Home > Winter

No Lifts, No Ski School, No Lodge. How Does Hankin-Evelyn Function?

Hankin-Evelyn has 14 runs and zero lifts or T-bars. It's community operated, supported by local organizations, run entirely by volunteers, and totally free for backcountry skiers to use.

Support us! GearJunkie may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article. Learn More

Brian Hall had been looking for a backcountry ski area around Smithers, British Columbia, since he moved there in 1988. He dreamed of a place where people could go and recreate without pulling out their wallets, a place that would be there just for the community to use, to tour, to ski. So he made one. Salomon TV’s short film Hankin Evolution dives into the story.

In 2010, Hall and his daughter started developing what would become Hankin-Evelyn, British Columbia’s no-lifts, no-lodges ski area. Hankin-Evelyn has 14 ski runs, one day-use shelter, and a refurbished fire lookout on the back side that people can use overnight. There are no shops, hotels, or restaurants. It’s community-operated, supported by local sponsors, and run entirely by volunteers.

Hankin-Evelyn is just one example of a movement happening within the sport of backcountry skiing. Ski “areas” are being rethought, re-imagined, and operated differently than traditional resorts. Small operations like Shames (just 2.5 hours west of Hankin-Evelyn) or Silverton, Colo., utilize single lifts that access huge swaths of backcountry terrain. Others, like Hankin-Evelyn, only offer runs and a map of skin tracks to get to them.

Some similar backcountry ski areas have struggled to take off. Colorado’s Bluebird Backcountry announced its indefinite closure last July. A lagging economy, slow startup funding, and poor proximity to its customer base forced the mountain out of business after just three seasons.

But Hankin-Evelyn is proof that the backcountry ski area model can succeed and that people will use it. The sport is growing at an insane rate, and more people than ever are looking for outlets like this. Hankin Evolution is a backcountry skiing success story that’s far from over.

Runtime: 11 minutes

silver mountain ski resort

Indy Pass Rebrands After 4 Years, but Mission for 'Accessible' Skiing Remains

Indy Pass rebrands, including a new website and physical passes. But the collective's leaders say they will maintain their commitment to cheap skiing. Read more…

Subscribe Now

Get adventure news and gear reviews in your inbox!

Join Our GearJunkie Newsletter

Get adventure news and gear reviews in your inbox!