The Sun Peaks Bike Park has garnered a reputation for its rough and rowdy DH trails and although the mountain’s cross country tracks have been overshadowed by lift-accessed offerings over the past ten years, this secondary network has been quietly developing to create an intricate and extensive patchwork blanketing all three of the resort’s skiable peaks. Lift-access to Mt. Tod’s alpine out-and-back route, “Altitude” moves this relatively remote terrain within the sights of many more riders and if you’re gunning for something ambitious, you can queue this up as stage one on the unofficial Sun Peaks “Epic” xc ride!
Make sure you stock up on snacks and water before heading out, you’ll want plenty of fuel along the way but you’ll have a couple options to remedy this en route if you underestimate how much you’ll need. “Epic” in its purest form is a bit of an overstatement here, but you can indeed bag three peaks in a day if you’re up for it. You can bail out plenty of times along the way if you’re over your head, or just tackle one of the three stages right out of the gate. Elevation has a range of drool-worthy XC and Enduro rentals if you’re packing solely DH heat and need a more suitable tool for the job.
Stage one of said epic will take you from the top of the Sunburst chairlift across Vista to Altitude, out to Tod Lake and back. The trail is advanced intermediate single track with plenty of technical rock gardens, roots and punchy climbs, all fairly low angle with expansive views and dense wildflowers if your timing’s right. Keep your eyes peeled for trail markers, Altitude is a multi-use trail crisscrossed with alternative hiking routes that won’t be much fun to navigate if you get sidetracked.
Riding back towards the top of the Sunburst chairlift from Altitude head out towards Big Rock Ride, a less technical intermediate cross country trail that will take you through the woods and past the resort’s snowmaking reservoir to the top of Sundance and your second peak. The first bit of this trail is the toughest before it branches off Sugar, with some nice undulating single track extending all the way to your next destination.
Watch out for cow patties and knocked over trail signage in the obvious spots along the way. Once the single track gives way to double track, keep an eye out for the unmarked road to your right, more or less at the crest of the hill, that leads to the top of the Sundance chairlift where you can see both where you’ve come from and where you’re going.
After scarfing down some goods from your pack and taking in the view, head back down the trail and hang a right on the main Big Rock Ride trail to continue down an old access road swinging around the backside of the slope. Watch for signage on your right to take you across the face of Sundance and back into the lower reaches of the Bike Park where you can pick your poison to the bottom.
Heading across Sun Peaks road and through the covered bridge, pedal up the golf course cart path towards the tenth hole tee box and watch for the start of the double track Packhorse Climb on your right, which will take you all the way to the top of your third peak, Mt. Morrisey.
You’ve got some options for your final descent but the route of choice will take you around the southeast side of the mountain through some pretty wild high country terrain, denoted as the advanced recommended route here. Back in the village at the bike wash station the entire ride will have you clocking into Strava just shy of 50km, making for a pretty massive day in the saddle!