Sun Peaks Ski Resort Aerial
By Cheryl Rhodes
Sun Peaks Resort is a year round tourist destination, about a 45 minute drive from Kamloops and a 4 hour drive from the Vancouver area if taking the Coquihalla Highway between Hope and Kamloops. Add a couple of hours if driving the Fraser Canyon Highway 1 route from Hope. Originally known as Tod Mountain, it was a popular winter ski hill for people living in the Southern Interior of British Columbia. During the 90’s an alpine village was formed bringing hotels, condominiums, a golf course, shops, restaurants, and a sport centre with a swimming pool, hot tub, and tennis courts. It’s come a long way from the days when Tod Mountain offered two days of free ski lessons, including equipment rental and lift pass, just to entice people to drive out here. Sun Peaks is now promoted as a ski in/ski out resort and nicknamed Canada’s Alpine Village.
Sun Peaks is steadily gaining momentum as a world class ski resort, but there are plenty of reasons to visit after the snow has melted. One of the best reasons is that summer is the off-season and hotel rates are lower, with accommodations often being found at less than $100/night. That’s a great deal when compared to high season hotel rates in summer hot spots around the Okanagan. Sun Peaks is also a dog friendly resort and many hotels welcome pets, and dogs are allowed on the valley trails.
A day pass on the Sunburst Express chair lift costs $18 and takes hikers to trails where they can spend the day exploring and hiking the mountain. An attraction for visitors are the alpine blossoms unique to Sun Peaks where meadows are carpeted under an explosion of vibrant colours – flowers, flowers everywhere, as far as the eye can see.
If you’d rather ride your bike down the mountain, the daily rate is $39 and bikers also take the Sunburst chair lift that’s outfitted with bike carriers to hit the bike park. Alternately there is a one ride pass for $22 and there’s a trail that offers bikers a more leisurely ride down the mountain.
Nearby McGillivary Lake – 4 km on a walking trail or 5 minutes by car down the road – is the place to spend a lazy day paddling a canoe or kayaking. If you don’t have a boat, you can rent one here for $69 (8 hours) or $39 (4 hours).
If you have a kid who’s dreamed of becoming a gymnast after watching the Olympics on TV, or one who has some excess energy to burn, head over to the bungee trampoline. Cost is $7 for one ride and tickets can be purchased at the guest services desk in the Village Day Lodge.
The Sun Peaks golf course is British Columbia’s highest elevated course with Morrisey, Tod, and Sundance Mountains offering a spectacular scenic backdrop. Fees vary for this 18 hole course, but start at $65 for a mid-week rate including a power cart.
If you’re interested in seeing the mountain on horseback, see guest services in the Village Day Lodge and they will arrange a trail ride with Tod Mountain Ranch, just down the road.
The Sun Peaks Sports & Aquatic Centre has a swimming pool and hot tub. Day pass costs $6. If you want to play tennis, court rental is $5/hour.
Every Sunday from June 30 to September 8, 2013 a farmer’s market is held in the village from 9:30am to 1:30pm with vendors selling produce, baked goods, and crafts.
Sun Peaks is holding a series of concerts this summer. Canadian rock legend Burton Cummings will be performing on July 13, 2013 around 6 or 7pm. As part of the concert series, various bands will be performing all afternoon starting around noon and Burton Cummings will be the final act when the other musicians have finished. He was part of The Guess Who band and then struck out as a solo singer in the 70’s. Some of his hits, either with The Guess Who or solo are: Stand Tall, American Woman, Fine State of Affairs, American Woman, and These Eyes. Concert goers bring blankets or camp chairs and stake out a piece of the hill in this natural amphitheatre to enjoy the music. It’s okay to bring dogs to the concert series, but recommended to choose a spot further away from the stage where it’s less noisy and won’t hurt the dog’s ears.
For more information, visit the Sun Peaks website http://www.sunpeaksresort.com/
Published: July 5, 2013
Cheryl Rhodes writes from Surrey, British Columbia where she lives with two dogs and three horses. She’s the author of 5 novels and a cookbook, and enjoys traveling, photography, swimming, geocaching, reading, and writing mysteries. Visit her at www.cherylrhodes.com