You’d think Canada’s second-largest ski resort would be overrun, with lift lines that take hours to move through. After all, that’s often the scene at internationally renowned Whistler, the country’s biggest ski area.
But Sun Peaks Resort, a 4.5-hour drive northeast of Whistler, is blissfully uncrowded. And, with 12 lifts across three mountains and 4,270 acres of terrain, there’s plenty of room to spread out. The area is also easily accessible by plane via the nearby city of Kamloops, whose airport connects to Vancouver.
Downhill skiers and snowboarders relish a nice mix of beginner, intermediate and expert runs, with nearly 60 percent falling in the blue category. The resort offers rentals and lessons, including adaptive sports lessons that allow visitors with disabilities or special needs the chance to hit the slopes with an experienced guide.
There’s a bevy of other winter sports, too, so it’s easy to fill a ski break day or occupy non-skiers. Winter activities include cross-country skiing, Cat Trax groomer rides, dog sled tours, snowmobiling, guided ice fishing, horse-drawn sleigh rides, ice skating, snowshoeing, tubing and Segway tours.
A relatively little-known sport, snow biking, is also available: the activity involves an amended bicycle frame fitted with skis in place of wheels. Riders don ski boots and small skis and carve down a slope with greater ease thanks to a lower center of gravity. It’s more forgiving on the knees and back and with a much shorter learning curve than skiing or snowboarding, you’ll be shredding a green run within an hour.
Two unique activities combine food and skiing at Sun Peaks. The First Tracks Breakfast offers exclusive access to pristine, just-groomed runs followed by breakfast at Sunburst Lodge, a mid-mountain restaurant. The resort also offers a fondue dinner event involving dinner at the same mid-mountain restaurant, live music and a nighttime ski descent; Sun Peaks doesn’t otherwise offer night skiing.
A slew of events fills up the calendar, including next weekend’s two-day culinary program with Vancouver’s famed Vikram Vij, and a summer concert series with a handful of free shows.
Sun Peaks’ ski runs more or less fan out from a central village packed with dining options that range from grab-and-go sandwiches and pizza to full-service restaurants, with more than 20 eateries. One standout is the Voyageur Bistro, a cozy spot inspired by Canada’s fur trading history. Menu items take cues from that history, with ingredients like bannock and bison served in dishes that skew modern while honoring Canada’s European explorers and First Nations tribes.
Situated near the northern end of British Columbia’s premier Okanagan Valley wine country means great BC wines grace the restaurant menus here. Not bad for après ski.