Sunday, April 2, 2023

From Ski to Sea

The end of a fabulous ski season at Sun Peaks Resort (it actually closes on April 10, but I’ve left a bit early) ……. and my thoughts are turning to Spring. 

Praia da Luz in Portugal’s Western Algarve

HOME EXCHANGE - a free-of-charge alternative to paying for your travel accommodation

Some of you have asked me for the links to Home Exchange which I joined last year. So here it is: 

simonlouise-b74f2 (Use this code when joining to say who recommended you)

You can see an article about Home Exchange that I wrote for TOMORROW Algarve magazine last month here:  

Since joining the network myself, I have done a two-week exchange with a couple in Vancouver and had a great stay in their place in November while they were enjoying my Portugal place. As I type this blog, I’m in another Vancouver property, just for the weekend this time, “paid” for by Guest Points. This is a one-way swap where the property owner is collecting points to “pay” later for a trip of their own somewhere else. Both of these exchanges have been 100% successful. (our place in Portugal’s Western Algarve, you can only see it by joining though)

I am very happy to answer any questions you might have regarding loading your own property, photos, etc, on the site and about my experiences of swapping. And also about how to field all the enquiries you will quickly start to get. There’s big demand out there, with members from all over the world.


For negative replies, there’s an automatic “No” response (if you click on the envelope icon top right and click View Messages and then click on a specific message) which sends a very polite message without you having to type it every time. Obviously, if you are interested in a message, you write your own response through the message section. Having a 100% response rate puts you higher in the ratings as a member. Once you have started a negotiation with another member, you can swap emails, phone numbers, set up video chats, and link up on social media. 

You get automatic Guest Points on joining and these you can use for several free nights stays using just points, not an actual swap. When doing a reciprocal swap (either simultaneously or at another time of the month or year), you can close off a bedroom (or other room/closet) to store your valuables and personal stuff if you like. And if you are getting a smaller property in the deal, you can close off rooms in your home to make the exchange more even. You don’t pay anything until you make a “contract” for your first exchange and that is just a minimal annual membership fee to the Home Exchange site (covers insurance etc). 

Home Exchange Collection is the luxury property site and the company has recently purchased Love Home Swaps, too. If you have any questions, please email me on 

Here’s a recap of all my ski and other travel articles published this winter: 

August 29 2022 - SKI CANADA mag 2023 FALL ANNUAL BUYER’S GUIDE Vol 51 #1: “Trading Places” 

December 2022 - STYLE ALTITUDE “Want to stay in this ski chalet for free?” 

December 2022 - SUN PEAKS NEWS “Home Exchange Program Helps Sun Peaks Residents See the World” 

December 2022 - SUN PEAKS NEWS “Sun Peaks Businesses Enhance Local Coffee Culture” 

January 2023 - CANADA TODAY “Sun Peaks Stores Promote Local Coffee Culture”

January 2023 - FLIPBOARD “Sun Peaks Businesses Enhance Local Coffee Culture” 

January 2023 - SUN PEAKS NEWS Digital Nomads

January 2023 - SUN PEAKS NEWS Sun Peaks Locals Social Group Club

February 2023 - STYLE ALTITUDE Best Ways to Keep Warm Skiing

February 2023 - SUN PEAKS NEWS Fat Bikers Hungry for more Mountain Terrain

February 2023 - SUN PEAKS NEWS Sun Peaks Businesses Benefit from Federal Funding

February 2023 - SUN PEAKS NEWS Amateur artists get crafty at new monthly event 

February 2023 - TOMORROW ALGARVE Vacation Currency 

March 2023 - SUN PEAKS NEWS Sun Hosts Profile

March 2023 - SUN PEAKS NEWS Sun Peaks Academy of Dance Profile 

March 2023 - STYLE ALTITUDE  Major Trends in Skiing 

March 2023 - SUN PEAKS NEWS Ski Down in a Gown 

April 2023 - TOMORROW ALGARVE Voyage of Discovery: The Ultimate Study Abroad Adventure for Adults

Pages 84-86 

    Semester at Sea Lifelong Learning Program

And please link up with me on Social Media: 


Ski Blog:

Amazon Author: 





                                        Happy Spring!

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Baby it’s cold outside!

I’m just getting ready for a day of ski guiding in minus 25 Celsius. Not an easy task, but I volunteer as a Sun Host, showing newcomers around Sun Peaks’ 4,270 acres of slopes - whatever the weather.

Helly Hansen shell with Lindsey Vonn’s HEAD Legacy ski pants

Prep starts Sunday night when number 1 priority is recharging the batteries for my heated items: Volt mitts or Ororo gloves, Ororo socks, Volt vest, Volt 5v scarf or Ororo scarf, Therm-ic boot heaters. Packing a couple of the charging cables in my jacket pockets is a great idea so I can re-charge some of the depleted batteries if I find a handy socket at lunchtime. 

Changing the 3-level heat setting on Ororo Heated Gloves (jacket by Alchemy of RIDE;
goggles by Glade Optics; helmet by SMITH)

Another trick, to make the heat last throughout a long day on the slopes, is to wear both heated socks and heated boots. Not to switch on at the same time, but to start with one on and then, when those batteries run out, swap to the other. This works with heated glove liners and heated mitts, too. And Smartwool merino glove liners inside heated mitts are also a good combo. If there was a lightning strike, I’d be toast! If you’re wondering whether to buy mitts or gloves, I can tell you for sure that mitts (with no finger separators inside) are the warmest. And make sure your heated mitts have a heated thumb. 

Ramping up the levels on my Volt Heated Vest (suit by Obermeyer)

Foot Protection

Boot Gloves are absolutely invaluable. Whether I wear heated socks or heated boots (or neither or both), I always add DRYGUY Boot Gloves over my ski boots. With heated footwear, it is only necessary to use the lowest setting with boot gloves on top, which means the batteries last longer into the afternoon. They are relatively affordable (around $40) and, paired with good thermal socks from Smartwool or Heat Holders, they provide an extra defense against cold, prevent snow leakage, and prolong hardiness during cold weather. 

DRYGUY Boot Gloves  

But how do they work, you’re wondering? “The Boot Glove is made of neoprene which is in turn made of small closed cells that are filled with air, providing insulation against cold snow, water, and air by trapping heat in,” Cate Rodrigue, sales manager for Interex Industries explains. “Just like a wetsuit works in the water. The Boot Glove traps the relatively warmer air inside so although they are not providing heat - quality merino wool socks, natural body heat and good quality toe warmer products will do that - they perform by keeping that heat in, rather than letting it escape. Neoprene is also waterproof so the Boot Glove keeps cold snow or water away from the surface of your boot preventing the boot from essentially acting like a cooling device.” 

My DRYGUY Boot Gloves in action

Key to Layering 

Next to attend to is the perfect layering. I wear a lot of layers on the coldest days but it’s important to determine which ones are best nearest the skin.

Heat Holders’ soft, fluffy base layers are usually my choice for tops and leggings. There are various thicknesses for the base layers to suit different weather. 

The “Original” is so soft and fluffy, it’s like clothing yourself in Beanie Baby fabric. The “Lite” is slimline but still cosy. On minus 30 Celsius days I wear both just to be safe! 


My mid layer is a Kari Traa merino wool sweater with an integral hood that keeps the back of the neck fully covered and acts as a cosy helmet liner.

Next comes a heated vest which warms the chest and the back as though someone is giving me a warm hug - a toasty torso helps prevent loss of circulation and heat in the extremities. 

Ororo’s new red heated vest

A Smartwool merino long neck gaiter pulls up to act as a face mask, tucked under the edge of goggles. And I have a second one in a pocket in case of sogginess or, worse, frozen sogginess. Making sure every tiny area of skin is covered up is vital. If exposed skin goes numb and white, it’s the beginning of frost bite. No chance of a goggle tan in minus 30!

A heated scarf comes into its own during the deep freeze. Worn over the merino neck warmer, it keeps the back of the neck snug, also maintaining ambient blood flow to the head. So instead of suffering brain freeze through goggle gap when skiing or schussing fast, I’ll actually be the only hot head on the slopes. 

Outerwear De-mystified

Outerwear must of course be windproof, waterproof, breathable and insulated. For windproofing, choose jackets and pants that are 1 CFM - 0 CFM / m²/sec. Waterproof ratings are calculated in millimetres and 20,000 mm is for the wettest weather conditions. For optimum breathability, go for 20,000 g/mm2. And for insulation, the fill power rating should be 700 + for the deep chill. 

The Helly Hansen Sun Host uniform jacket I wear for my volunteer guiding (pictured at the top) is just a shell albeit a Goretex waterproof windproof shell with powder skirt and useful, helmet-friendly hood. But, at the risk of taking on ‘Telly Tubby’ proportions, I wear another insulated ski jacket underneath - either Obermeyer or Alchemy of RIDE. If I fell over, I would bounce. This might sound like a lot of clothing, but it’s the only way to ski all day in minus 20 C and below. These temperatures, fortunately, don’t happen too often in British Columbia but it is expedient to pack these items in case of a deep freeze. 

Skiing West Bowl at Sun Peaks Resort in full sunlight wearing Glade Optics 
(Ski suit by Alchemy of RIDE)

My favourite goggles for the coldest days are by Glade Optics from Breckenridge - they come with two different magnetic lenses, one for low light and the other for sunlight. Easy to pop on and off, they can be swapped whenever the visibility changes or if they fog or ice up. Less bulky than bringing a second pair of goggles which is something I have had to do in the past - especially once when heli-skiing with CMH Heli in minus 38! 

If you’re in the market for a new pair, get your order in for the new Flylow X Glade Adapt 2-0 - no need for two lenses as the photochromic Adapt 2 changes tint to suit the conditions. And it’s guaranteed not to fog. 

Sunburst Bar + Eatery at Sun Peaks Resort

Slower skiing, more breaks

Skiing technique is also paramount. Going Mach 2, barely turning, and waiting for the terrain to slow you down is never a good game plan but in the cold it is even worse. The faster you ski, the more of your own personal windchill you’ll create. So slow down (the snow will be sticky anyway when it’s really cold), make many more turns than you would usually, treat the terrain as if it was moguls even if it’s not, and practice short swings in order to give your metabolism something to do, heating up muscles from the inside out. Choosing bumps runs or rugged off-piste terrain helps.

Cinnamon bun at Sunburst
Bar & Eatery

Regular warming-up stops are also mandatory. This is the time to sample the goodies in all the mid-mountain lodges (such as cinnamon buns at the Sunburst Lodge at Sun Peaks) - and use the hot hand dryers to dry your accessories. When toes feel frozen, remove ski boots in the lodge and massage them gently back to life. Don’t tread on the wet floor, though, as getting socks wet is not conducive to putting ski boots back on and the wetness will freeze outside. Don’t push the envelope, know your limits and retreat to indoor cosiness every hour or so. If possible, pick lifts with covers (like the Sunburst Chairlift at Sun Peaks) or the less wind-exposed lifts.

Ambient Après

And it’s not just during the day that the cold needs combatting. For après ski, it’s essential to have warm gear to get to all the best Happy Hours (half-price Wine Wednesday at Bottoms, for example). Footwear is fundamental and boots, both long and ankle-high, like Bos & Co’s Ice Grip varieties are necessary for tramping through snowdrifts or over icy patches. Using topnotch Portuguese leather - and also manufactured there - they come with wool linings, tweed accents, chunky grippy soles, and are warm to minus 25 C and waterproof. Bos & Co also sells animal-free Portuguese boots and slip-on shoes from the brand Asportuguesas, which have thick corrugated non-slip soles and fabric uppers. 

Smartwool merino socks

For added warmth, pair with Smartwool merino socks using their online Sock Finder to narrow the choices down to exact needs ( 

Heat Holders Ultra Lite Minimum Thickness Snow Sports socks for men and women

A manmade fabric alternative is Heat Holders Ultra Lite Minimum Thickness Snow Sports socks with soft brushed inners. Using Japanese designed thermal yarn for softness and breathability, they have a short looped cushion pile which retains warm air giving the socks a 1.0 TOG rating (Thermal Overall Grade). Compare this to a basic cotton sock which would be around 0.33 TOG. The higher the TOG, the warmer the sock.  

Volt Heated 3v Camp Slippers - looking cool while keeping warm

And, if you don’t like clumping around in heavy duty footwear all evening, a compromise is the new heated 3v Camp Slippers by Volt. “We started with heated slippers over 10 years ago,” says Volt’s Chris Haffly. “We have had customers who have worn our other slipper styles over the years ask for a version which they could use outdoors. They also wanted something they could easily slide on and off so we came up with the Camp Slipper.” The rechargeable batteries give 3-7 hours of heat depending on the power level used and can be turned on and off by wireless remote. 

Heat Holders makes thermal pompom hats, neck warmers and matching mitts for après ski (and daily winter wear) which are luxuriously lined with velvety HeatWeaver insulation. There’s nothing warmer or softer to the touch. And their spa robes are perfect for pre and post hot tub wallowing.

Magical Merino 

Trying to understand the magic of merino - which is not very thick but somehow is still so warm - I asked Smartwool’s Tyler Stephenson what the secret is. “As a thermoregulating material, merino reacts to changes in your body temperature, perfect for insulation during physical activities like skiing or snowboarding,” she says. “In colder temperatures, merino provides warmth while wicking moisture away from your skin before it has the chance to turn to sweat. This allows the material to absorb moisture without sacrificing insulation.” With the wrong base layer fabric, you can sweat during exertion despite the cold temps and this can later turn to ice inside your clothing. 

Cosy clothing by Smartwool 

Stephenson recommends merino for base layers, for glove liners and for beanies under helmets. And, for those trying to avoid helmet hair, the merino solves the problem, eliminating static. “This is likely due to merino’s natural properties,” she says. “It’s temperature-regulating and moisture-wicking; absorbing and releasing moisture that might typically affect your hair.” Her advice for all merino garments is to machine wash carefully and air dry to re-shape, extending the product life, and reducing environmental footprint.

Powder day at Sun Peaks Resort - photo taken on Wringer, our run home

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Digital Nomads in Sun Peaks Resort

Dr Simon Hudson at work on the slopes of Breckenridge a few years ago

This week I had an article published in the Sun Peaks Independent News about the growing group of Digital Nomads in Sun Peaks. You can read it at:

In case you don’t know what ‘Digital Nomad’ actually means, or who it encompasses, it is anyone whose work is online/by phone/remote/virtual which means they don’t have to live close to a workplace or office but can actually work most of the time from anywhere in the world if they want to. Some DNs are actually nomadic, travelling around a lot. Others choose one (or more) destinations to live on a more regular basis, and they work from these places with the help of technology. I would even include another group: those who are still in the same home they used to be when they worked with the traditional commute-to-work set up, but, since Covid or due to some other reason, their work has become possible to do totally or mostly from home. This last group might become more nomadic once they have the ability to uproot and travel more. Often they are still anchored somewhere not by their now remote work, but due to other commitments. This could be family, for example, with kids still attached to schools. As future emptynesters, they might already be strategizing to move somewhere on their bucket list where they can combine work with pleasure, living in a more desirable environment. 

During my research into this subject, I interviewed a host of digital nomads in
Sun Peaks Resort where I am also living for the winter. I did a lot of research while writing a book called A Worldwide Guide to Destination Retirements to find the perfect place for work/life balance during my emptynesting years. The result was Sun Peaks for winters and Portugal’s Algarve for the rest of the year. Although this book was about retirement and semi-retirement, digital nomads are doing the same kind of soul-searching and scouting to find where they would be happiest. The nomads I interviewed are of various ages, different nationalities, with an array of business interests - but there emerged many similarities in their professional and social needs once they settled in their new abodes. They are all living in their dream mountainscape having left urban lifestyles, but the realities of working from home have revealed a few ‘champagne problems’. 

One of the main communalities was the loneliness of working solo in front of a screen or phone. They all want to find avenues to meet people for networking, recreation and friendship. Coincidentally, in the same issue of Sun Peaks News, I also wrote an article about the growing Sun Peaks Locals’ Social Club, now almost at 300 members. It might well have topped 300 now, due to the level of response since this was published last week! This club, and the other social groups I covered in that second story, could help solve some of the nomads’ isolation issues and get them integrated into the community. However, a dedicated Digital Nomad Group could be the most effective solution and local Councillor, Julie Kimmel is now spearheading a new initiative to created networks and social opportunities. 

Sun Peaks Locals Social Club

In my Algarve summer home, the seaside town of Lagos (just five minutes drive from my village) is welcoming thousands of digital nomads. I’m not exaggerating! A Facebook group called Lagos Digital Nomads was launched a couple of years ago by Joana Gloria and I remember her celebrating when it reached 1000 members in its first few months of existence. It now has 6.2k members! I joined this group as soon as I noticed it on Facebook as I, too, am a digital nomad. Since 2005 I’ve been working as a writer from various homes around the world - sometimes ski resorts, sometimes cities, often beach areas, and even on a world-travelling university ship - Semester at Sea - check out my blog about one of those voyages on: And just recently I got the job to work on it again as the Coordinator for the Lifelong Learners for the Fall 2023 voyage - please check out what this involves at: It’s a life-changing experience whether you go as staff, faculty, student or lifelong learner. 

The remote working trend has been growing exponentially since the pandemic turned many more people on to this alternative to the traditional workplace. So, I thought I would include in this blog some of the extra information and comments that I unearthed when interviewing for my SPIN article. 

Revelstoke Mountain Co Lab

While researching existing digital nomad networking hubs, I came across the Mountain Co Lab in Revelstoke. Run by a board of volunteers and a part-time operations director, it is a not-for-profit enterprise which has been furnishing digital nomads with workspace and facilities since 2015. “We get really busy in winter during the ski season, with a wait-list for all types of desks, and then typically see slightly less demand in summer,” says Board Member, Nia Williams. “Since the pandemic, it seems remote working is here to stay and Revelstoke is a really popular town for digital nomads wanting an active lifestyle. It’s also a fantastic vibrant community, which keeps a lot of people here beyond the end of the ski season.” The group is fulfilling the need for workspace, networking and a sense of community. By offering the downtown facilities 24/7, they are also enabling flexi-schedule nomads to ski and ride (or bike, hike, golf etc) all day and work into the evening. 

Go-Lab Golden

The growth in the digital nomad phenomenon has been recognized in Golden, too, where Marloes van Lent is the owner operator of Go-Lab co-working. “Personally I think co-working is only still in its baby shoes,” says van Lent. “I think the last two years has proven that there is a need for a different work setting. People want to live or travel wherever and bring their work with them.” 

Key to accommodating digital nomads is flexibility especially in terms of opening times. “Having 24/7 access to the space is a must plus providing a ‘private’ space for phone calls. We don't have a big space in Golden and at the start we didn't have phone booths. At one point we didn't have free spot left in our space and more than 50% of the people were on the phone or in virtual meetings. Needless to say, it was loud! With the subsidies available we were able to purchase two phone booths that are well used,” says van Lent. An electronic key system provided by Proximity enables 24 hour access which is especially beneficial for those working in different time zones. 

With socializing now back in full swing, van Lent is prioritizing social events for Go-Lab in 2023: “We can invite these remote workers to come and socialize as that is a challenge when you work by yourself from your home. People are starting to feel a need to have more social interactions.” Plans include a weekly ‘coffee crawl’ supporting local cafés and regular cross country ski nights. 

Van Lent is personally opposed to the term ‘digital nomad’ and prefers to be called a professional. I am a professional who needs a professional work space to do my job. To attract professionals to your ski town, make sure you have a professional work space with reliable internet (which has become easier and easier in the last few years) and the flexibility to access it. Have a variety of spaces, private offices/flex desks and meeting rooms to accommodate the different tasks professionals do during the day.”

Gary Boddington at work in Sun Peaks - courtesy of Dawn Boddington

Back to Sun Peaks and Gary Boddington who I featured in my Sun Peaks News article. Recognizing the need for a social group before the pandemic hit, he launched SPIT - Sun Peaks Information Technology group - with several others. It folded due to Covid restriction, but he would like to see it revitalized. Every digital nomad I interviewed for this article reinforced this need for dedicated groups and activities to facilitate social connectivity as an antidote for the loneliness of working from home. 

This could be your home office in Sun Peaks - it’s Judy Bartha’s pad, available for swaps through

Judy Bartha is a Life and Leadership Development Coach, who works from her Sun Peaks base sporadically. She has a second home there which she lists on, enabling other digital nomads to take advantage of the spectacular spot for their work and their play. Bartha is keen to have a source for office and computer supplies, equipment and support in the village. But, more importantly, she envisages a collaborative Sun Peaks group that is both work and social-focused. 

Photo courtesy of Judy Bartha

Karyn with son Krisjan 

 I found Karyn Brynjolfson through Sun Peaks Survivors Facebook Group. She and husband Reid both have virtual jobs based in Australia which they conduct from Sun Peaks. “It has certainly been a very interesting 10 months living the virtual mountain life,” says Brynjolfson. “The lifestyle and working hours are the best part of working remotely. It allows us to schedule our time as we please so we have the flexibility to enjoy the mountain during the day and schedule meetings earlier or later in the evenings.” There’s a price to pay though: loss of face-to-face contact with colleagues and other professionals. “If there was a space available that was set up for teleconferencing with good lighting and sound that would be appealing,” she says. Meeting likeminded people has been an unexpected challenge. She’s a regular at gym and yoga classes and is learning Nordic skiing with local teacher, Laura Kalina who has also connected her with the Sun Peaks Book Club. 

My digital nomad co working space at Sun Peaks Resort

Another interviewee for this project was Geological Consultant, Bruno Barde, who is a supporter of the idea of a co-working centre. Recently, he has been using office facilities at the Sun Peaks Grand Hotel while working remotely. During the pandemic, Barde’s family of four was able to work comfortably from their home, Kodiak Timber Lodge. “It would be great to have a remote worker group, where we could give/get some training, and work as a community,” he also confirms. He first became aware of the shared workspace concept over 20 years ago: “We used a co-working space for a start-up in Vancouver from 1999-2002. It worked well for us to find an exploration project, raise money and work toward a merger.”

Bruno Barde’s home office

Next there’s Registered Dental Hygienist, Afifa Eidher who moved to Sun Peaks with her husband and two young sons last year. “We chose Sun Peaks because we love skiing and were looking for a beautiful, safe place to raise our children,” she says. Perks of her new role include the accommodating schedule which enables her to spend more time with her kids: “I can be available anytime, drop them off and pick them up, and volunteer as a chaperone for their phys ed.” Although very grateful for her new active outdoor lifestyle, she thinks there is a lack of indoor recreation. “There are very few indoor activities that don’t involve alcohol. I am not a drinker, and it would be great to have more indoor options for socializing. The village needs more action, and things to do. So many businesses shut down during shoulder season, which adds to the boredom outside of work. A coffee shop with Wi-Fi where we could work would be great. It would be great to bring my laptop, have a London fog, listen to music, work and have the odd chat with locals.”

Tanya Billheimer

After working a variety of jobs around Sun Peaks since 2003, Tanya Billheimer landed a remote role 14 months ago with the British Columbia Lottery Corporation. “I think my work life balance is very good - my manager is very accommodating with my schedule, and I work shifts that I could ski or get on the lake in the summer almost every single day either before or after work if I wish, and when my work day is complete it is done. I do not need to attend to any work matters until my next work day.” Three daily breaks means she can get away from her home desk to walk her dog. For security purposes, she can only work from home with dedicated internet on dual 24-inch monitors rather than taking advantage of a co-working centre. But, she says, this enables her to appreciate uplifting views of the colourful sunrises and sunsets from her home office windows. 

A recent member of the Sun Peaks Rotary Club, Jackie Van Vliet works as an Investment Advisor with CIBC Private Wealth. “But my job is about so much more than just investments,” she says. “The best part of what I do is getting to know my clients, discovering what is important to them, and helping them live a life they love.” Already a Sun Peaks resident when she first took the job, Van Vliet was attracted initially to the village community and outdoor lifestyle: “My husband Anthony and I moved here with our daughter Charlotte who was four months old at the time. We have now been living here for almost four years. We wanted to raise our family in a small community that had lots of activities to keep us active and outdoors as much as possible.” 

Remote working was important as the couple were seeking a quieter environment with no commutes. Van Vliet’s job combines four days at home and one day in the Kamloops office - about an hour’s drive - for paperwork and networking/educational events. Her customers typically prefer the ease of online chats or video calls. “It’s rare that clients prefer to meet in my office. People lead busy lives, and a one hour meeting turns into much longer when you consider driving time, parking, etc.”

Van Vliet already had family living in Sun Peaks, but other draws were the K-12 school right on the ski slopes and the ski in/ski out village: “I love that I don’t need to drive to access skiing, hiking, etc. For example I can get out for a few ski runs on my lunch break and be back home within an hour. It’s also so peaceful, and good for my soul having views of the mountains and trees right outside my office window.” 

As a member of Rotary, she plans to help host networking events for digital nomads. She’s also a fan of co-working venues as a hub for connection and collaboration. “As far as attracting digital nomads to Sun Peaks, I think getting the word out there - through articles like this one - that people are successfully working remotely while enjoying the perks of living in a resort town helps plant the seed,” she says. “Access to child care and housing are key to attracting and keeping young professionals.” 

Jackie Van Vliet - photo by Zuzy Rocka, Sun Peaks artist and photographer

On chairlifts and in après ski bars, I have bumped into countless digital nomads who have become Sun Peaks residents or part-timers over the past five years or so. Many have invested in property, others support the seasonal rental market, some come and go in camper vans, especially those taking advantage of Sun Peaks being added to the Ikon Pass. They are all looking for ways to belong to the community rather than be considered tourists. 

Tahoe Mountain Lab when it was at mid-mountain at Heavenly Resort

I’ve been writing about the growing importance of digital nomads in ski resorts for the past decade. While skiing at Heavenly a few years ago, I even visited Tahoe Mountain Lab, at the time the highest co-working space in North America. Overlooking the spectacular lakeside mountains, the Tahoe Mountain Lab was ski in/ski out from the top of the Aerial Tram, 8,200 feet high. The building has since been repurposed so the company moved to another 12,000 ft location ten minutes from Heavenly’s California Lodge. 

The view from a room at Keystone Conference Center in Keystone, Colo
BOB WINSETT - photo courtesy of Vail Resorts

One of my early digital nomad articles was published in the Boston Globe focusing on the ‘Bleisure’ trend: a blurring of business and pleasure. Back then I interviewed Amy Kemp who had founded the ELEVATE coSPACE in Frisco, Colorado and then created the Mountain CoWorking Alliance, linking 11 independently owned co-working spaces in ski areas including Jackson Hole, Revelstoke, Tahoe, Park City, Durango, Avon (close to Vail and Beaver Creek) and Chamonix, France. The Alliance gave two free days of work at each venue for members, like collective ski passes. In response to ski in/ski out demand, ELEVATE was about to open a satellite branch at the base of Peak 9 in Breckenridge. This has since closed but has led to an array of co-working spaces around the Town of Breckenridge

If you’re wondering how big this digital nomad trend really is, then you might be interested in the work I am doing with my husband, Dr Simon Hudson, while updating a new edition of a book on Marketing for Tourism, Hospitality and Events to be published by Sage later this year. Here’s an excerpt: “The COVID-19 pandemic prompted many tourism destinations to diversify so as not to be so over-dependent on tourism. According to a recent Migration Policy Institute report, more than 25 countries had launched visa programs for digital nomads as of June 2022, enabling travelers to work legally, longer and more freely. ‘International remote work is not without its challenges for employees, employers and governments. But for traditional tourism countries, many of which are middle- and low-income societies, reforming immigration policies to welcome digital nomads could help compensate for income lost due to lower levels of tourism during the pandemic, which are expected to continue until at least 2024’ said the report.

The trend, sparked by the pandemic, began with small, tourism-dependent European and Caribbean nations. They were followed by larger economies like the UAE, Brazil and Italy who have all introduced their own initiatives. For all these countries, digital nomad visas are a way of attracting new ideas and talent to their shores as well as capitalising on the growth of remote work to inject foreign capital into their local economies. ‘A digital nomad can bring to us skills in everything from architecture to engineering, so it’s a good way to open up our country to skills from abroad,’ said Luca Carabetta, an Italian parliament member, as he introduced the new digital nomad visa in Italy. He was expecting the visa to attract 5 per cent of the global nomad market, which he estimates to be around 40 million people, in its first full year. With the oldest population in Europe, Carabetta also sees the temporary visa as a way of attracting younger residents, who can use it to test-drive a more permanent life in the country. ‘Our ultimate goal could be to have them, yes, as guests in Italy, but also to possibly establish themselves here.’ In preparation for the new visa, Carabetta said Italy had spent more than 1 million euros strengthening IT networks, improving transport and modernizing infrastructure in rural communities – all in the hope that digital nomads drawn to Italy’s more rural areas could help contribute to their economic development.”

Pristine, unspoiled, low density ski area: Just one of the reasons digital nomads are attracted to
  Sun Peaks Resort