23 February 2018 from Danielle in 'Ski areas''

At the top of the Crystal lift at Sun Peaks

At the top of the Crystal lift at Sun Peaks

Nestled halfway between Vancouver and the Rocky Mountains is Sun Peaks Resort, Canada’s second-largest ski area and best-kept secret. Savvy skiers and snowboarders who want to avoid the crowds will enjoy the varied terrain, lively village scene and full roster of activities at this world-class ski resort. And, of course, there’s that famous North American champagne powder – light, fluffy snow that makes it feel like you’re skiing on clouds! With frequent connecting flights out of London Gatwick on British Airways and WestJet Airline, getting to Sun Peaks Resort is cheaper and easier than ever.

Overview: Skiing at Sun Peaks Resort in Canada

Sun Peaks has three general ski areas – Sundance, Mt. Tod and Mt. Morrissey – with the village located in the centre. With a variety of pistes available off each lift, the layout is very family-friendly and especially good for mixed-ability groups. Beginners and intermediates can ski here without feeling overwhelmed, but there is also a snow park as well as plenty of steep black pistes and moguls for experts to sink their teeth into. Sun Peaks is proud of their snow-grooming techniques and despite having less snow, the ski area tends to get excellent snow coverage from early in the season. Thanks to the abundant terrain and lack of crowds, the mountain is slow to get skied out. Even several days after the last snowfall, it’s not unusual to find a powder stash all to yourself!

Piste map of Sun Peaks Resort, Canada

Piste map of Sun Peaks Resort, Canada

Our tips: Exploring the terrain at Sun Peaks

Take the Sunburst lift and warm up with Cruiser, a blue piste with a great view of the resort below. Off Sunburst we particularly liked 5th Avenue with its big, ungroomed moguls. On the Crystal lift, experts can play around on Green Door and Sacred Line, while intermediate skiers will enjoy the Crystal Run. From the top of Crystal you can take a small hike to Gil’s Traverse, formerly an off-piste zone, or aim for Burfield. Veer left at the top of Burfield chair, follow Juniper Ridge and take your pick of steep black pistes off the mountain face. From the top of Burfield you can also access the West Bowl T-bar, a beautiful wide-open bowl with loads of powdery blues and some trees to zigzag through. Another day, take the Sundance lift and follow Three Bears or Peak-a-Boo to access the ski tunnel to Morrissey. This side of Sun Peaks is truly special and great for mixed-ability groups. Green, blue and black runs all lead through the trees, with nothing too intimidating. Our favourite pistes here were The Sticks, Mid-Life Crisis and Static Cling. Keep in mind that In Tatters, Wringer and Tumble Dry do not lead back to the lift.

View of Sundance and Mt. Tod

View of Sundance and Mt. Tod

Ski-through village centre

The village at Sun Peaks Resort is located right in the middle of the ski area and is organised around a “ski-through” concept, so it’s not uncommon to see people skiing and snowboarding through the village centre. The resort has a European feel, with Tyrolean-inspired architecture and more than a few excellent shops, restaurants and cosy cafés. Local staples include Bolacco’s Cafe, which has been with Sun Peaks since the resort’s inception; and Bottom’s, a great place to grab a pint with a view of the slopes. For supper, we enjoyed a delicious schnitzel at Powder Hounds, run by a German couple. Après-ski fans can hit up Morrissey’s pub, which has a friendly local vibe. And you would be remiss not to indulge in a mouth-watering cinnamon bun, available in the Annex or at the mid-mountain Sunburst Lodge.

Enjoying a hard-earned cinnamon bun!

Enjoying a hard-earned cinnamon bun!

Loads of other activities on offer at Sun Peaks

If you’re making the trek to Sun Peaks, it’s definitely worth taking a day or two off skiing and checking out the other activities on offer. For a quintessential North American experience, try ice fishing in a heated tent. You can even take your catch home to cook for supper - your host will provide recipe recommendations. Sun Peaks is also one of the original ski resorts to offer Snow Limo Tours for non-skiers. If you’re more of a nighttime person, consider taking a ride in a piste basher or indulging in a three-course fondue meal followed by a torch-lit descent down one of the valley runs. Sun Peaks also recently opened a regulation-sized outdoor ice skating rink. Meanwhile, animal lovers won’t be able to resist going on a dogsledding tour. If you’re lucky you might just spot a few of the cute puppies wandering around the village!

Dog sled tours © Tourism Sun Peaks

Dog sled tours © Tourism Sun Peaks

Event calendar

The ski resort has a jam-packed event calendar, with no shortage of local and international events. Coming up soon is the FIS Speed Ski World Cup's only North American stop at Sun Peaks from March 3-7. And fans of the annual Snowbombing music festival at Mayrhofen in Austria will be delighted to hear that the world’s greatest show on snow will also visit Sun Peaks this spring. From April 5-9, Coors Light Snowbombing Canada presents world-class headliners at some incredibly stunning venues.

© Snowbombing Canada

© Snowbombing Canada

FIS piste Headwalls Speed Track

Headwalls Speed Track (pictured centre): FIS Speed Ski World Cup tour piste

Knee-deep in powder snow!

Knee-deep in powder snow!

Getting to Sun Peaks Resort: Flights to Canada

Getting here from the UK is easy. British Airways, WestJet and Air Canada offer connecting flights from London to nearby Kamloops, with deals starting around £350 for certain dates. From Kamloops airport there are frequent shuttle buses that will take you to Sun Peaks for around $50 (£30). You can also fly into the slightly further airports of Kelowna or Vancouver. For hassle-free booking, reserve ski pass + accommodation packages directly with Tourism Sun Peaks. This ski resort is one of Canada’s best-kept secrets but it won’t stay that way for long. Sun Peaks is in rapid expansion, with plans in the works for more hillside accommodation as well as new lifts that will significantly increase the ski area. Don’t miss your chance to visit before the secret gets out!

Champagne powder at Sun Peaks ski resort

Champagne powder at Sun Peaks ski resort

This trip was made possible in part thanks to Tourism Sun Peaks

Born and raised in the ski paradise of Vancouver, Canada, I learned to ski before I can remember, balancing precariously on my parents’ skis as they sailed down the hill. I started snowboarding in my teens and am now delighted to be exploring everything Europe’s ski scene has to offer!