Sun Peaks

Experience deep snow, endless terrain and vibrant culture at Canada’s second largest ski resort

FREESKIER
October 17, 2016

Sun Peaks Resort has to be one of the most underrated places on Earth. It’s the second largest ski resort in Canada (only topped by Whistler Blackcomb) with 4,270 acres of glorious, British Columbian terrain. Combine that with an average annual snowfall of 237 inches, and you’ve got yourself a ridiculous amount of powder skiing just waiting to be had.

Mostly focused on intermediate and expert skiers (10% beginner, 58% intermediate, 32% expert), the terrain at Sun Peaks has no shortage of challenges. Its two alpine bowls are particularly attractive for avid shredders, while tons of steep runs and gladed zones make for a great variety that suit just about anyone with a penchant for turning up the speed dial. Beginners shouldn’t feel counted out, though, as numerous surface lifts and a mellow base area provide prime learning zones.

Off the hill, Sun Peaks has a European-style village with loads of shops and restaurants to keep you occupied around the clock. And outside of the village is vast wilderness in which you can indulge in all sorts of undertakings, from snowmobiling to dog sledding. The place is a full-on winter paradise that’s under-the-radar and tons of fun to shred.

Keep your eyes peeled for Coors Light Snowbombing, rolling through Sun Peaks April 6-10; Europe’s largest and most popular snow and music festival is coming to North America for the first time, and it’s not to be missed.

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Do Sun Peaks right:

1.

The scene down low at Sun Peaks is almost as rad as it is up high. Tons of bars are waiting to get torn up for après, and you’ll earn it for sure after skiing all that deep pow.

2.

Warm up on “Five Mile,” a long and fun groomer. The name doesn’t lie; it’s five miles long and this low-consequence option will get the legs going and up your confidence while experiencing the beautiful alpine backdrop.

3.

Aside from being the hub for all-things-gnarly and the gateway to the upper alpine (the base of the Crystal chair is a few quick turns away), the Sunburst Mid-Mountain Lodge is world-famous for its award-winning sticky buns. The Sunburst patio is the best place to kick back, grab some lunch and soak in some Vitamin D while listening to the resident DJ spinning vinyl into the late afternoon.

4.

You’ve been warned: Cruising pow laps on the coveted gladed terrain of Mt.Morrisey is highly addictive. With 4,270 acres of skiable terrain to choose from at Canada’s second largest ski area, it may be hard to venture any further than this thinly-treed paradise, once your skis have descended beneath the light, champagne powder.

5.

Dubbed the “Laundromat” section of West Morrisey, this collection of runs has the steeps to clean the sheets. With names like “Lint Trap,” “Tumble Dry” and “Wringer” this challenging terrain can really push your limits.

6.

Possibly the crown jewel of the resort is “Gil’s Backcountry.” Formally out-of-bounds, this powder haven was once reserved for only the boldest and brazen of locals. However, two seasons ago, Sun Peaks brought the area into the fold and it’s been snow snorkels and face shots ever since. Just a short 10-15-minute bootpack away from the top of the Crystal Chair, Gil’s is far enough removed that much of the light and fluffy stuff remains untouched for days.

Eat, sleep, ski, repeat:

Best Eats:
You can’t beat fondue dinner at Sunburst Mid Mountain Restaurant. Ride the Sunburst Express up around 5 p.m., indulge in cheesy greatness then ski five miles all the way down to the base. On the more inexpensive side, 5Forty Café & Grill has some great soups, sandwiches, burgers, salads and $3 pints—all a skier needs.

Best Drinks:
After you gobble up all that Sun Peaks pow, finish the day strong with après at Bottom’s Bar & Grill. The pub fare is on point—with dishes like nachos, crab cakes and wings—supplemented by a wide selection of Canadian beer, wine and spirits.

Later on, get down at The Club, Sun Peaks’ paramount nightlife spot. This place has live music, DJs, a dance floor, free pool tables and huge booths to post up in with your crew.

Best Sleeps:
Sun Peaks Grand Hotel is one of the best upscale options, nestled right at the base of the mountain. It offers luxurious rooms and suites for groups of all sizes, as well as a huge pool and hot tub area, gym and sauna. And if you decide to bring a pet along, no problem; the Grand happily takes in cats and dogs.

Those on more of a budget should swing over to Nancy Greene’s Cahilty Hotel & Suites. It’s much more affordable and still has many of the upscale amenities: hot tubs, a gym, ski-in-ski-out access and more. Pets are gladly welcomed here, too. 

Must-do activity:
Check out the expansive terrain outside of Sun Peaks via a dog sled tour. Guides will take you deep into the British Columbia backcountry with the aid of many badass pooches. Both day and nighttime tours are offered.

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