Story and photos by local rider, Dylan Sherrard.
“I couldn’t live in the city anymore,” admits James Kim while thoughtfully surveying the horizons of Sun Peaks from the chairlift. There’s a genuinely content sensation that emanates from James Kim’s smile, and if you ever receive the pleasure of having him as your instructor on dirt or on snow, you’ll recognize the feeling. “I needed to be somewhere that is quiet, that I can ride my bike and snowboard, and be in nature. That’s what I found in Sun Peaks… this is the place where I can achieve my highest goals”.
Summer is buzzing in Sun Peaks and we can feel it hanging in the air. With a chairlift full of friends and deep gratitude for reconnecting with them over twilight laps in the park, instructing mountain bike classes during the days, and perpetually engaging in a flowing state of learning, James is riding in his personal paradise. And it shows.
“You’re shredding, James!” I shout over the sound of our tires thundering down the trail.
“Want to lead the rest of this lap and cut it loose?” I offer.
“I’m relaxed and chilling,” James exclaims through his smile. “Look pro, go slow. You know? Ha! My riding style is formless, like water.”
And away he goes.
We float along a blend of the Bike Park’s least ridden lines and most prominent features in a series of connections only a dedicated local park shredder would know. I’m equally enchanted with James’ flowing style on the bike as I am with the variety of terrain we’re spoiled to experience in a single lap, and I feel spoiled by the scene.
“This is melting my brain,” I yell at James as we pull into the village.
“I’m so stoked on the way riding is developing here,” James assures me. “I love it, and I think biking will soon be on an equal playing field with snow sports. As big as ski and snowboard. We have the space and the people are realizing it.”
We spend the next chair dreaming about what that bigger future looks like. James speaks of his relationship with mountain biking and these trails slowly and thoughtfully, with a caring tone and deep consideration for not only the riches he has discovered here in Sun Peaks, but the rich experiences he hopes others can achieve here too.
“I really see it,” James assures me with a nod. “I imagine a future filled with growth in energy sectors. Ski resorts consume significant energy to operate, and we’re in a remote location that further adds to costs. I love to imagine someday leveraging new energy technologies in the future to create stability during uncertain times, and to keep ski hills inviting and accessible for everyone to experience. A space where biking is always growing, and people can express themselves freely and compassionately.”
Because depth of experience is truly at the core for James' reason to reside in Sun Peaks, I ask, “What’s the raddest lap to wrap up the day?”
“I think Canada Line, to Bermalade, to Arm Pump,” he answers almost instantly, without hesitation.
We sink into relaxed flow beneath the summer night glow, hooting and hollering as the trees and turns go blurring beside us.
“So… you ever miss living in the city?” I ask at the next rest point.
“A city has almost everything, but everything that I don’t want is there too. Sun Peaks has everything that I want in a small place. I can work, play, and most importantly, spend a lot of time with my kids. I’ve won the lottery… this is the place I can be home and do everything I want while raising an active family.”