Setting the scene for a road trip to a not so far away ski-town, Jake and I embarked on an adventure from our home in Whistler to head north to Sun Peaks. Equipped with snacks and our fleet of camera equipment, we decided to take the ‘scenic route’ through the Duffy Lake road where endless bends and vistas of mountains and farmland were lit gold during our dusk drive. Elated with the light and the pastel colours settling into the landscapes around us we took our time with the four hour drive to the resort. To our delight, we arrived in the dark. Sun Peaks could arguably be known for its allure and sparkle when the lights come on at night – a town where ‘Christmas-all-year’ truly applies, we were greeted with the warm comfort of twinkling lights and friendly faces.
Situated in the heart of the village at a hotel that quite literally allowed us to ski in and ski out (I’m serious – the chairlift was 8 steps away from the door, I counted), we would take our time indulging in fresh pastries from an iconic café owned by an incredible couple from Poland called Bolacco; which I highly recommend, not because of the convenience but because of the robust and vibrant energy from the owners each morning that started your day on the right foot.
We were set up for an exceptionally idyllic experience and I’ve only gotten to our first breakfast! Overall, here are a couple take-aways from our experience in this charming place called Sun Peaks.
First, and foremost – the snow! This is a pretty broad term for Sun Peaks because in the winter, (and because of the proximity of everything in the town), you can do everything from snowboarding steep lines in the trees, to skiing through the village straight to après, sledding with happy puppers, to sleigh riding through the town, to EVEN riding in the snow cats at night to see how the mountain is groomed; not to mention snowshoeing in the dark to a super picturesque s'mores spot. That being said, my first tip – prepare to be dressed warmly at all times, and say YES to everything! Each experience includes the fundamental element of snow but the uniqueness of each one delighted us beyond our expectations.
Second – what do most people do on a ski vacation next to skiing? THEY EAT! Well, I do anyways. Talk about eclectic choices for food! With no restaurant bearing any resemblance to the other, we tried and tasted as much as we could handle in a short time. I will likely return just to eat at some of the iconic places that exist in the resort. Oya, the Japanese restaurant, was so good we ate there twice. Après is certainly done right and I don’t believe in pointing out one spot in particular because every single one was fantastic. Tip two – prepare to always be full and be merry.
Third and most importantly – the local charm is something that I will walk away with and will always adore about Sun Peaks. DID YOU KNOW: the elementary school is on the ski hill so the kids of the town literally get to ski to school everyday. Talk about a charmed life. Given the circumstance of the children being raised in a setting like that, the term ‘it takes a village’ certainly applies in a place like Sun Peaks. Not only are the people in the town supportive of their local inhabitants, they are genuinely welcoming of the tourism industry and those that choose to visit in such a way that you feel safe, inspired, and welcomed to belong. The industry of skiing and snowboarding particularly can certainly be an intimidating space to step into and try adding learning new sports in an unfamiliar place, it can be a lot to take on. It was extremely encouraging and inspiring to see a community of strangers welcome everyone regardless of their skill levels, how they were dressed or how they approached a sport on the mountain. It gives me hope for our other resort counterparts and I look forward to visiting this warm fuzzy place again very soon. Tip three – always smile back and have an open heart, you belong.