5 REASONS TO VISIT…

5 reasons to visit

The latest offerings from some of Canada’s finest resorts.

STORY & PHOTOGRAPHY: S-Media


Sun Peaks

5 reasons to visit 2

1/ MORE FLIGHTS FROM YYC & YVR

WestJet added daily flights from both Calgary and Vancouver, beginning in late November. The Kamloops airport is a short 45-minute shuttle or drive to Sun Peaks.

2/ WINTER OKANAGAN WINE FESTIVAL

The Sun Peaks Winter Okanagan Wine Festival has six new events as part of  its wine-connoisseur agenda, from wine basics in “Wine 101” to learning to blend wines in assemblage and unique pairings like s’mores and mulled wine.

3/ NEW FAMILY SKI & RACE CAMPS

A new program for families looking to expand their skiing skills while on vacation, Sun Peaks is offering family ski camps this winter. The camp also includes entry into the popular Friday race series so participants can test their newly acquired skills in a live setting. The camp runs Wednesday to Thursday starting Jan. 8, 2014.

4 / BACKCOUNTRY SNOWSHOE ADVENTURE

Snowshoeing is a great way to get to know an ski area and its surroundings. Explore 12 kilometres of snowshoe trails, starting from the central village leading out through backcountry forest and meadows, arriving at the stunning McGillivray Lake. You can opt to explore on your own or hire an experienced local guide and venture through the natural habitats of the Canadian lynx, wolf and snowshoe hare. This is not for the faint of heart; it’s a five-hour ascent over 1,500 feet.

5 / SKI WITH AN OLYMPIC CHAMPION

At Sun Peaks, all guests have this op­portunity every weekend. Nancy Greene Raine, a Canadian Senator and winner of the 1968 Winter Olympics giant slalom, meets visitors at the top of the Sunburst chairlift around 1 p.m. and shows guests her favourite areas, the best snow and her extensive local knowledge of the resort and its history.

 

TRAVEL TIP

XC SKI The nordic skiing at Sun Peaks is a hidden gem. Try the moonlight nordic ski program, where under a full moon you can enjoy a hearty meal, chocolate fondue and live entertainment in a cozy backwoods cabin.

 

Whistler/Blackcomb

5 reasons to visit 3

1/ SKI LIKE SVINDAL, GUAY, VONN

You don’t need to be an World Cup skier to experience your own Olympic moment. Rip the Dave Murray Downhill course – if you dare – or the women’s Olympic venue on Franz’s is a leg-burner extraordinaire.

Don’t forget to hit Hot Air with some gusto (you might need someone to spot for traffic below the jump) and ride into the Olympic finish. And if you’re feeling really peppy, raise your arms and celebrate.

2/ RIDE THE PEAK TO PEAK

When the Peak 2 Peak gondola opened in 2008 there was concern that the idea may flop. Nothing could be further from the truth. Tourists from all over the globe have flocked to take in the breath-taking views and revel in its mind-boggling engineering.

3/ FAMILIES THAT SKI TOGETHER, STAY TOGETHER

Many say that the happiest family memories occur on snow. From exploring trails through the trees, to conquering the mountain or run, to nursing a cup of hot chocolate while recounting details of every run, family time doesn’t get any better than connecting on the mountains. The new “family zone” on Whistler Mountain – accessed by the Emerald Express – is a slow skiing area, featuring terrain for all skiers in the group.

4/ LEGENDARY APRÈS

There’s no better après than in Whistler. At Creekside, Dusty’s is numero uno and on the village side, options abound. Bars and patios sprinkle the base of the mountain making this pedestrian-only village exude an atmosphere of camaraderie. The Garib- aldi Lift Co., Merlin’s and Longhorn’s are about 10 paces beyond the ski racks. Forbes Traveler magazine ranked the GLC as the best après establishment in North America.

5 / THE SNOW!

For every 150 meters of vertical you climb on Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, the temperature drops one degree celsius. So even when it’s raining in the village, at 1,609 metres, the snow is, more often than not, light. The combination of high levels of precipitation and moderate temperatures creates the west coast powder that Whistler is famous for.

 

HANG WITH THE HARDCORE

“I really love the Chimney (Blackcomb). Everybody hits Spanky’s first thing on a powder day and leaves Chimney for me. Plus, I like the high-speed entrance line … seeing how far I can make it up the hike is a lot of fun. – Rory Bushfield, professional freeskier

 

Kicking Horse

5 reasons to visit 4

1 / FRESH NEW FACE

It might not feel like Kicking Horse is a new ski resort but it’s still the Rockies, young­est four-season stop. And with the support of the nearby town of Golden (at the initial referendum, 94% of the residents voted in favour of the resort’s development), Kick­ing Horse is maturing nicely.

2 / NATIONAL PARK MARATHON

A couple hours west of Calgary, the resort is situated next to the Rockies in the Dogtooth range of the Purcell Mountains, among six national parks. Yes, six (Banff, Glacier, Kootenay, Yoho, Mt. Revelstoke and Jasper).

3 / THE VERT!

The vertical drop from mountaintop to the village is 4,133 feet, making it the fourth highest in North America. Read: long runs, legs of lead.

4 / SCENIC ASCENTS

The Golden Eagle Express features Can­ada’s first, walk in eight-person gondola cabins. The fixed-grip quad Stairway to Heaven, carries skiers up 1,230 feet. You’ll want to be alert to take it all in, especially on bluebird days.

5 / MOUNTAIN TOP LUXURY

The Eagle’s Eye, set at the top of the mountain, is Canada’s highest elevation restaurant. Try the “lunch package” the ultimate all-in-one choice which includes ticket, lunch entrée, homemade pie-of-the day and drink.

 

MUST TRY*

HELI-SKI WITH IN THE PURCELLS While you’re in the area, why not hit up Purcell heli-skiing, who have been taking skiers to the pristine summits and snow fields of the Purcell Moun­tains for 35 years; 1.877.HELISKI.

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