International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Sun Peakes Village
just before eleven on a Saturday morning, and were standing
with other skiers at the top of Sunburst Express. In spite of the
chilly mountain breeze, both of my hands feel hot and clammy. I
know it has nothing to do with the weather. This is clearly fear
All Photos by Brent Cassie and Adam Stein
Pic: Sun Peaks Village
A decade or two
ago, skis had been as comfy on my feet as a pair of well-worn slippers,
and I had been easily lured by any terrain that was steep and deep.
But that was then. Now, while hauling a few extra pounds and a lot less
muscle mass, I have quandaries about doing anything high speed especially
descending. Fortunately this second largest ski area in British Columbia,
Canada has come up with a solution.
Peaks Resort, just forty five minutes from Kamloops, also caters
to those in search of less adrenaline-pumped activity. Instead of
taking this downhill plunge, I could strap on some cross country
skis or snowshoes. As well as the 28 kilometers of groomed trails
that lace this destinations contours, there are an additional
dozen that meander through the mellow backcountry. Thatll
surely keep my pacemaker happy. Or maybe Ill rely on some
other sources of energy to do the job. There are huskies for dog
sledding, Clydesdales for sleigh rides and even a gravity-driven
downhill transporter that goes by the name of sno-limo.
joy ride will provide the ultimate descent, and without any self-propelled
effort from moi. While the operator maneuvers the ski-framed contraption
over lumps and bumps, Id be able to take it easy and enjoy the
scenery. Yes, this form of exploration sounds right up my alley.
Or I might choose to ditch the adventure angle altogether and go totally
slow-mo. Nestled at the base of these embracing peaks is a Bavarian-like
pedestrian village that even Heidi would love. A selection of shops
and bistros hug up to top-notch lodgings, après ski hot spots
and pampering spas. Theres no doubt that I could idle here in
relaxation mode for the majority of my stay.
first and foremost, I have to find a way to get down. Sweat begins
to bead on my brow as I ponder my options. Will I be able to absorb
the mogul mounds and fresh cache of powder that waits before me?
Is there a winding cruiser that offers an easier way out for the
less courageous? Ive heard that every lift at Sun Peaks has
a variety of choices, but what happens if I find the simplest cat
track impassable? My heart races at the thought of take off. And
then, thankfully, just as there seems to be no hope, help arrives.
Pic: Nancy Greene
As well as the
Director of Skiing and Ambassador for the resort, the acclaimed Olympian,
Nancy Greene, meets, greets and guides and usually twice every
day! (an added bonus with each day pass!) Her smile is instantly infectious
and her energy is super-sized. After simple introductions, shes
memorized everyones name and knows our level of ability. "There
are over a hundred and twenty runs here at Sun Peaks," she says
with pride, "so we have lots to choose from. Just follow closely
and well check out a few together." My quivering knees slow
to a mild tremor and before I have time to dwell on the inevitable beyond,
guided tour soon doubles as a group lesson, and I feel privileged
to be getting tips from one of the best. "Shift your weight
on each turn, put more pressure on the balls of your feet, and relax
those arms." The principles sound simple, as Nancy coaxes and
coaches, but initially I feel as awkward as a new born calf. Then,
whether due to some kind of magical synchronicity, or effective
prayer, the moves all gel together. And before were down from
the first run, my Big Easy Head ski rentals are delightfully
living up to their name.
keeps us in tow for a few more runs then unleashes us to check out
Sun Peaks three embracing mountains. Together they boast a
total of 11 lifts, 880 meters of vertical, and 3,678 acres of ski-able
terrain. And from every unloading platform, we discover a fine balance
of expert, intermediate and beginner routes that trail back to the
The original Tod Mountain had always been a mogul magnet in my youth
and although it still takes the cake for challenging bowls and perilous
fall lines, theres now Five Mile Run that delivers us safely
back home. Sundance is the queen bee for groomed trails and terrain
parks, and on its lower levels we spot little tykes who are having
a hay day at Kids Ranch.
Mt. Morrisey is
the newest kid on the block and offers us everything from gravity-defying
chutes to glade skiing between frosted evergreens. Every inch is draped
in epic powder and each journey we take is uncluttered and serene.
While I remain riveted to cruisers, aptly named, Mid Life Crises and
Second Growth, Brent tackles the untracked gullies where Static Cling,
Agitator, and Spin Cycle hang out. And just like a typical laundry day,
they are truly unruly and rigorous. Although he generally beats me to
the base, we both arrive totally spent of energy and craving for more.
From the top of Morrisey Express, we have a picturesque vista of the
village below. Camouflaged amongst the pastel coloured condos, hotels,
and recreation rivals is Nancy Greenes Cahilty Lodge. The family
run property, operated by her husband and general manager, Al Raine,
provides us with all the comforts of home and has been awarded the Best
Hotel Service by Ski Canada Magazine. After experiencing Nancys
gracious hospitality today we can see why.
"Shall we head down and hit the hot tub?" Brent suggests,
"My quads are ready to call it quits." I check out my pocket
map and trace the route that leads to the challenging terrain at Tod
Mountain. "How bout just one more?" I reply. "The
run called, Back In Time, will lead us to Top Of the World, where were
sure to find some steep and deep."
IF YOU GO:
Where to Stay
Nancy Greenes Cahilty Lodge
Jane & Brent Cassie Travel Writer / Photographer www.janecassie.com
Co Owner/Editor www.travelwriterstales.com
Member of SATW, TMAC, BCATW
Personal View Of Whistler
a Vancouverite, Ive always had a soft spot for North Americas
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