For Presidents’ Day Weekend, Joanna Veldhuisen’s family of four (plus two teen friends) headed north to Sun Peaks Resort in Interior BC for several days of snow play and skiing. The entire family agreed this ski resort makes for a fantastic weekend. I asked Joanna what she loved so much about the destination. She sent me some great photos, and this is what she said:
Size. Sun Peaks is the second biggest resort in BC, but it’s a fraction of the size of Whistler and as a result it’s very family-friendly. Many parents of older kids (12+) feel comfortable turning the kids loose to ski or at least lunch on their own in the one-horse village. You can’t get lost, and most condos and hotel rooms are just a few minutes’ walk from the village center and chairlifts. Even over President’s Day Weekend, the resort had a relaxed, un-crowded vibe.
Awesome alpine skiing. Although the village is small, the ski slopes are not, and BC’s Interior snow is reliably good. Three mountains surround the village in a 360-degree layout of 124 long runs that terminate near or at the village. Getting from one chairlift to another is easy and the lifts are fast, so you can’t help but do a ton of skiing in a day. This British Columbia ski resort is particularly good for beginner and intermediate skiers, but also offers plenty of black diamond terrain for advanced runs. While I was busy on the green runs, the kids headed off to the harder stuff and everyone was happy. Here’s a map of the alpine runs.
Nordic skiing at Sun Peaks. For those who would rather get away from it all, Sun Peaks has miles of trails for Nordic and skate skiing as well as snowshoeing. My crew hit the slopes on the first day, and I hit the Nordic trails on my own, bumping into other friendly solo skiers whose families were on the alpine runs.
Kid-friendly activities at Sun Peaks. My kids didn’t take much time off the slopes, but Sun Peaks has plenty of other fun for youngsters, including a year-round, outdoor heated pool at the Sports & Aquatic Centre, a tube park, a terrain park, a bungee trampoline, ice skating, and dog sled tours. Many of the condos and rental houses come with a hot tub for added fun, and playing in the snow just outside the door has never been so easy.
Sun Peaks Village amenities. Like Whistler, Sun Peaks is laid out like a walkable alpine village. It contains a few clothing shops, boutiques, and restaurants and cafes for all tastes, enough to be interesting without being overwhelming. You’ll also find rental shops for any ski equipment you need, and lessons for all ages and ski styles.
Tips on accommodation and groceries at Sun Peaks Resort:
Sun Peaks offers condos, rental homes, and a variety of hotel lodgings. The hotels are conveniently located right in the heart of the village, but a condo’s fully equipped kitchen is unbeatable, as restaurant eating adds up quickly. Many kids will be too tired to go out for dinner, after a day in the snow.
Americans, I suggest doing your grocery shopping stateside and stop for fruits and veggies in Hope or Kamloops. Sun Peaks has a small general market for incidentals.
Getting there: Sun Peaks is the closest ski resort in BC’s Interior to the Lower Mainland and Seattle. The resort is located 45 minutes north of Kamloops, approximately 4½ hours north of Bellingham, 6 hours from Seattle via the Sumas/Abbotsford border crossing and 4 hours east of Vancouver. The Sun Peaks website says 5½ hours from Seattle, but that’s optimistic when accounting for possible road conditions, border waits, and shopping for fruits and veggies. Plan for an hour longer, and the drive home will pass a little quicker.
The resort’s website provides more information about taking the kids to Sun Peaks, including ski lessons. The Sundance Kids Centre is a daycare facility that entertains children from 18 months through 5 years.
Photo at right courtesy of Adam Stein/ Sun Peaks.