Guest post by Nicole Wears of the Traveling Canucks
As I reflect on our first family vacation to Sun Peaks Resort, I can’t help but feel fortunate to call British Columbia home.
While many people seek warmer climates to escape winter’s chill, we prefer to grab our snow gear and head for the hills. For us, the perfect winter vacation must include fresh powder runs, steamy hot tubs and red wine by a warm crackling fire. While this trip to British Columbia’s 2nd largest ski resort lacked fresh powder runs, the bluebird spring-like conditions offered the best of both worlds. It’s hard to complain when the sun is shining and the groomers are super fast.
We have two small boys, both under the age of 3, so travelling can be challenging at the best of times. But we’ve grown fond of travelling as a family over the past few years. Of course, our travel style has had to adapt and evolve with the changing times, so we now seek destinations that cater to younger families.
Located 45 minutes from the city of Kamloops, the journey from Vancouver to Sun Peaks took about 5 hours, with a few short breaks along the way. Surprisingly, this was our first time visiting Sun Peaks during the winter, which, as we quickly learned, has been a huge oversight. We stayed at the iconic Coast Sundance Lodge, perfectly situated a few steps from the base of the Sundance Express Chairlift. Most accommodations in and around the European-style alpine village are true ski in and ski out properties, with snowy trails leading directly to the front door. How convenient is that?
Our youngest was 3 months old during our trip, so a day on the slopes was limited to just Cameron. It was also the first time our 2 year old witnessed dad in his snowboard gear, so all morning he looked outside the window and said, “oh, there’s Daddy!” to every skier or snowboarder wearing a big red jacket. It was quite comical.
Cameron met up with Doug Avery, a long time local resident of Sun Peaks, and explored the resort’s 3,678 acres of skiable terrain. “Today we’re going around the world”, said Doug, referring to the act of skiing all three mountains and riding each of the resort’s chairlifts. The resort is perfect for families with kids learning to ski because every lift has an easy run and most runs end at the Village Day Lodge, making it difficult to get lost.
I enjoyed my time hanging out in the cute village with my little ones. We went for fresh coffee and delicious treats at Bolacco Café, we played in the snow outside our room and we watched the skiers and snowboarders fly through the terrain park. We purchased a shiny red sled specifically for this trip, but our toddler preferred to pull the sled through the village instead of riding it down the hill. According to him, red sleds are meant to be pulled, not ridden.
One morning, I was treated to a wonderful massage in my hotel room, courtesy of Hands on the Move. I’ve never had a massage come to me before, so this was quite the treat. The baby napped next to me in the room, allowing me to fully relax and enjoy the massage. I highly recommend it.
Beyond skiing and snowboarding, there are enough outdoor adventures and family friendly activities to keep everyone happy, including snowshoe golfing, dog-sledding and snowmobile tours. One evening, Cameron set out on a moonlight snowshoe and campfire cookout. The tour begins with an easy 1km snowshoe tour through old growth forest to a winter camp, where a campfire with sausages, s’mores and hot apple cider await. It was the perfect way to get some exercise, socialize and have a unique mountain experience.
A fun activity suitable for our family was the horse drawn sleigh ride. We curled up under a blanket and listened to the jingle bells jingle as the horses led us through the village and surrounding forest trails. Our toddler was a little confused at how we were moving but he loved when the horses trotted to pick up speed.
Another fun activity for kids is the tube park. We caught a short ride up the carpet lifts located in front of the Village Day Lodge, an event all on its own, and reached the park within minutes. There are two runs to choose from, one faster than the other. Our little man was a little freaked out by the experience, but he should be better next year when he’s a little older.
Our trip to Sun Peaks Resort reminded us that we don’t need to escape winter, but embrace it. Our beautiful backyard is loaded with outdoor adventure and family fun for all shapes and sizes.
Cam and Nicole Wears are the duo behind the popular Canadian travel blog TravelingCanucks.com. Having travelled to over 65 countries & territories together in the past 7 years, their life journey has changed since welcoming their first baby boy in late 2011. They now write about family travel and share the baby travel tips they learn along the way. You can follow them on Facebook and Google+