MOUNTAIN LIFE - Ontario | Winter 2016 - page 83

ByMelanie Chambers
“OK everyone, put on your ski boots, it’s
recess,” says Kirsten Flinn, a teacher at the Sun
Peaks Secondary School. It may be one of the
only ski-in and ski out schools on the planet
(except in Switzerland, of course). Students hop
on amoving sidewalk to get to school each day.
Where was this when I was growing up?
For the 69 grade school students at the Sun
Peaks Discovery Centre, taking a chairlift to
class, skiing on breaks, and going outside
to explore trees and wildlife is just part of a
regular day. “This helps them get their wiggles
out,” says Flinn, whose two children attend the
school. “And frommy experience with a regular
school system, we have fewer behavioural
issues with the kids here.”
The school was created three years ago to
accommodate the growing resort, which became
its ownmunicipality in 2009. The roughly 500
residents at Sun Peaks—mostly ski staff—
needed a school closer than Kamloops, an hour
away. They also wanted to create a unique
learning experience that embraced the outdoors.
When it came time to find a mayor to lead
Canada’s newest municipality, it made sense
to choose someone who had helpedmake
Whistler Blackcomb a global success—ski
industry luminary Al Raine. Raine is alsomarried
to Canada’s Olympic ski queen Nancy Greene,
Slalom goldmedalist and the Sun Peaks
Director of Skiing.
Al Raine takes me on a few runs; once we
migrate to the valley opposite the main resort,
the crowd disappears—at times we’ve got the
entire mountain to ourselves. When we do
encounter people, they all knowAl. Walking into
Bolacco—a local café—he’s greeted like Norm
Inside the café, ski trophies fill the shelves
and pictures of the owners’ kids winning ski
competitions cover the walls. Most of the
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