The Sweet Sunny North: Skiing & Snowboarding Sun Peaks

Vitamin D-deficient skiers—and in the Inland Northwest, that’s most of us—have few opportunities for bluebird powder days. Winter storms tend to park in the picket lines of peaks that make up the northern Rockies, so socked-in conditions often accompany snow. Odd as it may seem, sun-seeking skiers should look north for their fix.

Thanks to its location as a high-elevation mountain “island” in the Thompson-Okanagan region of southern interior British Columbia, Sun Peaks lives up to its name; with few surrounding peaks to trap them, storms tend to dump snow, depart, and make way for sun.

As Canada’s second-largest ski resort, Sun Peaks sprawls. And, despite the generous amounts of sunshine, there’s still only so much daylight in which to explore it all. But, thanks to a pair of unique offerings at the resort, skiers can schuss from sun-up to sun-down—and beyond.

Ski into the sunrise with the resort’s First Tracks program. Offered Monday, Wednesday and Saturday throughout the season, First Tracks offers skiing off the top elevation Crystal Chair for a little more than an hour before the lifts start spinning for the public. The program admits only 80 participants each day, so skiers can count on untracked lines in Crystal Bowl. The $36 CAD price includes $25 in breakfast and après-ski food vouchers; with the favorable exchange rate, stateside skiers pay roughly $8 for early-bird skiing.

After exploring the resort’s trio of peaks all day, ski off into the starlight with the Alpine Fondue and Starlight Descent, offered Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout the ski season. Following a three-course Swiss fondue dinner at the newly renovated mid-mountain Sunburst Bar & Eatery, participants flick on headlamps for a ski descent back to the village base area.

Your best bet? Come mid-week and ski both programs in one day. Although bluebird days are common here in the Thompson Okanagan, Inland Northwest skiers know to make turns when the sun shines. //

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