Skiing in Sun Peaks
Sun Peaks’ ski area, the second largest in British Columbia and third largest in Canada, stretches over three heavily-wooded mountains, a layout that earns it the nickname of “Little Whistler”.
Sun Peaks Ski Area Overview
However, Sun Peaks’ ski area is far from little – it is Canada’s third largest ski area by acreage with 3,678 acres of skiable terrain. Such is its stature that the Austrian National ski team has chosen it as its early season training ground in the run-up to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
The mountains are diverse: Tod, the original ski area, is the most challenging and the gateway to the area’s cat skiing terrain; Mount Morrisey faces north and catches the snow; and Sundance Mountain is sunnier and home to most of the resort’s easiest ski runs.
Each mountain is fed by a high speed chairlift from the village base and the top of every lift offers green and blue runs allowing skiers of differing levels to board the same lift then ski a piste that suits their ability and meet up at the bottom. The longest run measures 8kms (5 miles) – short by European standards but long for North America.
The resort plans to open up ski pistes on two additional mountains to further extend the ski terrain and lift system. The skiing in Sun Peaks typically opens in mid or late November in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Snow junkies will be dismayed to learn that the ski area closes on the second Monday of April every year even if there’s still good snow cover to give them time to dig out the greens of the underlying golf course.
For Nordic skiing enthusiasts the resort boasts over 45km’s of groomed and backcountry cross-country trails, some along the valley floor and the rest accessed from the top of Mount Morrisey.
Beginner Skiing in Sun Peaks
Novice skiers in Sun Peaks can learn to ski in a designated “slow zone” on the edge of the village before progressing to longer greens trails on Morrisey and Sundance.
One green run on each mountain is described as the “Easiest Route Down”: 5 Mile from the Burfield Quad on Tod; Homesteader from the Sundance Express on Sundance; and The Sticks from the Morrisey Express on Morrisey.
The south-facing, open runs on Sundance Mountain are ideal for beginners whose ability outstrips the nursery slopes. Sun Peaks’ relatively mild climate makes it an ideal destination for ski novices concerned about feeling the cold.
Intermediate Skiing in Sun Peaks
Intermediate skiers in Sun Peaks can cut their tree-skiing teeth on the pistes artfully cut through the forests on Mount Morrisey.
Reminiscent of a computer ski game in places, trees pop up when you least need one. Showboat and Mid-Life Crisis are natural Super-G courses. The four blue-graded glade runs on Tod are even more fun, though for something longer and wooded head to Lonesome Fir Glades and The Three Bears Glades on Sundance Mountain.
There’s also a series of short and sharp blue runs at the top of Tod Mountain, great for panoramic views of the mountains beyond if you can be bothered to sit out the long Burfield chairlift. The new, short blue runs on Orient Ridge at the far end of Sundance are little more than connecting pistes for the far end of the villages and the future East Village.
Advanced & Expert Skiing in Sun Peaks
Tod Mountain, Sun Peaks’ original mountain, offers the most variety for expert skiers with challenging glade (tree) skiing and advanced terrain.
Head to the “Darker Side of Sun Peaks” for the double diamond black runs of Chief, Expo and Challenger running in super steep and speedy lines under the Burfield chairlift.
Since the construction of the Burfield mid-station the double diamond blacks lower down are seldom skied other than on a bad visibility day when the trees offer some shelter. Otherwise they offer millionaire’s skiing. Headwalls, also on Tod, is a 55 degree pitch and the location for the FIS World Cup Speed Skiing event, the Velocity Challenge. Or try out your technique at the Nancy Greene’s International Race Centre where the Austrian National ski team train in the early season.
Mogul-lovers will enjoy the knee-bashing challenge of Static Cling or avoid being spit out by Spin Cycle on Mount Morrisey. Most skiers will be tired before they tire of the options. Acres of powder fields and untracked terrain lie beyond the ski area boundary.. The vertical drops aren’t very steep or very long – little more than 130 metres – but the area offers a good taste of this increasingly popular form of off-piste skiing. The views from the backcountry are truly sensational across forested hills to the mountain ranges further east on a clear day.
Boarding & Freestyle in Sun Peaks
Sun Peaks’ two terrain parks are both on Sundance Mountain.
Sun Peaks has a huge variety of jumps, rails, boxes and sweet urban hits to keep you coming back for countless laps over 3 distinct zones across 9 acres. And with dedicated snowmaking, the Sun Peaks Terrain Park gets rockin’ early and remains open longer for those sunny spring sessions.
Located on Sundance Mountain, the Sun Peaks Terrain Park spans over 9 acres and features three distinct ability zones including rails, jumps, boxes and more. Clinics are available for those looking to improve their skills or learn how to ride the features.
Mountain Restaurants in Sun Peaks
Sunburst Lodge at the top of the Sunburst Express is the only option on the mountain. Many skiers head down to the Village Day Lodge for a midday sit-down stop at the Masa’s Bar & Grill or a take-away bite from Cafe Soleil.
Bento’s Day Lodge
Sun Peaks’ affordable breakfast alternative and home to the world famous hand made gooey cinnamon buns. Bento’s provides tasty quick meals for those with a hearty appetite. Bento’s is a family day lodge that welcomes lunches brought from home, and has storage and lockers for our local guests. An affordable place to warm up, meet for lunch, or have a snack.
Simply scrumptious and stunningly scenic! Located at the mid mountain, the Sunburst Lodge offers scenic views of the Headwalls and down the surrounding valleys. The Sunburst Lodge features a fresh and tasty breakfast menu, and a quick serve pasta lunch. The Sunburst also features an assortment of fresh baked goods and to-go sandwich options. For a Sun Peaks treat try one of our fresh cinnamon buns!
Located at the base of Mt. Morrisey the Umbrella Café is a great place to stop for a light lunch or warm beverage. This café features our famous jumbo double smoked smokies, warm chili, and soups along with fresh baked items and breakfast snacks. The views at our Umbrella Café are spectacular thanks to 360 degrees of windows. The roof is also retractable on sunny days.