Words and photos by local rider Dylan Sherrard.
“Well, if I really think about it,” Kiera contemplates, “Sun Peaks has been the place that’s shaped my childhood memories.”
“You still are a child!” Kiera’s mom, LeeAnne, shouts from around the corner.
It’s a familiar Melnechuk family scene, posted up at their camper that serves as a home-away-from-home for many of their summer night shreds. The parents are making dinner, the kids are tidying up the bikes, and the shadows of the evening are pushing the last of the light up to the top of the tree-line. It’s a calm summer evening at Sun Peaks, and it’s looked like this since as long as Kiera can remember.
“I was honestly a bit resistant at first,” Kiera admits about her earliest memories of riding at Sun Peaks. “My dad’s a coach and he had pretty high expectations of me as a 7 year old kid,” she laughs. “But we did Strawberry Sorbet laps every single day back then.”
“Strawberry Sorbet was a custom tailored mix of green singletracks and wagon roads that we used to take her on,” Kiera’s mom explains. “That was her favourite dessert. And usually how we bribed her to come up to the hill with us.”
These days, Kiera’s sessions in the Sun Peaks Bike Park tell a much different story, and require no bribery in any form. At 14 years old, she’s an easy to recognize character amongst the cast of well mannered young hooligans we know affectionately as the local groms of Sun Peaks. A rag-tag pack of rad kids who occupy the park, setting a new pace and pioneering side-hits on the daily, they're also a group of kids admired locally for the supportive scene they create around themselves.
“It’s so fun to ride with them. I’m learning stuff every lap, especially when riding with my brother, Kye.” Kiera says about lapping with the crew.
“I think I’ve learned the most from riding with my brother,” Kiera continues. “I know he’d probably rather be sending it on gnarlier stuff most days, but he’s spent so much time encouraging me to ride new trails and helping me find my way down them.”
And now with new lines all over the mountain, fast and flowing true-blue machine built trails in abundance, Kiera’s learning curve is a steadfast progression. As the snacks are flowing and the family fire pit is glowing, Kiera waxes on about her love for this newfound flow.
“Having trails like Bermalade really made so much exciting flow in the park. It’s gifted me a chance to really feel things out… learning how to lean the bike and find lines through big sweeping turns, lap after lap. And I can ride so many more laps with trails like that in the mix now.”
The light of the day has faded and we’re finished dinner and drinks at the campsite. Before we all turn in for the night, I ask Kiera what she’s most looking forward to this summer.
“I live at a lake and I don’t even hang out there in the summer,” Kiera laughs. “We spend the summer months camped out here in our family trailer, in the dusty lot, riding the Bike Park every day. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
“In the years to come,” Kiera adds, “I can’t really imagine anything but more of the same.” “Sun Peaks is the place I imagine when I think of summer. And I’m very ok with spending all of my summer days here.”