Sun Peaks Resort: Northeast of the Olympic Hype

Sun Peaks, BC (February 24, 2010)

With Olympic fever firmly upon Vancouver and having already sampled the slim pickings on the north shore, I made for Sun Peaks Resort over the weekend to escape the crowds in the city. Despite the poor snow year on the coast—Whistler’s solid base in the alpine notwithstanding—the interior of British Columbia has remained just cold enough to keep the mountains of the Okanagan in stellar shape. With this in mind, I opted to check out Sun Peaks Resort, 45 minutes north of the mountain biking Mecca of Kamloops and a 4.5-hour drive northeast of Vancouver.

Rising out of a dry, high plateau, Sun Peaks is the only significant peak for some miles—this was apparent as I emerged from the fog and couldn’t see anything short of the Monashees jutted out of the fog bank to the east. Up top, temperatures hovered around freezing under bluebird skies and there was little wind—“the best day of the year”, as a snowboarding mom told me on the chair.

It’s no wonder that Sun Peaks is a favorite for families and the Austrian Ski Team alike. Long, wide-open groomers dominate the mountain, with a few short steep tree shots adorned with snow ghosts and very few tracks. There is a mellow upper bowl serviced by a t-bar, which was seeing considerable action in the unusually mild conditions, with lineups quickly growing and sending me down into the trees and back to the village.

The bottom of the mountain held the attraction for the younger crowd, a long park, over which you could hit a half-dozen perfectly shaped tables ranging from 10 to 50 feet before loading a high speed quad back to the top. And the park was surprisingly empty until the afternoon, making for flowy laps in the morning, only having to dodge the occasional kid lining up the rail line mid-mountain.

Indeed, Sun Peaks lived up to its name, serving up two days of perfect weather, and long, empty groomers and park laps. Throw in a solid snowpack and a few snow-ghost bonks up high—and even the occasional pow turn—and it was a perfect complement to the Olympic madness down on the coast.

Thanks to Melanie Simmons and the rest of the crew at Sun Peaks for a great weekend—I hope to see you again soon.


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