The closing of Bluebird Backcountry was undoubtedly one of the sadder pieces of news to come out of this past summer. The ski area fully void of lifts and uphill transportation presented a great opportunity for backcountry beginners to get their feet wet without risking too much. The location was quite popular, but it just couldn’t stay. It wasn’t the only place in the world, nor North America, to try the liftless ski area concept, and it almost certainly won’t be the last.

Hankin Evelyn, located near Smithers, BC, is arguably even more of a backcountry ski area than Bluebird Backcountry was. There are cut trails, yes, but there’s no uphill transportation of any kind. It’s community operated, run by volunteers, and housing is limited to a day-use shelter and an overnight fire lookout.

“Hankin Evelyn ski area near Smithers, BC has no lifts, no base lodge and no ski school, yet skiers from across the world are flocking there in search of a new type of ski experience. Hankin Evolution examines the rise of backcountry skiing and how places like Hankin Evelyn are helping us reimagine what a classic day on the slopes looks like.”

So with rising lift ticket prices and growing lift lines, will the future of ski areas look more like Hankin Evelyn than Vail or Aspen?

I don’t think a majority of skiers and snowboarders are going to switch towards backcountry resorts anytime soon. Backcountry skiing and snowboarding really is a separate sport from resort skiing and snowboarding, and a lot of people who head to the resort are there for the resort. Sure, they like skiing and snowboarding, but they also like the fact that there’s a bar with lots of hot food and booze in the middle of the mountain, and they like that they can ride a lift to the top of the mountain.

Don’t get me wrong, backcountry skiing areas are awesome, but they aren’t for everyone, and I don’t think a majority of skiers and snowboarders love the concept as much as we do.

Related: Tuckerman Ravine Is The Birthplace of Backcountry Skiing in America

Image Credit: Salomon TV via YouTube

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