A blanket of snow draws skiers, but it’s just as fun to explore via snowmobile, dog sled or on foot. Photo by Reuben Krabbe.
As Canada’s second-largest ski area, Sun Peaks sprawls, with amenities fit for a small city, but it’s the small-town vibe of this community that should appeal to vacationers looking for an escape from urban life
The sun-starved among us (and, living in the Pacific Northwest, who isn’t?) should defy the snowbirds and head north for the winter. Less than an hour from the city of Kamloops in the arid Thompson-Okanagan region of interior British Columbia, Sun Peaks occupies a prime location in the flower-covered foothills of the Shushwap Highlands. But despite its sunny locale, the resort soaks up passing snowstorms, with nearly 20 feet of snowfall annually.
With more than 4,000 acres of skiable terrain stretching across three peaks, there’s little reason to cross your own tracks—or anyone else’s for that matter. And the locals are all too happy to show you their favorite spots, from the sunny subalpine of Burfield to the long, swooping groomers of Sundance to the north-facing gladed runs of Mt. Morrisey.
Photo by Kelly Funk.
There are just as many options off the slopes, from cross-country skiing to snowmobiling to dog sledding. In fact, a guest could fill a holiday with memorable experiences and not once set foot on the slopes.
The resort shines after the sun goes down, too, with a number of dining and drinking options in the pedestrian-only village.
Sun Peaks also hosts the province’s second-oldest lift-served bike park, just behind Whistler—last year marked its 20th anniversary.
For two decades, serious riders have revered Sun Peaks for its steep, raucous riding. But, in addition to newer showpiece expert trails such as Steam Shovel and its opportunities for steep lines and big airs, a new top-to-bottom trail caters to beginning riders and gives them opportunities for skills progression. Meanwhile, riders who like to keep their bikes on the level can take a mellow pedal to McGillivray Lake for a picnic on the shores of the lake.
Go in the summer to take advantage of boating, biking and family-friendly fun. Photo by Blake Jorgenson.
Besides its biking bona fides, Sun Peaks has much to offer hikers, with 18 trails ranging from easy strolls to strenuous summits. Start from the village or let the high-speed Sunburst chairlift do most of the climbing to reach Tod Mountain, where, on a clear day—of which there are many—scissor-shaped Shuswap Lake is visible to the east. At your feet, countless colorful alpine blooms carpet the slopes.
As in the winter, even if you never once set foot on the slopes, you’ll find your day filled. From golf to geocaching to horseback rides, the resort has no shortage of ways to fill those long summer days. Or simply stroll the flagstone walkways of the compact, European-style village and window shop for outdoor gear and Sun Peaks souvenirs.
Photo by Blake Jorgenson.
Multi-generational families will find something for everyone. The new kids’ Progression Park eases younger riders into gravity-fueled mountain biking. For those with a bit of experience, the Shred Hard Summer Camp, taught by local pro Dylan Sherrard, provide a week of intensive but fun instruction (with plenty of ice cream breaks).
In the base area, kids can sift for colorful gems at Tod Mountain Mining Co., take a ride on mini carts and mountain carts, or take flight on the bungee trampoline. Parents can watch from the patio of Masa’s Bar + Grill or the hot tub of the Sun Peaks Grand Hotel. This is the sort of place where parents feel comfortable letting their kids pedal and play under the streetlamps well after dark. It’s a big resort, but a small town.
Start planning your Sun Peaks adventure today at sunpeaksresort.com.