As I get ready for my next snowboard trip, I have been reminiscing of the trip I took last season. Most people are familiar with the legendary largest ski resort in Canada also known as Whistler Blackcomb but have you heard of the 2nd largest? I didn’t at the time.. Maybe that was just me? Regardless, Sun Peaks resort is a world class ski resort that brings a unique experience that competes with Whistler.
Honestly, I cannot compare the two resorts as far as ski conditions because I have only been to Whistler in the summer to ride the mountain bike park. So please take my comparisons lightly. My goal is to go to Whistler next winter season when we’re expected to have better conditions than the unpredictable El Niño pattern we’re experiencing now.
Although I haven’t yet experienced the snow in Whistler, I think I can expect the quality of snow to be much like the PNW region where I live. The snow at Sun Peaks was much dryer and lighter than I was familiar with, maybe because it seems like less humid and colder climate. My coldest day there dropped to -14° Celsius. Factor in the wind chill and it was bone chilling cold at times. One of my favorite lifts was the Burfield express which crosses a wide-open terrain and reaches the highest peak of the resort. If they could make that a covered lift to block the wind, that would be great (Lumbergh’s Voice). The Burfield lift gave access to some of my favorite runs with deep powder, I spent a lot of time on that side of the resort.
Not only was the condition of the snow great but also the accessibility of so many amazing trails. The condo we rented was on the side of the village near Mt Morrisey. The main village is located on side of Mt Tod. There aren’t as many as runs on Mt Morrisey, but it is less crowded and just as much fun to be had. We found you can take the “back in time” trail to get back over to Mt Tod by reaching the Burfield base area. It’s slightly difficult taking the back in time trail on a snowboard at first because of some flat spots, but just get as much speed as possible and you shouldn’t have much trouble. Pro-tip, don’t follow your buddy who thinks they found a “short-cut” through some residential areas to get back to the Mt Tod side. Most likely they don’t know where they’re going and you’ll end up having to hike a couple miles back to the main village. Maybe you get lucky and catch a ride on a shuttle or passer by but if not, it’s not fun. After a couple of my buddy’s “short-cuts” I stopped following him and said “smell ya later dude”. That decision paid off more than once.
The condo we booked was located about ½ mile from the village and paid about $120 USD per night. It was a nice 2 BD, 2BA condo with a full kitchen, laundry, hot tub and underground parking. Located perfectly in a quiet neighborhood with views of the ski lifts from the balcony.
The village is not as large as Whistler, but has everything you need. Plenty of shopping, restaurants, bars, grocery and liquor stores. On the first day we got supplies from the supermarket in the village to save money on breakfast and snacks. Other times we just hit up some of the restaurants such as Oya a Japanese restaurant and Mantles restaurant and lounge. These were probably my favorite places we ate otherwise you can’t go wrong with any of the pizza restaurants.
It seemed like the night life wasn’t as abundant as Whistler’s, not necessarily a bad thing if you’re not into that, but I like to party. Overall Sun Peaks has more of a quiet family getaway vibe. It’s perfect if you are looking for a less crowded relaxed experience.
I can say for sure the drive to Whistler is far more scenic than it is to and from Sun Peaks. This is not a deal breaker by any means but the drive to and from Whistler is breath-taking at times, it’s hard to beat. Driving to Sun Peaks is just mostly highway views of the mountains, a mostly standard experience of driving to most ski resorts.
Overall Sun Peaks was a great snowboard trip. It definitely sets the bar high as far as value for the amazing accommodations and experiences to be had. I look forward to going back in the future after knocking a couple other ski trips off my list.