Dec 04, 2008
Sun Peaks is a huge resort in the heart of heli-skiing country that seems to have appeared out of nowhere, with rapid development in the past few years. Locals began the ski area in 1961, with volunteers carving many of the runs that are skied today. Its strides toward the future of skiing began with Nippon Cable's purchase of the former Tod Mountain in 1992. So far, more than C$450 million has gone into the re-do, with more on the way. With a first-class hotel and a whole new mountain adding almost 1,000 acres, Sun Peaks is in the big leagues. The resort's slogan is 'Three Mountains, One Village' and the third mountain has made all the difference. The resort is now ranked the largest ski area in the interior and the second largest in British Columbia behind Whistler. Al Raine and his Olympic ski-champion wife, Nancy Greene Raine, who together helped build Whistler to the international destination it is today, now call Sun Peaks home, and Nancy is both the director and ambassador of skiing here. It's a very nice chunk of mountain village and resort, with a ski area graced with huge bowls, wide runs, steep chutes and an abundance of glades.The resort has one of five North American detachable quads with a bubble, the 1.5-mile Sunburst Express, smack in the middle of the main village. Off to its right are six single-diamond steeps, all in a row, plus four steep blues off to the left. And that's not all. The Sunburst Ridge alone has 15 different trails, plus countless glades. Beginners have their own separate area near the Village Day Lodge in front of Nancy Greene's hotel, Cahilty Lodge. It's very much out of the way of busy skier traffic, affording first-timers a measure of safety.New for 2005/06, Sun Peaks purchased a second winchcat for grooming steep terrain and increased its snowmaking capacity for more even coverage during the early season, including the terrain parks and halfpipe. Also, the Ice Palace Hotel will be the first ice-sculpted hotel in Western Canada. Complete with theme rooms, a chapel and Ice Bar, this hotel will give guests a uniquely chilling experience.