Definitely still a locals mountain, Sun Peaks feels intimate and personal. It's Canada’s second largest ski resort, so there's no shortage of slopes. Originally named Todd Mountain it was a little known hangout for years until 1992 when they decided to transform the resort into a ski destination with major international appeal.
The village is 80 per cent ski in, ski out with a slope running through its centre meaning it’s always easy to get to the lifts. If your accommodation isn’t slope side, it won’t be more than a couple of minutes away. The village itself is pastel coloured with an intimate Austrian feel as a result and with numerous shops, bars and restaurants you will have plenty of choice on where to eat if you don’t fancy cooking (most accommodations have their own kitchens).
It’s very family friendly as well, with a decent ski school, plenty of non-ski activities such as sleigh rides and sledding and a fantastically varied terrain. Everything is in close proximity which makes for a very stress free ski holiday; no queues, no trekking to the slopes, empty pistes and friendly locals. You may even catch a free ski tour with Nancy Greene, gold medallist at the 1968 Winter Olympics, she’s around most weekends.
Skiing in the resort
From the village base, three mountains provide 4,270 acres of skiable slopes and glades, where you can stick to the pistes or dip in and out of the trees. You’ll find the area pleasantly quiet for the duration of your stay, queues are almost an old wives tale here and you’ll often find that you have the entire slope to yourself. Being inland the resort gets an abundance of light, dry snow providing fantastic conditions all season long.
Sun Peaks ski resort really comes into its own for intermediate skiers with most of the resort dedicated to lovely, windy trails from peak to base. Nearly a third of the resort is made up of black runs but in reality, most of these are more like dark reds so intermediate skiers will be able to enjoy the majority of the terrain here. There are still some steeper slopes to hunt out on Headwalls where the annual FIS Speed Ski World Cup takes place with skiers accelerating from still to 110mph in eight seconds – sounds a little daunting to us.
Beginner and intermediate skiers are in heaven here, a great resort for families for the slope layout as much as the fabulous ski schools. One of the nicer touches is that all runs lead back to the village, there really isn’t anywhere else to go. So no little ones getting lost and you can all easily meet up for lunch. Why not join a complimentary Sun Host Mountain Tour meeting next to the Sunburst chairlift. Look out for the bright orange coats they'll group you based on your ability, enjoy a few hours guided skiing departing at 9:15am and 1:00pm daily.
For the more advanced skiers amongst us Gils ski area is a controlled off piste zone only accessed via hiking. Get yourself a guide and enjoy some of the most fabulous powder runs we've ever skied. It's worth every bit of extra effort to get into it, take a picnic and enjoy the day - you'll be swapping the company of people for that of the snow ghosts (rather dramatically frozen trees).
Sun Peaks in Canada is fairly casual most evenings and for a small ski resort, there is a surprisingly good choice of bars and eateries. Bottoms is a great spot right at the base of the slopes, enjoy a couple of beers over a game of pool or watch some flips and spins in the mini park opposite (the drag lift seems to operate well into the evening). Food options vary from good value to fine dining so all budgets are catered for and a few venues offer a lively atmosphere to enjoy a couple of drinks in the evening.
Masa's is a great choice if you fancy some traditional Poutine after your day on the slopes (chips with cheese curds and gravy - it's much better than it sounds) or if you're a fan of the Bloody Mary then a Caesar should be your tipple of choice.
At the top of town there's also a brand new ice rink for this season (2016/2017) perfect for a pre-dinner skate, just don't attempt the iron lotus.
Extend your stay
A ski holiday to Sun Peaks is a wonderful trip in its own right but it also makes a great twin centre destination. Flights generally go via Vancouver so it’s easy to stop off there for a city break or if you’re looking for even more skiing, combine it with some time in Whistler.
Don't be put off but the connecting flight into Kamloops via Vancouver you will barely notice it on the way out and on the way back if you haven't already gone via whistler take a couple of nights in Vancouver. You could spend an entire day at the delicious food market on Granville Island and Yaletown has some wonderful streets to explore. Stanley Park is the largest urban park in North America and the waterfront by the convention centre is great for spotting all the sea planes buzzing about.
What we like:
- Ski in, ski out village (well the vast majority of it), you could ski between shops, bars and restaurants if you really wanted
- Almost no queues what-so-ever, the slopes are super quiet, you may even get one to yourself
- Some of the best cruising runs we've ever skied and one of best reputations from slope grooming in the world. Near perfect pistes
- There are daily complimentary mountain tours at 9:15am and 1pm, look for the bright orange coats next to the Sunburst chairlift
- You can ski with Nancy Greene Raine on Sundays at 1pm, she was a 1968 Winter Olympic gold medalist and can ski faster than you could dream of
- The 'Alpine Fondue & Starlight Descent' lets you watch the sunset from the mountain top before a slap up cheesy dinner and ski down to town under the stars - worth booking
- $60,000,000 worth of investment in the resort for 2018