Smithers, British Columbia, is a small town with a big heart—especially when it comes to snowmobiling. Maintaining hundreds of kilometres of groomed trails in three major areas with six warm-up shelters, the Smithers Snowmobile Association relies on many volunteer hours to keep it all going.
Some of the local snowmobile designated areas are a result of a unique partnership with multiple users, as is the case with the Harold Price Recreation Area. At one time this place was only known to a handful of sledders curious about a cabin in its vicinity. The shelter, located between Hazelton and Smithers, was used only by cross-country skiers and backpackers. The snowmobile club worked hard to develop an agreement to include both motorized and non-motorized sections in the Harold Price area, and a new cabin was erected for snowmobilers.
Harold Price is a very family-oriented riding area, with staging four kilometres up the Blunt Forest Service Road. From staging to Kilometre 22, aggressive grooming is done with a big BR 400 with Mogul Master. From this point on, grooming is done with a simple pull-behind set up, maintaining the trails as needed to keep it family friendly and safe. There are numerous opportunities to play in this recreation area, with ample meadows and rolling hills to explore. Considered a boondockers paradise, the Harold Price riding area is one of the most user-friendly areas in the region.
There is an area that is considered more extreme linking to the Harold Price area, and that would be Goat Mountain. The terrain transforms into extreme conditions quickly, so be trained and prepared if you choose to venture past the Harold Price Recreation Area.
The Dome recreation area, located east of Smithers off Highway 16, has a wide-open staging area 19.5 kilometres up the Babine Lake road. Watch for a small parking lot with a sign that says Dome Mountain Trail. Considered the most family-friendly trail system near Smithers, this area has played host to numerous Snowarama celebrations and poker runs. There are approximately 40 kilometres of trails in this area, with ample meadows and rolling hills to play on. Creek beds provide a skate-park-like feel and tree riding boondockers find their groove in the hillsides along the way. There is an emergency shelter up Mount McKendrick to warm weary and chilled riders.
Trail passes are necessary on all trails in the Smithers area. Either a $20 day pass or a yearly membership can be purchased at any of the three snowmobile shops in Smithers, or from the fee collectors at the staging areas.
Annual snowfall in Smithers averages 7.5 feet per year, with an average winter temperature ranging between minus five to minus 12 degrees Celcius. Be sure to check the avalanche forecast, and take advantage of beacon checkers at the trailheads.