Difference between revisions of "Sun Peaks"
Revision as of 16:07, 24 June 2008
Sun Peaks is a year-round resort town, located in the interior of British Columbia, Canada near Kamloops. It has 3678 acres of ski runs and 2891 vertical feet downhill on three mountains, which all lead to the resort village. Sun Peaks is known worldwide to have the best grooming in Western Canada and the best weather for skiing in Canada (with an average of over 2000 hours of sunshine per year). There is something to do there year-round for just about anyone. In the winter, there is, of course, the world-class skiing, as well as numerous other winter sports. In the summer, the area is transformed into a hiker’s and biker’s paradise, with mountain trails for adventurers of all levels of experience. There is also an 18-hole golf course at the resort, as well as numerous events and festivals, for those who wish to have a more "relaxed" vacation time in the mountains of BC.
The Sun Peaks ski resort currently consists of 3 mountains of ski runs; Tod Mountain (the original ski run), Sundance and Mount Morrisey. Sun Peaks resort was founded by Harry Burfield, and The Burfield Lodge and first chair-lift at Sun Peaks opened to the public in 1961. At the time, it was simply known as Tod Mountain. The lodge was damaged by fire in 1968 and remained closed to the public while it was being rebuilt. It opened again in December of 1970. Mr. Burfield died in a plane crash in 1971 while touring the mountain on which he founded the resort. The Shuswap Double Chair Lift was constructed in 1972, and the Crystal Triple Chair Lift was installed in 1979. A year later, in 1980, the Shuswap Day Lodge was built. In 1988, a 49 lot subdivision across from the Burfield Lodge began construction. That same year, a fire caused major damage to the top station of the Crystal Chair. In 1990, the paving of the road from Whitecroft Village to Tod Mountain was finished, and in 1992, Nippon Cable Company Ltd. of Tokyo, Japan (now known as Hi-Lex Corporation ) purchased Tod Mountain. There’s much more in the recent history of Sun Peaks, and you can read about it here:  Sun Peaks Resort was the first ski resort in North America and is the only resort in Canada to receive the ISO 14001 designation recognizing the resorts environmental policies and practices.
Sun Peaks gets an average annual snowfall of 220 in (or more than 18ft) (559 cm / 5.5 m) The resort village is at an elevation of 4117ft (1255m) above sea level, and the top lift elevation is 6824ft (2080m). The yearly average temperature is 22F (-6C), with highs in the winter around the freezing mark and lows around 14F (-10C). In the summer, the high temperatures average around 67F (13C), but can reach up into the high 80’s (F) (20’s C). The resort is probably known as “Sun” Peaks because it averages over 2000 hours of sunlight annually.
Sun Peaks can be accessed easily from either of two airports:
Sun Peaks can be reached from almost any direction on major highways. Here's a list of travel times from several major centers nearby:
It’s easy to get to and from Sun Peaks by bus from Kamloops. There’s a shuttle that runs every day of the year (except Christmas day and New Years day) that arrives at the resort by 9am and departs for Kamloops again at 4pm. The cost is only $10.00. There are no reservations available, and space on the bus is on a first come, first served basis.
There is also another shuttle that runs between Whistler and Sun Peaks.
Sun Peaks is a pretty small town. There’s no need of a car or taxi to get around. Everything is easily accessible on foot or on bike (in the summer).
Aside from the skiing in the winter months, no one really does anything else in Sun Peaks from about October to March. There are a couple of art galleries nearby in Kamloops to visit that are open year-round though:
There is, of course, the splendid scenery in and around Sun Peaks to see year-round. Since it’s right in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the scenery couldn’t be much more spectacular. In the summer, you can hike and bike on trails on the mountains, and in the winter, you can ski on them. What more could you ask for as far as beautiful views in and of the mountains?
Sun Peaks has no shortage of activities for you to take part in. There are lots of things to do year-round, for people of all levels of physical ability, as well as just relaxing around a hot tub. Below, there is a list based on the time of year, as well as a few things to do at Sun Peaks year-round.
Winter activities at Sun Peaks are many and varied. Aside from downhill and cross-country skiing and snowboarding on the many public ski runs and trails on any of the three mountains, there are many other things to do at the resort. Here’s a short list:
Sun Peaks, being a resort village, has many shops and stores that cover everything from clothing and sportswear to artwork by local artists, to gourmet chocolate, to gifts. There is also a new 3500 sq ft grocery store for your everyday needs while staying at Sun Peaks. It would be hard to list every shop at Sun Peaks here, so again, I suggest you Google “shopping at Sun Peaks” or visit one of the many sites devoted to Sun Peaks that will have lists of shops, and links to their websites.
Employment at Sun Peaks is mainly found at the ski hills, as a ski instructor, tour guide, hill groomer, etc. There are plenty of jobs at the hotels, and at local stores and shops as well as local services like firefighting, garbage collection, etc. Jobs at Sun Peaks are fairly hard to come by, as the competition is fierce among students. There are also Okanagan University College in Kelowna and Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, where one might find employment in the area. Sun Peaks resort also offers internships to those that are taking hotel management or hospitality courses at college, and apprenticeship programs in electrical, carpentry, plumbing, and mechanics; again, to those who are taking such a course at college already.
Eat & Drink
The official Sun Peaks Resort website  has a large list of places to eat and drink. I'd suggest visiting there first, to see what the resort has to offer. If you don't find what you're looking for there, you could visit the Owner Direct Vacation Rentals site, which has an extensive Sun Peaks travel guide, featuring Activities, Services, accommodations as well as restaurants and bars .
There is no shortage of places to stay at Sun Peaks. Being a ski resort, there are plenty of hotels and lodges in the vicinity. Here's a short list of hotels and lodges:
If you're really on a budget, or prefer more of a rustic type of vacation, hostels are a good alternative place to stay. There's only one that I know of in Sun Peaks:
Vacation Rentals at Sun Peaks are another alternative to staying at a hotel. The price is almost the same, but the place you'll be staying at is more than just a room at a hotel, it can be a single-family home, or a condo or an apartment. Vacation rentals are a great alternative because you can generally find something to fit almost any budget.
10-digit dialling is mandatory in British Columbia, and the area code for Sun Peaks is 250, which is the same as Vancouver Island. The Greater Vancouver area uses the area code 604. Recently, the area code 778 was added to all regions of the province to make up for a looming shortage of phone numbers in the area.
FM Radio Stations
Though I have yet to find any reports of bear attacks at Sun Peaks, the resort is located in the Rocky Mountains and fairly isolated from any major cities. There is always the chance of an encounter with a bear or even possibly a cougar when deep in the mountains. If you are skiing or hiking or otherwise travelling off the beaten path in the backcountry, it is wise to take any precautions necessary to protect yourself in case of such an encounter. Always carry a cell phone or other radio device, so you can contact someone in an emergency, and never travel alone. Since this is a mountainous region, there is also the risk of falling and being injured badly enough to not be able to make it back to where you came from. Again, always travel with an experienced guide or group, and make sure you have access to a radio transmitting device in case of an emergency situation.
There are elements of risk that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce. Regardless of how you use the slopes, always show courtesy to others. Please adhere to the code listed below and share with others the responsibility for a safe outdoor experience.
See: Get In for travelling instructions in and out of Sun Peaks.