Photo credit: Royce Sihlis

Photo credit: Royce Sihlis

Did you know that Sun Peaks Resort is Canada’s SECOND largest ski resort? While their jump from third place is relatively new I must admit to having no idea as to the size and awesomeness that is Sun Peaks Resort. You have got to check this place out!

Sun Peaks, located just north of Kamloops, BC is a terrific venue. I still can’t get over how unbelievably family friendly it is! Everything is within kid-length walking distance, the hotels are ski-in ski-out, there are no crowds, and the snow is abundant. We stayed at the Coast Sundance Lodge which was a perfect fit for our family. The in-suite kitchenette was great for the never-ending-snacking that goes hand-in-hand with growing kids. The ability to bundle the kids up in snow gear and be outside, on the mountain with skis, in less than 5 minutes did wonders for everyone’s sanity.

Tahoe and Nordic Skis

I, like I’m sure many others, was a bit worried about having to navigate the Coquihalla to get to Sun Peaks. We were fortunate enough to have a big Chevy Tahoe to get us up over the peak, but the folks clearing the road had done such a fantastic job that our drive up was a breeze. On our way home the world was certainly snowier, but again, the road was clear and we felt incredibly safe. Now that I’ve traversed the Coquihalla in the winter I can’t wait to get back to Sun Peaks.

Ski Lesson collageWant to get in some downhill skiing? I was incredibly impressed with the instructor our kids had for their first-ever ski experience. I dropped off two little monkeys who could barely stand on their own skis. Two hours later, I picked up boys who could ski down the mountain with incredible confidence. I was astounded by their ability to make pizza slices and French fries while speeding down a slippery slope with no poles. Oh, to have the bravery of a kid!

Sun Peaks has brilliantly set up a multitude of options to assist with childcare. While you enjoy a day on the slopes, your kids can take part in one, two, or three hour lessons. Those lessons can pick up and drop off at the on-slope child-minding facility. You have the freedom to structure both your and your child’s day to best suit your family.

My husband, a guy who grew up skiing down some of the best mountains in North America, hasn’t been able to stop singing the praises of Sun Peaks. He couldn’t get over the excellent calibre of the runs combined with virtually non-existent wait times. Only once did he have to wait to get onto a lift and the wait was 2 minutes at most. As Sun Peaks is made up of 3 converging mountains the selection of runs is huge. The glade skiing on Morrisey was especially wonderful where he was still finding fresh powder at 11am! Sun Peaks Resort has done a fantastic job of making the mountains accessible to all levels of skiers. Every single chair takes skiers up to runs of a variety of levels; there is a green (or beginner) level run down from every lift. There is also a great selection of blue, black and double black diamond runs.

Photo credit: Adam Stein

Photo credit: Adam Stein

Looking for a cross-country experience? While I was a bit too chicken to slap on the downhill skis (I left that experience up to my skilled husband and our enthusiastic kids), I did partake in a 2 hour Nordic lesson. What a work out! As my skiing experience is minimal (and even that is an exaggeration), the wonderful instructor spent the first hour teaching me technique. In case I had any lingering delusions, I know now I have no core body strength. The motion of balancing on one ski and then the other had me collapsing in a crumpled heap more often then I want to admit. However, we pushed through, I located some coordination, and received kind words of encouragement from the instructor. The second hour we spent exploring the Nordic trails; what gorgeous terrain! I’m sure seasoned skiers enjoy the scenery more as their eyes aren’t glued to their skis the way mine were. And to those mothers who were skiing whilst pulling baby carriers, I’m speechless! I applaud your athleticism and am secretly thankful that my kids are too big and that’s my excuse for never trying to pull a baby-carrier on Nordic skis.

Ready to pamper yourself? Part of the ski experience must include a trip to the spa. Sun Peaks Resort has a number of options and I checked out the newest kid-on-the-block. The Spa Express specializes in efficient services with exceptional results. Have you tried a hydro-therapy massage? I had no idea what to expect but was eager to try anything that included the word massage. I settled down onto a comfy bed and enjoyed high pressure jets of water pounding the sore muscles of my back. Snuggled in a comfy blanket (and no I didn’t get wet, there was a layer of waterproof fabric between me and the jets) I was able to thoroughly relax for the 15 minute session. Seriously, everyone has time for a 15 minute massage…definitely worth treating yourself and your tired muscles!

Getting hungry? Sun Peaks’ Village is packed with restaurants of all types and price points. From the delicious Mountain High Pizza to the ever-popular Vertical Café, you won’t go hungry while in Sun Peaks. We enjoyed a delectable dinner at the Voyageur Bistro. I am always appreciative of higher-end restaurants that accommodate children. Upon arrival our kids were giving colouring sheets and crayons; they also had a menu tailored for the little diners.

Photo credit: Kelley Funk

Photo credit: Kelley Funk

Need to take the skis off? Once your legs are exhausted from skiing – don’t head off to bed – take part in the numerous recreational activities available on the mountain. We managed to squeeze in two super fun non-skiing adventures. The nighttime sleigh ride is not to be missed. We had a hilarious driver and two horses with ample personality. I felt like we had been plucked out of an old-time movie as we slid through the snow covered pathways with shadowed trees hugging the sides of the trails. We had great fun calling out to the folks soaking in their steaming hot tubs! The 40 minute ride, snuggled under heavy blankets, is an experience permanently stamped in my memory. Another family-fun activity is the tubing hills. While I have slid on my fair share of toboggans, sleds and magic carpets, until our Sun Peaks trip I had never gone tubing. I learned a few things. First, if you let your derriere touch the ground you will slow down (no fun)! Second, the red tubes at Sun Peaks are significantly faster than any of the other colours. Third, hanging onto a buddy (or a couple of buddies) makes the ride both faster and more fun. Fourth, the tube runs stay open much later than the rest of the mountain. Take advantage of everyone heading off to dinner and enjoy non-existent wait times during the latter evening hours.

Sun Peaks Resort has not suffered from the mild winter that has plagued the south coast of BC this season. The snow pack is deep and more keeps falling. The ski runs remain open until April. While the resort is fully booked for this year’s Family Day long weekend, Spring Break is right around the corner…. Get those skis on and have an unforgettable family holiday at Canada’s second largest ski resort.