It’s not hard to figure out how longer days, warmer temperatures and a place whose name already singles it out for great weather might add up to the kind of ski experience you’ve spent those January -30˚C chairlift rides dreaming about. But that’s not the only reason Sun Peaks is a spring ski experience like few others.
The milieu of spring-skiing entails not only making hay of soft, perfectly groomed runs that were already long and luxurious in the depths of winter, but of also having more time to do so and indulge oneself after skiing—be it with a range of other activities, après on an outdoor patio, catching an event, or just soaking up rays on your hotel balcony with a cold one in hand.
So, let’s start with snow, and the fact that come March, the 4,270 acres of skiing spread across three peaks at Canada’s second-largest ski area are just rounding into form. Already known for fewer skiers and shorter lift lines than comparably sized resorts, even thinner crowds in spring make Sun Peaks a spacious delight. And a comfortable one. With temperatures historically averaging -3.9˚C in March and -1.1˚C in April, you get a break from the winter deep-freeze that still keeps the snow in shape. With warmer temps, of course, comes plenty of sunshine, so expect a heaping slice of the resort’s 2,000 hrs/year solar pie, with the blue skies also contributing to consistently stunning alpine views. Drop a few layers from your typical routine, break out the sunscreen, and get ready to explain your goggle tan. Bonus: in spring, the closing bell on Morrisey, Orient and Sundance chairlifts has been extended to 4:00 p.m., so you can make the most of that warm afternoon light.
Although many skiers and snowboarders see winter powder days as a n’est plus ultra, most admit to ranking spring conditions second—some even elevating it to their top choice. That’s because something magical happens to the snowpack at this time of year—the phenomenon of “corn snow.” To form this glorious surface of sifting beads, the melting of warm, sunny days must be interspersed with the freezing of cold, clear nights. When this vernal weather loop sets in many are hooked for life. But just so you don’t completely lose the powder plot, March still sees plenty of storms and surprise late-season pow days.
Spring is also prime Terrain Park time. With dialed features and forgiving landings, laps in the 10-acre, 45-feature park served by the Sundance Express chairlift are de rigeur, especially given three distinct zones that cater to beginner, intermediate and expert comfort levels.
Oh, and did we mention impeccable grooming? It’s kind of hard not to…
Though visitors are often surprised at the range of activities available at ski resorts come spring, they really shouldn’t be. After all, the snow still stands at winter depths so dog-sledding, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing haven’t yet been shoved away in a closet along with Arctic-rated down puffies. It’s the perfect time to take advantage of Sun Peaks’ 34 kilometres of track-set trails accessible right from the village. Or for experienced Nordic skiers to try out something unique to this destination—riding the Morrisey Express chairlift to access endless backcountry terrain and scenic mountain views off the Holy Cow Trail.
When it comes to après, the Austrian Alps might have a stranglehold on the global prize for oompah madness, but Sun Peaks surprises with the abundance of patio real estate given over to the pursuit of more civilized gemütlichkeit. Prime ski-in ski-out patios include The Sunburst Bar & Eatery, Masa’s Bar & Grill, Bottoms Bar & Grill, and Morrisey’s Public House.
We may be living in different times when it comes to gatherings, but that doesn’t mean an end to springtime events at Sun Peaks, whose mix of music, art, fun and long-running local favourites are primed to help chase away the blue-toe blues of winter. Nordic skiers can join in a Virtual Loppet where you ski a course then check your times against others online; there are art exhibitions, a film festival, races, Family Activity nights, the 17th Annual Hub International Nancy Greene Festival and the Canadian Adaptive Snowsports Alliance (CADS) annual Ski and Snowboard Festival.
As for that vignette of your feet up on a balcony surveying the mountain realm you’ve just enjoyed, maybe you haven’t thought about staying over during the shorter, busier, pricier days of the season, but with spring comes a raft of deals on everything from accommodation to retail, popping up through the snow like crocuses. So stay a few days, make a few scintillating runs, catch a few rays and then sit back and watch the fiery alpenglow of another outrageous sunset swim in the snow.