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Exploring Sun Peaks Resort as a year-round destination
Sun Peaks lies in the heart of British Columbia. The resort embodies the Greek myth of the phoenix, a centuries-old mythical bird that burned and rose from its ashes to live another life cycle. Here, the Burfield Lodge and Chairlift opened in 1961 only to be closed in 1968 because of fire. Two years later, it re-opened as Tod Mountain.
Sun Peaks, like the phoenix, is a story of renewal. Today it spreads its colourful wings as a four-season resort destination due, in part, to its 1992 purchase by the Nippon Cable Company Ltd. of Tokyo, Japan. A long-range master plan was created with access to resources to allow extensive development of the village concept including the Village Day Lodge. In 1993 the resort name was changed to Sun Peaks Resort Corporation.
That’s just part of the story. The mountain also attracted legendary personalities. Olympic gold medalist and Canadian senator, Nancy Greene Raine, is affectionately dubbed the “mother of Sun Peaks”. You’ll find her on the ski slopes almost every weekend and she is constantly advocating for continuing improvements at the village.
As the second largest ski area in B.C. and the third largest in Canada, there are close to 4,000 acres (1,489 hectares) of varied ski terrain across three mountains. Nordic skiers have access to over 50 kilometres of groomed track and back-country trails. Other outdoor winter activities such as snowshoeing, dogsledding and riding on a horse-drawn sleigh add to the adventure. Apart from skiing and snowboarding, visitors are enticed by the Winter Wine Festival which recently celebrated its 15th season, the quaint village with diverse restaurants and shops, plus accommodations that offer amenities such as outdoor heated pools, fitness centres and spa services.
As winter melts to spring, spring blossoms to summer, and summer sizzles to fall harvest, Sun Peaks evolves with an exciting array of activities to match. Consider lift-accessed hiking and mountain biking, as well as golf, tennis, horseback trail rides, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. An ambitious schedule of events and festivals are offered year-round with live music and outdoor concerts featuring such stars as Kevin Costner and Matthew Good.
While nestled in, check out the real estate. This four-season playground embraces a new sense of community and ongoing environmental initiatives to protect the legacy.
With all this activity, natural beauty and mountain air, your appetite tends to build. Sun Peaks also pays attention here, with its farm-to-fork initiative, Sun Peaks brings an eco sensibility forward as it works to promote a “100-Mile Diet”. The region is rich in flavourful bounty and the chefs and restaurants are keen to work closely with local producers.
You won’t have to leave the resort to taste their wares. However, last summer I had the opportunity to tour some of the ranches, farms and wineries featured in the restaurants, bakeries and the village farmers’ market. Minutes from the resort we passed by Dominion Creek Ranch, a supplier of lamb, beef and pork.
Recalling an amazing burger at Mantles last ski season, I was happy to visit the provider of their beef, Mitchell Cattle Co. Ranch which was established in 1933. Ian and Anja Mitchell explained that their Mountain Beef results from hormone-free practices and allowing the cattle to graze in alpine pastures at 7,400 feet during the summer. The beef is sold throughout the region and from the ranch along with other products such as beef jerky.
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