Smithers is a year-round town, offering skiing in the cold season, and festivals, golfing and outdoor excursion in the warmer months. Ski season opens in early December, and closes in mid-April. The slopes range from beginner to expert, and offer consistent snow conditions with champagne powder guaranteed throughout the season. Smithers is also famed for its short lift lines and affordable rates, as well as some prime off-piste tracks, making it one of the best alternatives to the country’s more popular destinations.
Alternatively, visit between June and August when the average temperatures range from 19C to 22C, and the outdoors are in prime condition for exploring. The mountains are packed with striking vistas, as well as a range of animals including mountain goats, black and grizzly bears, moose and marmots. Back in town, be sure to visit Bulkley Valley Farmers’ Market, held every Saturday from early May to late September.
Despite being home to only 5,000 people, the charming mountain town of Smithers is a popular basecamp for skiing, fishing and all manner of outdoor excursion. The acclaimed ski resort of Hudson Bay Mountain lies 15 miles to the southwest, while Smithers and the Bulkley Valley are threaded with well-stocked fishing rivers and lakes. Riverside Park on the Bulkley River and Tyhee Lake are both located less than a 10-minute drive from the town centre, and the breathtaking hiking trails on Babine Mountains not far to the northeast.
The town itself has many attractions to catch the eye, including the Bavarian-style buildings that line the main street. Several independent coffeehouses and bakeries offer a casual retreat from the exertions of mountain life, while the town’s second-hand bookstore contains many literary treasures waiting to be explored. History is also very much a feature of the Smithers experience, with abandoned pioneer buildings still standing and open for exploration. Last, but far from least, be sure to visit local First Nations artists and crafters to learn more about the culture that first called this area home.
Smithers is easily navigable on foot, but the city also offers public transport in the form of two, 24-seat buses. Skiers are also catered for as Hudson Bay Mountain is served by its own bus line, Dawn 2 Dusk Mountain Bus. Services run between the resort and the town throughout the day, with different pick-up and drop-off locations included. Be aware, though, that services only run on weekends, holidays and non-instructional days, so do not rely exclusively on this mode of transport.
The city is served by Smithers Airport (YYD), with flights to Vancouver operating throughout the year. Car rental is available at the airport, as are a number of private hire taxi firms.