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Published: March 30th 2018
The second stop on our ski tour of Canada is the resort of Sun Peaks. We decided to ski here as friends of ours in Australia, who are very keen skiers come here regularly and recommended it.
Sun Peaks is still in BC but inland from Vancouver about 6 hours by bus along Highway 1. The bus goes to Calgary, but we get off at the town of Kamloops which is a regional centre of close to 100,000 people. The resort is a further hour from Kamloops needing a local mini-bus transfer which you need to book. Sun Peaks in the same general area as Big White and Silverstar, inland in BC but not as far East a number of the other resorts and this is not yet the Rockies.
We've pre-booked our accommodation here as we found it was cheaper to do this than arranging it locally. The resort village is at 1200m altitude and looks to be purpose built but tastefully done with the hotels built to look like individual houses. It's not a huge place, spread out along 2-3km of the valley, but has all that we need even if there is only 1 supermarket with
limited stock. In the centre there are about 6 large lodges (hotels) that have shops/restaurants on the ground floor, plus a few resort buildings. We're staying in the Sundance lodge (regrettably there doesn't seem to be a Cassidy lodge) which is right next to the 2 main chairlifts. Our room is excellent and has 2 double beds, cable TV, a gas fire and a Kitchenette.
For the first week we are here, Sun Peaks is hosting an international speed skiing competition. It turns out this is a serious FIS comp with the top speed skiers in the world competing all fitted out in rubber suits, aero helmets and boot fins. The sport is not for the faint hearted and consists of skiing straight down a very steep slope going as fast as possible. The winner is the fastest competitor, measured as they cross the speed gun near the bottom of the course.
We're here for almost 2 weeks so have plenty of time to explore the resort. In the first week we have almost 20cm of fresh snow, followed by a few sunny days and then another light snow fall in the second week, but not quite enough
to restore the off-piste conditions to good. We do manage to get some fresh tracks so can't complain.
After the warm days, I'm on the look out for bears in the woods and wonder if some track we see in the fresh snow are perhaps from a bear, but - perhaps fortunately - we don't see any. What I originally think is bear fur on the snow is actually something falling from the branches of the fir trees.
Sun Peaks is quite family orientated and doesn't have the very steep runs that are favoured so much in North America, but that is probably a good thing. However, it is a large area and does have plenty of tough runs and very good snow, so it is a bit of an undiscovered gem. For me the gladed skiing here isn't ideal (too heavily wooded) and the resort could improve (one chairlift takes 22 minutes to go from the bottom to the top which is really slow and the West bowl T-bar would be far better if it started 200m lower), but overall it's a very good resort and we have some excellent days skiing. It's also not a cold
as I was expecting, but perhaps we sore lucky in Jan it might be a bit different.
We have a very enjoyable couple of weeks here, but now I'm quite keen to hit the road onto our next destination. Revelstoke our next stop is only 3 hours east of Kamloops by Greyhound bus.
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