offers several groomed blue runs, and those on the skiers’ left in particular are rather short. Off the chair lift are a few long groomed intermediate runs, that mostly drop down the fall line. The quality of the intermediate runs is rather good, and Hudson Bay would score more points if there were more runs to provide greater variety.

Terrain Park

A small terrain park is usually set up in the beginners’ area with jumps, boxes and rails that are mostly for entry level park riders.

Advanced & Expert Skiing On-Piste

Experienced skiers and snowboarders may get bored rather quickly with the in-bounds terrain. Hudson Bay has a few cut piste trails rated as single black diamond, and despite the lack of crowds, they tend to mogul up reasonably quickly. And due to the infrequent big dumps, the moguls tend to stay for most of the season.

Ditto for the couple of double black diamond runs. We’ve renamed “Holy Smoke” to “Holy Shit” when the snow is crusty or slick. The runs lulls you into a false sense of security at the top where it’s mellow and then it tips over the edge for a short steep section (which is adjacent to the cliff band in the sidecountry area) where the bumps can be rather slick. Off Piste Skiing and Riding A small amount of glading has been undertaken, offering some lovely tree skiing (when it’s not bumped up). Elsewhere, many of the trees are very tight but still skiable in places if you fossick around a bit.

Sidecountry and Backcountry

A backcountry gate at the top of the triple chair takes you into the sidecountry on the skiers’ left of the ski resort. The 110 hectares of sidecountry is mostly below the treeline and is rather pitchy in places (keep an eye out for the cliff line if you’re in close to the resort), and it’s even gladed in spots (which is bizarre for sidecountry). There is an egress trail that pops back into the resort.

The backcountry is well renowned. The lifts don’t go that far up and there are some nice big lines above the Hudson Bay ski resort. Or another Smithers skiing option is the Hankin Evelyn backcountry area which has also has gladed areas (the locals of this logging town seem to love a chainsaw!). Backcountry guides are available.