Sun up to sun down – Sun Peaks Resort offers action packed days
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Sun Peaks has enticing activities to tempt you to experience first and last tracks
Canada’s second-largest ski area, Sun Peaks Resort, demands days of exploration to appreciate it fully. Or you can enjoy it on one long day, thanks to a pair of unique offerings at the resort, skiers can schuss from sunup to sundown — and beyond.
8:06 am: From the top of the Sunburst Express “bubble” quad, my ski partner, Marlie Marchewka — a local snowboarder and unofficial Sun Peaks ambassador for the day — watches morning light stream over Mt. Morrisey on the far side of the resort.
The lifts don’t start spinning for the public for another hour, but we’ve signed up for the First Tracks program, which offers early-bird access to the mountain. The program, offered Monday, Wednesday and Saturday throughout the season, is limited to 80 participants each day, so skiers can count on untracked lines in the Crystal Bowl zone on Tod Mountain – you just need a valid lift ticket for the day to go with it.
8:47 am: It’s a full bluebird day here at the top of Crystal Chair. Thanks to its location as a high-elevation “island” in the South Thompson, Sun Peaks lives up to its name. With few surrounding peaks to trap them, storms tend to dump snow, depart, and make way for sun.
Mid-morning fast snack
10:17 am: In the Annex, in the base-area village (which is totally ski-in, ski-out), we’re taking an early lunch break while most guests are still wriggling into ski boots. I tuck into a breakfast sandwich from the Annex’s new menu. These are not the foil-wrapped heat-lamp hostages of the typical ski resort grill, but made-to-order, knife-and-fork meals. Best of all, the First Tracks Program includes a voucher for the meal. Between this and our happy-hour vouchers for Masa’s Grill, the skiing portion of our passes works out to about $9 US.
2:43 pm: We finish off our Sun Peaks circuit on the Mt. Morrisey side of the resort. Revered by locals as “Little Revy,” Mt. Morrisey is the best-kept secret of the trio of peaks that comprise the resort. Fast, fall-line black diamond runs hold powder even late in the day. No matter which of the laundromat-inspired runs — Lint Trap, Tumble Dry, In Tatters — you choose; it’s a white cycle every time.
Après Ski in a cozy chair
3:43 pm: The leather library chairs surrounding the fireplace in Masa’s Bar and Grill would, under any other circumstances, make an ideal après ski spot. But as the sun sets with a final flare of colour in the clouds, we’re planning the second half of our marathon ski day: the Alpine Fondue and Starlight Descent.
Offered Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout the ski season, the Alpine Fondue and Starlight Descent begins with a twilight chairlift ride to the newly renovated Sunburst Bar & Eatery at mid-mountain. There, guests partake in a three-course fondue dinner inspired by the executive chef’s Swiss heritage: a rich three-cheese blend with bread, potatoes and pineapple (the surprise star); shrimp, steak, chicken and pork, with house-made dipping sauces; and Swiss chocolate with fruit and shortbread.
6:41 pm: A bright strawberry balances on a fondue fork, dripping Swiss chocolate. Prepared and eaten one bite at a time, our meal inspires my table mates and I to slow down and savour the company — and our surroundings — over the tangle of fondue forks.
7:56 pm: Wrapped in the small radius of my headlamp’s light, I ski toward the glow of Sun Peaks Village below. Even after dark, it shines. On the other side of the village, groomers grind up the runs on Mt. Morrisey. Above, stars twinkle in the resort’s characteristically clear skies. Just over 12 hours after loading the chair for my first run of the day, I’m finishing my last.