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Sun Peaks

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Revision as of 15:19, 24 June 2008 by Occasional Traveller (talk | contribs) (Work: jobs at Sun Peaks)
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Sun Peaks

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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 [1]) purchased Tod Mountain. There’s much more in the recent history of Sun Peaks, and you can read about it here: [2] 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.

Get in

By plane

Sun Peaks can be accessed easily from either of two airports:

  • Kamloops Airport [3] is a 45 minute drive from Sun Peaks.
  • Kelowna International Airport [4] is a 2-1/2 hour drive from Sun Peaks.

By train

  • As of December 2, 2008, VIA Rail (the major Canadian passenger rail service) made schedule changes that allowed people traveling to and from Vancouver or Jasper to arrive in Kamloops late evening or early morning and then catch a shuttle to Sun Peaks Resort.
  • Vancouver - Kamloops is a night-time transfer
  • Jasper – Kamloops is mostly daytime

By car

Sun Peaks can be reached from almost any direction on major highways. Here's a list of travel times from several major centers nearby:

By bus

Get around

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:

  • Kamloops Art Gallery [5]
    • 250-377-2400
  • The Horse Barn
    • 250-374-3511

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:

  • Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding
    • a guide will take you to the backside of Tod Mountain for a day trip to areas not generally open to the public. You would have to be an intermediate to expert skier to take advantage of such a trip.
  • Groomer Rides
    • Have you ever wanted to know what it’s like to ride in one of the ski run grooming machines? Or maybe take a tour of the mountain without being on your skis? You can take a 3/4 to 1 hour ride in one of the groomers and see just what it is they do.
  • Dogsledding
    • Just like you’ve seen on TV, you can pilot a team of sled dogs (called “mushing”) through the woods at Sun Peaks. This is another activity that requires a fair amount of physical stamina and strength, and shouldn’t be undertaken by anyone who isn’t prepared to occasionally have to run beside their dog teams through deep snow, uphill.
  • Snowshoeing
    • One of the quietest and most relaxing ways to get around the mountains in winter, snowshoeing is also probably one of the oldest methods of winter transportation in this part of the world. On snowshoes, you can see parts of the mountains that are inaccessible in any other way, and see the beauty and wildlife of the Rockies up close.
  • Snowmobiling
    • The exact opposite of snowshoeing, snowmobiling is neither quiet, nor relaxing. It is, however a very exciting and exhilarating way to take a tour around the mountainside.
  • Sleigh Rides
    • Another old-fashioned way to enjoy the countryside is in a horse-drawn sleigh. Again, we’re back to the quiet and relaxing type of transportation through the mountains.
  • Snow Tubing
      • Much like the inflatable tubes that can be pulled behind a motor boat on a lake, you can also ride one of these types of tubes down a snow-covered hill. Sun Peaks has a large Snow Tubing park where tub riders of all ages can slide as much as they want.
  • Ice Skating
    • There is a full-sized skating rink at Sun Peaks where anyone who enjoys skating can take part in public skates or drop-in ice hockey games. Check the schedules to see which type of skating is going on at a particular time.


  • Golf
    • As with many ski resorts, there are plenty of golf courses in and around Sun Peaks. Rather than list them all here, I’d suggest you just Google “golf at Sun Peaks”, which will get you a great list of golf courses in the area.
  • Canoeing and Kayaking
    • There are numerous lakes and rivers nearby, all worthy of a canoe or kayak trip. It’s also easy to find guides to take you on a trip of this kind. If you’re staying at one of the major hotels, they will provide access to such a service.
  • Fishing
    • As noted above, there are many lakes and rivers, and therefore, opportunities to go fishing very close by Sun Peaks.
  • Hiking
    • Since Sun Peaks is in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, it is one of the nicest places for a summer mountain hike. There are numerous trails within and around Sun Peaks, just waiting for you to take a leisurely stroll or a strenuous hike.
  • Mountain Biking
    • As with Hiking, above, there are many mountain biking trails in and around Sun Peaks. Mountain biking has become a very popular summer sport at most ski resorts in the summertime.
  • Horseback Riding
    • Again, as with mountain biking, horseback trail riding is a very popular thing to do in the mountains in the summer. You can join a trail riding tour with ‘’’Sun Peaks Trail Rides [6]’’’.


  • Swimming
    • Sun Peaks has no shortage of heated indoor and outdoor swimming pools. This makes swimming available to everyone, all year round.
  • Photography Clinics
    • The Rockies are spectacular in any season, and there are several professional photographers at Sun Peaks who run photography clinics year-round. This can be a great addition to your trip. Whether you’re a novice or a “serious amateur”, you’ll be able to build on the skills you will learn at these clinics. Be prepared to get up really early in the mornings, as some of the best photographs and the most spectacular views happen at sunrise.


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.

  • ’’’Farmer’s Market’’’
    • From June through to early September, there is a public Farmer’s Market at Sun Peaks. The Market features local organic produce, locally made crafts and clothing, as well as buskers and other entertainment. If you’re at Sun Peaks in the summertime, this would be the place to go on any Sunday.


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.







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