SUN PEAKS, BC — From past visits to Sun Peaks, located just outside of Kamloops, British Columbia, I concluded it was a nice “family destination.” Oh how wrong I was.
Being a great hill for families still holds true, but thanks to a serious shred session with Olympic champion Nancy Greene, my assessments were blown out of the water.
Greene, who, along with her husband, Al Raine, call this village home, are very active within this epic snow destination and make themselves available to take guests out for a ski almost daily.
When we met up in the morning, her first question was “What do you want to ski – Blues or steeps?”
Having just come off a stellar three-day adventure in Revelstoke, my answer was immediate, “The steeps and deeps please.”
“All right then. Let’s head over to Sting and then move on to a few other of my top spots,” said the two-time Olympic medal champion and senator.
Sun Peaks is an approximate eight-hour drive east of Edmonton, Alberta along the Yellowhead highway, and has long been internationally recognized for its family elements. Ashley Tait, spokesperson for the village, agrees they have some top features which make them one of the world’s most friendly of family destinations.
“Our overall temperate climate which includes impressive snowfalls, our condensed but varied village options and our terrain variety, providing something for everyone off each chair, help us keep our honours,” Tait explained.
Back on the slopes, Greene opened my eyes to the “other side of this destination.” She was serving up a taste of some stellar lines available in this three mountain ski arena. One run lived up to its name, a double diamond marked ‘Static Cling’, which is exactly what you need to stick to the side of this impressive grade found on Mount Morrisey.
“A bit of Revelstoke right here in Sun Peaks,” said Greene, as we worked our way down the run.
There are a few signature events helping to make this destination a very sophisticated choice for any snow seeker. Included in these options is the Subaru Velocity Challenge, taking place annually at Sun Peaks in March. This race is the only North American stop for the FIS World Cup speed skiing circuit.
“Our course is known as one of the scariest races,” said Greene, as we hovered over it, just barely seeing over the edge. “Most courses are convex, while ours is concave, meaning racers can’t see over the other side and this adds an extra element of suspense.”
Racers from around the globe will hit speeds of 170 km per hour in eight seconds, leaving them only four seconds to stop.
Another event to think about is the Ice Wine Festival which is held in January. It’s a first-class event which showcases the Okanagan’s top wines paired with a perfect village setting.
“This past year we had to expand the program,” said Tait. “Being our 10th year of the event, we wanted to make it bigger and better than ever.”
And finally, if it’s good enough for the Austrians, than it’s good enough for me. To be in a mountainous country such as Austria and still select Canada and Sun Peaks as your official training grounds, in my opinion, speaks volumes to its fast moving terrain options.
Every November, the Austrian mens and ladies alpine squad invade the village to train on Sun Peak’s ever improving race course. It was such a big deal for the resort, they put in a new lift – Elevation – to help serve the course.
“It’s great for the racers, but it’s also great for the guests,” said Greene. “Here on the southeast corner of this mountain, there are a tonne of exciting tree options and this lift gets you right to them.”
On your quest to to find new opportunities to shred some gnar, look no further than Sun Peaks Resort. Complement your visit and get inside tips from Greene herself with a stay at her outstanding slope-slide facility, Nancy Greene’s Cahility Lodge.
The lodge features outdoor/indoor hot tubs and Raine’s signature tips for the day found on its exclusive “guests only-channel four” and special welcome receptions.
Don’t miss a beat with the big days on the mountains – grab a quick breakfast or lunch across the street at the 5 Forty Deli & Café, my choice for the best sandwiches in the west.
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