British-Columbia -

Sun Peaks

The often-overlooked giant

By Alexis de Gheldere, Special Contributor and Freelance Travel Journalist

When people think about Western Canada, the first place that usually comes to mind is Whistler-Blackcomb. We’ve been there, we know it, we love it (it’s incredible!). Next in line might be classics like Banff, Jasper, Fernie, Revelstoke, Kicking Horse, and other similar resorts. If you’re lucky, you might even have had the chance to explore the far end of the Powder Highway at Red Mountain or Whitewater (two absolute gems!). But, there is yet another enormous resort tucked away in the middle of the province, a 45-minute drive from Kamloops, that is all to often overlooked—Sun Peaks! One single statistic should convince you, however: Sun Peaks is the second largest ski area in Canada after Whistler.

Standing slopeside, at the heart of the village, you’ll be able to ascertain the immensity of the place for yourself—endless pistes and summits as far as the eye can see! You won’t know which way to look! So, don’t waste a second more. Hop on a lift and get ready to tackle this unbelievably huge playground! Just a few metres up on the lift, if you peer off in the distance, you’ll see a school (elementary and high school) on the slopes. Students hop on the Poma lift, with their backpacks in tow, and head to class. At recess, they enjoy a bit of skiing as part of their four-day-a-week program, and also get to hit the slopes one full day every week. What a dream! Looking around, you’ll also notice a lot of young people and families at Sun Peaks due to the large number of intermediate and easy runs.

Luckily for us, the lift continues towards much more challenging terrain. After getting off the Sunburst, we headed to the Crystal triple chairlift, which takes you to the Sacred Line or Headwalls pistes that lead to the Distributor and four other difficult runs, including the aptly named Intimidator. At the summit of the Crystal lift or the West Bowl T-Bar, you can take off your skis for a short and not-toosteep 20-minute hike up, where you’ll be well rewarded with the Gil’s Zone sector and its intermediate off-piste skiing, including a few more intense areas. This is where you’ll find the best snow on the resort, especially when it hasn’t snowed in a few days.

All of this takes place on Tod Mountain, the resort’s main slope. Next to it is Sundance Mountain, with a slightly lower elevation. It offers mostly intermediate runs, ideal for those who are learning to ski or those who want to perfect their style. The school we mentioned earlier is actually located on this particular slope. On the opposite site sits Mt. Morrissey which, although comparable to Sundance in calibre, also boasts a sub-sector with a half-dozen difficult or very difficult runs.

At the bottom of the slopes, in the village, the street is an ocean of white. Skiers make their way from one sector to another between the rows of shops and restaurants. The atmosphere is laid back, but is clearly made for families more than it is for ski bums. As the sun sets on Sun Peaks, I daydream about moving here with my family so the kids can attend the school on the slopes and we can all enjoy an alpine way of life.



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Sun Peaks, British Columbia

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Text from 2015-2016 ski magazine

The other sun vacation

By Roger Laroche, Carnetduski.com

With some 2,000 hours of sunshine per year, Sun Peaks clearly lives up to its name. Of course, it may have another source of inspiration which you can experience for yourself when, halfway up the Sunburst lift, you literally plow through the cloud cover gathered between the three mountains of this vast ski area of 10,378 acres and end up surrounded by clear blue skies on the other side—it feels something like a plane piercing through the clouds shortly after take-off. I guarantee you’ll be totally blown away!

After enjoying the view of the clear blue skies, you can enjoy some of Sun Peaks’ clear, open runs! One of the few Canadian resorts to offer skiing above the tree line, Sun Peaks also has a range of wide off-piste runs meandering through the conifers in its 16 gladed areas. Those who love skiing wide-open spaces will definitely be in their element. Although most of the 133 trails here cater to intermediate and advanced skiers, there is plenty for young families to enjoy too. And, since all runs meet at a central point at the base, Mom or Dad can easily meet up with the rest of the family after enjoying a run or two on their own. The second largest skiable area in Canada after Whistler, Sun Peaks is located farther away from the Pacific coast, which means it is less vulnerable than its more Western counterpart to the unexpected warm winds that can disrupt the ski season. Because it kicks things off early in the year and gets an average annual snowfall of 6 metres, it’s no wonder Sun Peaks is the training ground of choice for close to 25 competitive teams in November and December.

Sun Peaks is a mega resort with a truly intimate feel. It is also abundantly clear the village here was meticulously planned out. The architecture was inspired by South Tyrol, with its charming tile roofs and colourful facades. You can choose from nine very different hotels, all of which provide ski-in/ski-out access. And, as far as restaurants go, there are 24 options available to you as well as a variety of small cafés and fast food places that are sure to please everyone’s palates. Located one hour from the Kamloops airport, Sun Peaks is also the stomping grounds of choice for Nancy Greene and her husband, Al Raines, Mayor of the municipality. Their connection to Sun Peaks is undeniably strong and they are always eager to share their love of the place. In fact, whenever they can, they are thrilled to enjoy a run or two with the resort’s visitors. Where else can you say you’ve had the chance to follow in the footsteps of—or, should I say, ski in the tracks of?—an Olympic Champion?

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Christine Quirion
Représentante à destination | On-site representative

Christine est passionnée par l’enseignement du ski alpin. Accompagnée de son conjoint certifié niveau 4 AMSC et de leurs enfants, ils ont trouvé en la station de ski Sun Peaks l’endroit parfait pour partager leur passion commune.  Ce village alpin offre une ambiance chaleureuse et accueillante pour ses visiteurs ainsi qu’un accès à l’unique école canadienne pour les enfants de 5 à 17 ans à être perchée au milieu d’un domaine skiable.  Tous les matins, les premiers skieurs de Sun Peaks sont des enfants comme ceux de Christine et Luc qui doivent monter à l’école en ski. Certifiée niveau 3 AMSC, Christine enseigne le ski pour l’école de glisse de Sun Peaks.  Elle vous fera donc découvrir le domaine skiable selon votre niveau d’habileté.  La variété du terrain, l’abondance et la qualité de la neige vous feront passer un séjour exceptionnel où chaque journée sera unique!

Christine is absolutely passionate about teaching downhill skiing. Along with her spouse, who has Level 4 certification with the CSIA, and their 4 children, the family has found that the Sun Peaks resort is the perfect place for them to share their common passion. This alpine village is friendly and inviting, and provides access to a unique school for children from 5 to 17, located right in the heart of the ski area. Every morning, the very first skiers to hit the slopes at Sun Peaks are kids, just like Christine and Luc’s, who are on their way to school. Having earned a Level 3 certification with the CSIA, Christine is a teacher at Sun Peaks’ ski school. Thanks to her experience and knowledge, Christine is equipped to help you discover the specific areas of this ski area suited to your abilities. The variety of terrain and the abundance of snow at Sun Peaks help guarantee you will have an amazing vacation, where every day is a new adventure!

Ski stations Accommodations Snow Conditions
TEMPERATURE (CELSIUS)
Month Min. Max.
January -8 -1
February -5 2
March -2 8
April 1 15
May 7 21
June 12 25
July 13 28
August 14 25
September 8 20
October 5 15
November -2 8
December -6 1

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