There is a new area northwest of Smithers for backcountry skiers in search of great powder and no crowds. The Bulkley Valley Backpackers Society operates a new non-motorized recreation area 34 km from Smithers on the north flank of Hankin Mountain in the Kitseguecla Lake Valley. Funding for the project was provided by the Job Opportunities Program from the BC government. Work started in August of 2009 and continued until the Fall of 2010.
The Hankin-Evelyn Recreation Area project provides a very valuable addition to the recreational resources available in the Smithers area. It is a network of multi-season, multi-purpose trails in an officially-designated non-motorized and spectacularly beautiful setting opening up new opportunities for backcountry skiing, ski touring, snowshoeing, biking and hiking.
As of the winter of 2010, there are eight ski runs, several skin-up tracks and several lower trails suitable for cross-country skiing. There is connection also to Hankin mountain trails. The trails map shows all the trails.
Runs 1 - 3 are advanced, runs 4 - 6 are intermediate and runs 7 and 8 are suitable for beginners. A warm-up cabin is located near the top of run 4, about 2000ft above the parking area. Access to the alpine of the slopes of Mt Hankin is easy from the top of the uptracks. This is avalanche area in winter, so stay in the trees during unstable conditions.
Also read more at the Northword article on the unique ski area developments in the north.
The area is not patrolled. Use the trails and ski runs at your own risk. Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. Ski with a buddy. Carry a SPOT satellite position device.
Drive 21 km north of Smithers on hwy 16 and turn left on the Kitseguecla Lake road. Turn left again soon at the railway tracks. Drive 8km and as you pass the 8K signpost, go past a driveway on the left, and then turn left on the 6008 road. Follow the signs for Hankin-Evelyn for 6km to a small parking area. This road is plowed in winter thanks to sponsors from Smithers area businesses, who are helping people access this area for skiing.
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