This little slice of heaven is one of the closer interior mountains accessible from Vancouver. You need at least 4 days (including travel) to experience it, but up to a week would be the best for swishing down Sun Peaks’ sweeping runs. It’s shown as a 5 hour drive from Vancouver on Google Maps, but this can be a longer in bad weather (plan for 6). It’s not recommended to drive too late into the night, unless you enjoy driving with no traction and zero visibility. The highways are plowed regularly and well kept, but snow can pile up quickly while it is snowing. This is particularly the case when heading over the Coquihalla Summit (aka the “coke”).
There are a number of lodges on the mountain that are ski-in, ski-out. They aren’t too pricey either. There’s nothing quite like skiing all morning and stopping at your room for lunch, or even a mid-morning cup of tea if you need to warm up.
One of the best things about interior mountains is that they are rarely busy. No lines like you may have experienced in Whistler or at any brunch location in downtown Vancouver.
There are four main chair lifts at Sun Peaks, but be warned, Sun Peaks is known for its groomers. The grooming is all done after the lifts close for the evening, so if it is snowing overnight you will wake up to a powder day regardless. Plus, with interior mountains you generally get nice, dry, “champagne” powder. The Morrissey Chair has some flat sections, which can be a pain for a snowboarder, but has some beautiful tree runs. Sundance Chair is your family-friendly section and Sunburst and Burfield Chairs are longer and more advanced. Burfield Chair has a mid-station, but it is a 20 minute chairlift ride from the bottom to the top. Be ready for a long, cold ride, but some sweet, sweet runs.
The little town of Sun Peaks is a winter paradise. Charming shops sprinkle the village walkway. There are a few good eats – Powder Hounds has the most delicious schnitzel and Morrissey’s Public House is a fun atmosphere for a beer. However, many close early, so watch out that you don’t get stuck hungry and cold.