DAVE ROSSI - Enjoy Vacations Blogger : 'Sun Peaks and Downhill dreams'
I met Aaron for the first chair. He was waiting outside the Guest Service office and was going to give me the locals’ tour of the mountain. With a few cennis of cold, late February snow and clear visibility, the morning was looking like one of those days where there is no place you would rather be. Deep fresh snow is amazing but impeccably groomed runs with a cover of powder makes for area skiing like no other. Sun Peaks offers up smoothness, a variety of terrain and wide-open slopes designed for first class cruising.
I was invited to ski Sun Peaks, the second largest resort in BC. But unlike its larger Coastal Neighbor, Sun Peaks has other treasures that Whistler cannot match. If you are more interested in quality interior snow, un-crowded runs, a village and shopping easily accessible and a real family friendly experience- then Sun Peaks is the place for you!
It is a place where you can find a plethora of options for the discerning family of skiers and riders. With 3 connected mountains to ski and runs that vary from bowls, steeps, old school bump runs, trees and Blue and Green groomers - Sun Peaks really offers something for everyone. Even charging hard you would be pressed to ski even a fraction of the many offerings available. At a huge 270 acres of skiable terrain Sun Peaks is the second largest area in Canada- and with an 8km run-it promises to offer exquisite riding at its best.
Family friendly is a term often overused however if it means having a village platter and village chair- actually in the village- combined with a fantastic terrain park with features and hits for everyone, night skiing and a NHL sized covered ice rink then this is a family resort at its finest. Weather you are a skier, rider or a non- skier there really is something for everyone to enjoy. Everything is close! You can walk through the snowy village, shop or eat at many interesting stores and stroll on a walkway to the ice rink- Snowshoe trails, walking paths and world class XC skiing with views- there is nothing missing. We stayed at the Grand, located in the heart of the village. Newly renovated and matching its name- I felt like a ski celebrity in the luxurious hotel.
Sun Peaks even has a real Canadian national treasure in the persona of Nancy Greene-our most winning Olympian and World cup champion. You can still find her skiing, smiling and making it look easy.
Aaron proceeded to give me the fast tour and our first run was a blue cruiser- Sundance. I didn’t see any dancers and I didn’t see Aaron either as he ended up being a speed demon. With a “follow me” he pointed them down to the bottom leaving me to make short turns on the smooth runs edge. Freshly groomed with a couple of cm of fresh made for perfect carving. With the slopes devoid of people we could open it up on the almost empty slopes. The snow underneath, although hard, was perfect for railing the skis. Laying them over on edge felt like they were on tracks- fantastic skiing!
We ripped a couple of long blues then headed over to the Sunburst Chair and skied Sting, an impeccably groomed black.
Aaron, being gracious host that he was, wanted to show me a taste of the many offerings and so we headed up the New Crystal chair to the top. On our left was the wide-open Crystal Bowl looking amazing however Aaron had other ideas. At the top we headed over to Gils traverse and after a short skate and boot pack hit the trees of Gils. You could drop into a variety of open tree lines where we found fresh snow and first tracks.
It was then off to the Morrisey express and although shorter runs the north facing slopes really held the powder snow. Morrisey is all about progression starting with greens and working to blacks as you work your way from skiers right to left. We skied a couple of cruisers and what really impressed me were the trees. The designers had left islands of trees that complimented the terrain. It really was Canadian skiing at its finest.
We then made our way to the blacks that were devoid of people. These blacks held interesting terrain with some even slightly off camber, it reminded me of what ski runs used to be- Old School and different from the wide open blacks of Sunburst. Fantastic big bumps with lines that really let a person express their inner wild side. Again we found first tracks and lots of untouched tree lines.
Back at the village we skied up to a coffee shop- ski in convenience at it’s finest and wrapped up our day with fresh baking and a steaming cappuccino.
Sun Peaks also has history. Originally called Tod Mountain it has been providing skiers and riders with quality shredding for many years. There is a reason that Nancy Greene resides and skis here- the great mix of everything makes Sun Peaks a fantastic destination for families and hard-core riders alike.