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Hankin Evelyn on Salomon TV

by Jake Daly

Will a Ski Area Without Lifts Transform the Sport?

It’s safe to say the secret is out about Hankin Evelyn, the first-of-it’s-kind ski touring area just North of Smithers, BC. Word travels fast in the skiing community, so it’s no surprise that a growing number of backcountry enthusiasts from around the world have been traveling to Smithers in recent years to experience this reimagined ski area for themselves.

The team over at Salomon TV saw potential in what they call the ‘Hankin Evolution’ right from the start. Over the past several years, the Salomon team has been working away on a film showcasing the ski-touring area and revealing how the concept came to be. In a recent conversation with Tourism Smithers, Filmmaker and Salomon Athlete, Mike Douglas, shared some insight into the project as well as some tips for any skiers planning their first trip to the North.

The Hankin-Evelyn Backcountry Recreation Area - a series of 11 cut trails below treeline with opportunity for alpine skiing in any number of bowls | SalomonTV

TS: Smithers and the Hankin Evelyn ski area are a little North from the beaten path... how did this zone first come on to your radar?

MD: I can't remember exactly how we first heard of Hankin, but I think it was in 2014 when we caught wind of a new ski area concept up North. We were curious right away and one of our producers reached out to Brian Hall shortly after.

credit: SalomonTV

TS: When did you realize that you wanted to put a film together to share the story of Hankin Evelyn?

MD: We actually tried to make this film in 2015. Unfortunately the weather that year was very tricky. After two attempts with bad conditions we put the idea back on the shelf and then finally opened it up again in Fall 2022.

In 2008 local Smithers Resident Brian Hall initiated the Hankin-Evelyn Backcountry Recreation Area project with the assistance of Jay Gilden and the BV Backpackers Society | SalomonTV

TS: When did you first meet Brian Hall and what stuck out to you about him?

MD: We connected with Brian on those trips in 2015 and realized right away that he is a gem of a human. It's clear he has a deep passion for this area and these mountains, and he isn't afraid to share. We got caught up in his energy and knew we'd have to bring it to the screen one day. I'm so happy we finally did. I hope everyone reading this gets the chance to meet him.

credit: SalomonTV

TS: You've skied all over the world. Give it to us straight… what do you think of the terrain and skiing opportunities we have up here in Smithers?

MD: Between Ski Smithers and Hankin, there is a lot of good skiing to be had in the area. At Hankin you definitely have to work for it, but that is what helped keep us warm on those cold days. The average temperature for our visit was around -25 c! When skiing in the backcountry you have to let Mother Nature call the shots. The avalanche conditions didn't really let us get into the Alpine, but the potential looks really good up there.

credit: SalomonTV

TS: Do you have any tips or advice for folks planning their first trip up to Smithers and Hankin Evelyn?

MD: Make sure you get out and mix with the locals. There is a lot of good skiing to be had, but it's the people who truly make the place special.  

photo of Jake Daly

Jake Daly is a Smithers-based hot sauce maker and wilderness guide who can most often be found floating down the Widzin Kwah with his gal and gigantic pup.

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