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The road to Sun Peaks - James Cove, British Columbia, Canada
Sunday February 14, 2016 - Email this article to a friend

The PlanetSKI Canadian ski road trip gets underway - 5 resorts in 12 days as we head down the powder highway in a motorhome. We start in Sun Peaks.

Sun Peaks in British Columbia is now the second largest ski resort in Canada, behind Whistler.

As my road trip colleague, Alf Alderson, and I headed up on the chairlift we had to take the resort at its word.

We couldn't see a thing.

Sun Peaks, CanadaZero Viz
















It was not much better in the trees at the top.

Sun Peaks, CanadaThick snow....
















Sun Peaks, Canada...thick clouds
















As well as Sun Peaks we are heading to Red Mountain, Whitewater, Revelstoke and Kicking Horse.

Suffice to say we had a few probems even getting out of the parking lot with our bungalow on wheels on our first day. 

Our first night on the road was spent at Sun Peaks in Parking Lot 4.

Sun Peaks, CanadaNight, night
















The next morning we headed out.

Sun Peaks, CanadaEarly start
















So, what of Sun Peaks?

Despite the cloud at the top of the resort and thick snow we could see it had been yet another good winter in the resort.

A bumper one.

Sun Peaks, CanadaSun Peaks, Canada
















Sun Peaks, CanadaSun Peaks, Canada
















Deep paths had to be cut through the snow just for pedestrians to get to the lifts.

Sun Peaks, CanadaDeep snow
















"We average 6m of snow each winter and this season we are ahead of things with a base of 1.84m at mid-station already," said Christopher Nicolson, the President of the resort.

Sun Peaks is making much of its position as the second largest ski area in Canada with 4,270 acres of terrain.

Though see through European eyes it is not that big, though size is most certainly not everything.

Sun Peaks, CanadaSun Peaks, Canada
















It has much to offer with some fabulous piste skiing and some great runs in the trees.

The slopes were empty on our visit and the lift queues non-existent.

These are perhaps the main difference between The Rockies and The Alps.

They cannot compete on size or vertical descent, but they can compete on the all-round skiing experience.

Sun Peaks comes with the addition of the Gils area that opened last year as we reported on PlanetSKI.

It overtook Lake Louise as the second largest Canadian ski area, but that will change as Lake Louise has ambitious expansion plans that are set to get the go ahead as we reported earlier on PlanetsKI.

I had been looking forward to skiing the Gils area but the weather prevented us from doing so as thick cloud and snow came in.

Instead we hit Mt Morrisey and Sundance.

Most European skiers and snowboarders come to Sun Peaks after they have visited the better-known resorts of Whistler and Banff.

"Those two main resorts are the engine that drive the train and then many people want to explore other resorts in Canada and that is where Sun Peaks fits in as we offer something entirely different," said Christopher Nicolson.

Sun Peaks, CanadaChristopher Nicolson
















The village itself is purpose-built with an attractive car-free centre. 

Sun Peaks, CanadaVillage centre
















That you can ski through.

Sun Peaks, CanadaPedestrians only
















Lunch was taken at Bottoms bar - a bizarre name perhaps but not as odd as the sport on TV.

A lumberjack competition, but this is Canada after all.

Sport, Canadian styleSport, Canadian style
















The resort is now making a big effort to attract the British market that currently makes up 3% of its visitors.

We understand one of the UK's big tour operators will be offering Sun Peaks in its brochure next season but details have not been finalised so we are not at liberty to let you know which one. Yet.

It should do rather well with those that like Canada and want a slightly different experience.

Sun Peaks, CanadaSun Peaks, Canada
















And with that we retired to bed in Parking Lot No 4.

Sun Peaks, CanadaBed time
















We needed an early night as we had a dawn start and an 8-drive ahead of us to the resort of Red.

But when we woke the clouds had (mostly) cleared.

"Fancy seeing if we can get into Gils" I said to Alf.

"Sure lets go, we are here to ski not keep to itineraries and driving schedules," said Alf.

We tried again.

Alas we were beaten back by the weather.

Sun Peaks, CanadaSame again
















Once at the top we decided not to ski an off piste route we did not know with an 8- hour RV journey ahead.

It had though been well worth the change of plan.

Sun Peaks, CanadaClear lower down
















Canada ski road tripOn the groomers
















Canada ski road tripIn the glades
















Gils would still be there next time I visit. And I will. Sun Peaks is more than worth a longer second visit

The journey to Red was through deepest British Columbia.

On the roadOn the road
















Sun Peaks, CanadaBritish Columbia, Canada















We saw some Canadian pursuits.

Sun Peaks, CanadaIce fishing
















And some stark reminders of the dangers of winter roads.

Canada ski road tripSobering stuff
















We stopped to see if they were OK.

Canada ski road tripShaken but fortunately unhurt
















"We're fine, thanks so much for pulling over, we fish-tailed coming down the hill and it just rolled," the driver told me.

"Do you want some food or drink and a rest in our motorhome in the warmth until help comes, you are very welcome," I offered.

"No thanks, the rescue service just called and will be here in 5 minutes. You take care on the roads in that RV of yours the roads are pretty treacherous," he said as he bade us farewell.

Canada ski road tripNarrow escape
















We took it easy after that.

The 7 hours journey turned into over 10 as the snow came down thick and fast up in the mountains.

CanadaSnowing heavily
















The Lower Parking Lot, Red Day Lodge, was out next address for the night.

We couldn't see a thing as we parked up but in the morning it seemed we were (almost) alone.

Somewhere in British Columbia.

Good morning, Red MountainGood morning, Red Mountain















For the first report on the trip as we set off from Vancouver then see here.


CanaDream offers a winter RV that  can accommodate up to four adults and two small children from $121 per night plus tax or $1694 plus tax for a 14 night trip.

This includes kits (dishes, pots, pans, bedding) that is normally an extra cost in summer, an additional driver (in summer $5.00 per person per night), free use of generator (a charge in summer) and other items designed to make the winter ski experience in an RV comfortable and cosy. 

CanaDream is the only RV company in Canada able to provide Guests with an RV built to withstand the Canadian winter.  These RVs enable Guests to use full facilities (including shower, sink and toilet) in temperatures as low as -30C).

For more information on British Columbia then see the web site of Destination BC.

For more details on the resorts James is visiting then see here:

Sun Peaks -  see here for further details about the resort   

Red Mountain - see here for further details about the resort  

Whitewater - see here for further details about the resort

Revelstoke - see here for further details about the resort  

Kicking Horse - see here for further details about the resort

Air Canada offers more daily flights from the UK to Canada than any other airline, with 63 non-stop flights scheduled per week to seven major Canadian cities. From London Heathrow, the airline operates daily services to Vancouver during the winter season. 

Air Canada operates new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on its flights from London Heathrow to Vancouver - this aircraft features a new Premium Economy option for those looking for more comfort and space, complementing International Business and Economy class.

Return Economy flights from London Heathrow to Vancouver start from £591.05 (1 November - 12 December 2016, incl. taxes). Find out more at or call Reservations on 0871 220 1111.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

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