Earth : North America : Canada : British Columbia : Thompson-Okanagan : Thompson-Nicola : Sun Peaks
Sun Peaks  is a municipality and ski resort near Kamloops in British Columbia, Canada. There is something to do year-round for just about anyone. In winter, there is world-class skiing, as well as numerous other winter sports. In 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, as well as numerous events and festivals, for those who wish to have a more "relaxed" vacation time. The official name of the Sun Peaks community is the Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality.
Sun Peaks started as a ski resort on Tod Mountain. The resort was founded by Harry Burfield, and The Burfield Lodge and first chair-lift at Sun Peaks opened to the public in 1961. The resort has expanded significantly in the years since and now covers three mountains: Tod Mountain, Sundance and Mount Morrisey.
Residential construction began in 1988, when a 49 lot subdivision across from the Burfield Lodge began construction. There are now over 400 residents. The community was incorporated as a resort municipality in 2008.
Sun Peaks Resort was the first ski resort in North America and remains the only resort in Canada to receive the ISO 14001 designation recognizing its environmental policies and practices.
Sun Peaks gets an average annual snowfall of 220 in (or more than 18 ft) (559 cm / 5.5 m) The resort village is at an elevation of 4117 ft (1255 m) above sea level, and the top lift elevation is 6824 ft (2080 m). 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 2,000 hours of sunlight annually.
Sun Peaks is located on Tod Mountain Road, which is accessed from BC Highway 5 at Heffley Creek, north of Kamloops. The total driving distance from Kamloops is 50 km, or roughly 45 minutes. Other major centers nearby include Kelowna (2 1/2 hours away, via Hwy 97 and Hwy 5), Vancouver (4 1/2 hours away, via Hwy 1 and Hwy 5), Jasper (5 hours away, via Hwy 16 and Hwy 5) and Banff (6 hours away, via Hwy 1 and Hwy 5).
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. 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 can be accessed easily from either of two airports:
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.
The most popular winter activity at Sun Peaks is skiing and snowboarding at Sun Peaks Resort . The ski resort features 3,678 acres of ski runs and 2,891 vertical feet of downhill spread over three mountains. It has some of the best weather for skiing in Canada, with an average of over 2,000 hours of sunshine per year.
Aside from downhill and cross-country skiing and snowboarding, there are many other things to do. A short list includes:
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.
If you're looking for something a little different, Tod Mountain Guest Ranch is only 15 mins drive from Sun Peaks Resort. Accommodation is in luxuriously furnished cabins and the guest lodge has superb guest facilities including fireside lounge, games room, TV lounge, internet access, guest laundry facilties etc. The ranch can accommodate up to 16 guest and for groups of 10 or more can be booked for your groups exclusive use.
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
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.