Sunday, March 6, 2022

Spring Skiing at Sun Peaks Resort

Spring Skiing at Sunburst Lodge Sun Peaks

Put on your SMITH snow-centric sunnies and get into the après - it’s spring time here in Sun Peaks with thoughts turning to piste picnics and patio parties. Unless you actually like a goggle tan, it’s time to ski in lighter-weight eye gear and SMITH Optics has introduced two new snow-centric sunglass models among its 2022 collection of sport performance eyewear. And they cross over to summer sports such as golf, tennis, padel (my new obsession) and all watersports. 

Bobcat on left, Embark on right by SMITH Optics

The new Embark is Smith's first glacier-style sunglass complete with ventilated and flexible TPU side shields for peripheral light coverage that are removable to convert the performance piece into everyday lifestyle sunglasses without compromising best-in-class innovations and design. Pairing goggle-like performance with the airflow and comfort of a sunglass, the new Bobcat provides the features and innovations of Smith's best-selling counterpart, the Wildcat, in a smaller face fit and lightweight feel with the option to buy different lenses. Both models have versatile crossover to support a vast range of winter adventures that can carry over into spring biking, hiking and more. Both models are available now on smithoptics.com or https://www.smithoptics.com/en_CA and at select specialty retailers worldwide. 

A few tips for optimal Spring Skiing: 

Don’t rush out (unless it’s a powder day) – wait until the snow softens in the sunshine. Figure out which are the sunny slopes and which are in the shade – follow the sun. Finish early if the afternoons are slushy – or, at Sun Peaks, ski over to Morrisey Mountain which stays in the shade most of the day. If skiing off piste, wait until it starts to thaw on the top to form spring snow otherwise known as corn. 

It’s very unpredictable in a Canadian spring - each day might start a bit chilly, well below zero, but by lunchtime and mid pm could be into the plus temperatures. March is a pretty snowy month, too, so it’s not all pure sunshine and bluebird skies. Heated layers, boot heaters, heated gloves or mitts can all help as they can be switched on and off at will, adapting to the conditions to keep you cosy rather than having bulky layers that can become too hot. 

My latest trials on the trails have been with Ororo and their range of heated gloves are great for those who like the flexibility of fingers - and they also make heated mitts. Ororo’s heated socks are exceptionally good and also affordable – especially right now as there’s 30% discount on all their products. And these are useful, too, for al fresco après, keeping you balmy when quaffing cocktails as sun goes down.  

Ororo’s heated socks with tiny battery pack that goes in a pocket above the top of the boot

Because of the risk of overnight freeze of the previous afternoon’s sun-melted slush, morning and evening walks can be slippery in spring. That’s where spikes come in – for example, MICROspikes by KahtoolaThese can be easily slipped onto any outdoor hiking shoe or boot and have twelve hardened stainless steel spikes per foot linked by welded chains to a stretchy rubbery band which goes around the toe, sides, and heel of the footwear. Great, too, for early morning or late night walks.



Other Spring Skiing Staples: 

- Wear a helmet with good vents for example the SMITH Vida in white 
- Bring your sunscreen and SPF lipbalm in order to reapply regularly 
- Hone your spring skiing skills with lessons, camps and programs with the Sun Peaks Sports School  
- Free skiing with the Sun Hosts to find out the best spring strategy for the slopes 



Patio Posing: 

The Patio at Morrisey’s Pub can sit 56 people, warmed by four fire pits, three heat lamps and blankets on demand. “We have one of the best patios in the village in my opinion,” says manager, Scotty Craig. “The vibe is 'relax with friends with great cocktails and amazing food'. We have the best wings on the mountain and the fish tacos are unreal!” He particularly recommends the Chocolate Avalanche Martini and the range of 10 beers on tap. Open from 3pm Wednesday-Sunday, you can ski in following the village signs and ski out through main street. There’s a full outdoor menu, with highlights like the Saturday Supper beef roast. Thursday is $5 Neighborhood Beer and, starting at 7:30 inside the pub, it’s Open Mic Night. There’s also $5 Fridays and more live music on Saturday nights starting at 8pm with beer and cocktail features.  

The Patio at Morrisey’s Pub

A great addition to the Spring Ski Resort wardrobe is this Chelsea Boot by Asportuguesas. It's fab for both indoor and outdoor wear with its comfy upper and thick corrugated sole, 3cm above the snow. Made in Portugal, the top is wool and the sole is waterproof cork, one of Portugal’s major exports. You can order online and there's 10 % off for signing up to their newsletter. 

Chelsea Boot by Asportuguesas

Other hillside hotspot hang outs around Sun Peaks village include Masa’s and Bottoms Bar & Grill right at the foot of the ski slopes and the gorgeous Garden Patio at Vertical Café with its perfect sunset views. Check out my article on "The Little Café That Could" at: https://sunpeaksnews.com/the-little-cafe-that-could-vertical-cafe-crew-overcome-unprecedented-times-with-a-smile/ 

Masa’s

Bordering the Gentle Giant run is the patio at Cahilty Creek Kitchen & Taproom where events such as last weekend’s Cider Saturday take place. The Pop-Up Cider Tasting was courtesy of WoodWard Cider Co. from Kamloops. 

The Pop-Up Cider Tasting on the patio at Cahilty Creek Kitchen & Taproom

Spring Events at Sun Peaks: 

Art exhibits courtesy of ArtZone at Sun Peaks Grand Hotel & Conference Centre, Vertical Café, Tourism Sun Peaks, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, and Guest Services. 

Free Family Activities Fridays and Saturdays 5-8pm at the Sun Peaks Centre Great Hall.  


Film Festival March 10-12: ArtZone hosts the 2022 Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival (VIMFF) at the Sun Peaks Grand Hotel and Conference Centre, with two extra Sun Peaks’ contributions. Kicking it off is local photographer Roger Mirka’s film recounting his volunteer work with Game Rangers International at the Kafue Elephant Release Facility in Zambia. Followed by McSporties, which is sponsoring the Sun Peaks premiere of “Tales from Cascadia”. 

The Telus Nancy Greene 3 Mountain Tour on March 12: a self-guided mountain tour with photo opps for costumed teams, barbecue at Masa's Bar + Grill outdoor patio, and a silent auction that night. Money raised goes to the Sun Peaks Education Society (SPES) and the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation.  


The Hub International Nancy Greene Festival March 25-26: the 17th annual gathering of the Nancy Greene Ski League and the biggest in Canada. As well as 600 kids competing, it brings around 2000 guests to the resort to spectate, celebrate and enjoy all the festival fun. Race events include a speed trap, dual GS, jump contest, skier X style kombi course, and moguls, with Nancy Greene herself on hand to cheer the racers, sign helmets, and hand out awards at the 4pm ceremony by the Village Clock Tower each day. For more information, please contact the Sun Peaks Alpine Club at hubngfestival@gmail.com or visit Sun Peaks Racers.  

Alchemy of RIDE Pop Up Tent

Alchemy of RIDE Pop Up Tent Event March 26 and 27 noon-6pm at the Sun Peaks Grand Hotel Ballroom Foyer. This is the second AOR visit to Sun Peaks this winter – see my SPIN article: https://sunpeaksnews.com/paint-the-pistes-alchemy-of-ride-returns-this-month/ This time around, artist and designer Lynne Harrison will be bringing her full collection of bike gear for men and women, as well as other sports lines suitable for gym, running, golf, surfing – and, of course, her sensational winter wear for ski, snowboard, Nordic. For Spring, you’ll need a windproof, waterproof outer, so consider a technical Alchemy of RIDE jacket. A riot of spring colours, they have zippered side vents which provide ventilation. You can also get base layers and neck buffs to match, all of which continue into other spring and early summer sports. 


The Canadian Adaptive Snowsports' (CADS) Annual Ski & Snowboard Festival March 28-April 1: students, instructors, friends, and family from across Canada gather for a week of adaptive skiing and snowboarding improvement lessons for all levels; race training; instructor certification; camaraderie, games, on-snow activities and après.  









Friday, February 11, 2022

Millionaire Skiing at Sun Peaks Resort

The Wrights (right) and Hudsons (left) at Sun Peaks

It’s a small and subtle change, but just lately British, Australian and American accents are tentatively multiplying at Sun Peaks. Pent-up potential skiers are slowly appearing for vacations and longer stays and there’s a feeling that post-pandemic partying on the pistes and enhanced après action may not be all that far off. 
 
The domestic ski market - from across Canada - has been flourishing this season, particularly at weekends, but up until recently it was only the ultra ‘crisis resistant tourist’ who turned up from overseas. Craving a Canadian adventure, two Brits braved the travel tribulations to spend a week at Sun Peaks last month, skiing daily and sampling the culinary cornucopia of the pretty Tyrolean-themed town. “We came to Sun Peaks because the shutdown for Brits in France meant that all the other resorts in Italy, Austria etc would be crammed with British skiers,” says Bill Wright. “We decided on Canada because my wife, Deb had never been, we had friends living in Sun Peaks for the winter, and, by coincidence, our son’s girlfriend comes from Vancouver and her parents used to own a condo in the resort.” Stars aligned! 


Plane Privileges 
Choosing WestJet Business Class flights into Kamloops made the lengthy journey with a six hour layover in Calgary less arduous. “The comfortable Westjet lounge really helped, we were able to take turns having naps, and have plenty to eat and drink,” said Bill. “But really I think the flights should be better timed to arrive in the resort for dinner if they want to attract more Brits in future.” There were also beds on the plane, making the Atlantic crossing cushy. Due to Bill’s global oil business career, the Wrights have lived in many different countries, skiing their way around the world. “We skied a lot in the US while we were based in Texas, especially Colorado, and we absolutely love Vail,” says Deb. A stint in Paris led to many French and Italian ski resort forays. 

Great grooming and empty slopes - Photo by Kelly Brown

Millionaire Skiing 
So, how does Sun Peaks compare with ritzy resorts elsewhere in the eyes of these cosmopolitan connoisseurs? “It is millionaire skiing!” Deb exclaimed on her first day, when she saw how few people there were on perfectly groomed slopes swathed in sunshine. It was a Wednesday in late January – weekdays at Sun Peaks are sparsely populated compared to weekends. “Also, although it has been sunny all day, the snow hasn’t melted and gone slushy by the afternoon like it would in the European resorts that we’re used to,” said Bill. “It’s amazing how the temperatures are low enough for the snow to stay crisp all day but not too cold to make it uncomfortable for us.” 


On Top of the World
The panoramic views across the Okanagan to the Big White and Revelstoke ranges were a major hit. “We’re also really enchanted by the pretty town and the fact that everything is a stone’s throw from the Sun Peaks Grand where we’re staying,” he added. “We chose that hotel because of the pool and hot tubs – we are ‘Polar’ swimmers in the UK, going in the sea daily throughout the winter.” In fact he was caught on camera on Christmas Day 2021 after a swim on Brighton Beach, England with TV presenter Jeff Brazier and ended up in the Daily Mail newspaper - (Bill's on the right of the photo). 

Hot tub at the Grand
Hot Tub Heaven 
The couple’s hot tub hilarity was a daily feature. The first day, anxious to regenerate aching muscles and recover from jet lag, Bill was hoping for a restful soak with the occasional plunge into the surrounding snow – “I like to do polar bear rolls in the snow in between hot tub hopping,” he describes. But a group of garrulous guests meant that conversation was inevitable. Once used to this, both the Wrights really enjoyed their hot tub experiences, fascinated by the different lifestyles and culture of their fellow hardy travellers (Canadians, Brits, Austrians, Germans, Americans and Australians) as well as everyone's shared Sun Peaks’ stories. “It’s like the Cantina bar in Star Wars,” quipped Bill. “It’s great that the Grand has three hot tubs which are outdoors overlooking the pistes as well as the spectacular sunset views down the valley.” 

Heated Patio at Vertical Café 
Vertical Vittles 
Their first day, the Wrights headed to Vertical Café for mid-morning coffee, on a mission suggested by their son and his girlfriend who had highly recommended it for 
Sun Peaks’ healthiest food options as well as several decadent treats. They had rented skis from the Grand’s ski shop and were meeting their ‘ski guides’ (yours truly and hubby Simon) at 11 for an introduction to the piste map. As it turned out, they were so enchanted by the Vertical vittles that they returned there on several occasions, sampling a good portion of the menu including drinks, vegetable soups, healthy locally-farmed salads, creative vegan wraps - and, notably, their iced cinnamon buns. 

Vertical Café cinnamon sensation

Sharing the Love
Showing the Wrights around the lift system, which spans three mountains and 4270 acres of skiable terrain, was a positive pleasure for Simon and I. We ski almost every day with a goal of clocking up 100 days by the end of the season. Often in groups with locals, we have great fun in every weather and diverse snow conditions, trying out different runs and routes all the time, and enjoying all the chairlift chatter. However, it’s not until you are showing off Sun Peaks to newcomers that you recreate that first-time fervour. Just like the nightly après scene, it’s intoxicating! The Wednesday, Thursday and Friday all qualified as ‘millionaire’s skiing’ for the Wrights as the slopes were blissfully quiet with no sign of a lift line. We spent the weekend successfully avoiding queues by timing our slope choices against the typical flow, skiing over the lunch period, and going slightly off the beaten track. 

Dipping into West Bowl

Powder Paradise
Both Monday and Tuesday were powder days – slightly stodgier on the first day (if you’re being powder picky!) but pure light-as-a-feather Okanagan Champagne Pow on their last day. “This is just what I was expecting in Canada,” said Bill as we took him on a hike into West Bowl, putting in fresh tracks in the hero snow. We returned to the area a second time to find the wind had sifted snow back into our tracks, clearing the slate for a second sensational virgin powder plunge! 



Wine Wednesday 
Their first dinner out was at Bottoms Bar & Grill which offers half priced bottles of wine on Wednesdays. This is a great deal, with quaffs such as The Show, a Californian cabernet sauvignon around $20. Several local beers and Okanagan wines were also sampled that night in the jolly atmosphere at this intrinsic après ski bar, right on the foot of the slopes, which has a more intimate vibe now that tables are partitioned with screens sporting gorgeous mountainscapes by local artists and photographers. 

The conservatory at Bottoms Bar & Grill

For sharing, get the nachos, the Thai Laksa curry is always good, as well as the burgers, halloumi, beef dip, and anything with their signature curly fries. If you hashtag Bottoms on your 
Sun Peaks’ snaps on Instagram, you could see your holiday handiwork featured on their Instagram screen during dinner. 

Voyageur Bistro

Jaegermeister Moment 
Our ‘Friday Night Out’ was at vibrant Voyageur Bistro which specializes in ancient recipes and locally-sourced Canadian cuisine. A dinner delay meant that, after our starters which included bannock, brie and berry compote, we over-imbibed somewhat. But who could resist the Hester Creek followed by the wine list’s most expensive offering, The Judge? Well, we lost all judgement that’s for sure and ended up downing two trays of Jaegermeister shots as well. Our last bottle was called Moon something – chosen merely because we liked the name. Poutine was the biggest hit – “it’s something I just have to try,” said Deb who again had been schooled in Canadian ski resort staples in advance by her son. Voyageur excels in this downhill delicacy, mixing sweet potato and normal fries in with the homemade gravy and Armstrong cheese curds. And the bison burgers and ribs all went down very well, helping to counteract the incipient hangovers. Another feature there is the Tortière, a French-Canadian puff pastry meat pie for which I have even witnessed vegetarians breaking their resolve. 

Culinary Capers 
Cahilty Creek Kitchen & Taproom was a big hit with the Wrights. They sauntered there from the Grand which is right next door, dining on kale and Brussel sprout salads, flat iron steak and chips, with roasted fresh veg. “It was just what we needed after a day on the slopes, really good food, very good service and a jolly atmosphere,” said Deb. 

They were also impressed by Mantles, securing tables by the cosy romantic fireplace, and served by the highly professional bar manager. “He is so well informed,” enthused Bill who has a bit of a reputation as a wine buff himself. “We had a great conversation about Canadian wine from the Okanagan and ended up with a Hunter Hill, a winery that the bar manager had actually visited.” Craving more healthy produce, they loved the chili pecan salad and traditional Caesar. 

Masa’s Happy Hour

It’s possible that Deb overdid the merlot at Masa’s where we had pre-dinner drinks one night, but she recovered over the sizzling schnitzel cordon bleu afterwards at Powder Hounds. This is one of our faves – we’re going there for Valentine’s Day dinner – and other features that night were the schnitzel Oscar, the stroganoff and the linguine bolognaise. Such great décor – what could have been just a squarish dining room in a modern building has been transformed by the creative ceiling décor, glass table separators and the sociable bar area. Then there's the accomplished wait staff who manage to be both real and polished at the same time. Opening back in 1998, Powder Hounds is Sun Peaks' oldest privately-owned restaurant.  

Snow Ghosts at Sun Peaks

Conclusions from our Canadian Converts 
“I think the skiing at Sun Peaks is fabulous, so well-groomed, with lots of meandering tree-line trails making for beautiful picturesque vistas around every corner,” said Deb. This impression was echoed by Bill who also loved skiing in and out of - and around - the village: “Sun Peaks is truly ski in/ski out and everything is so accessible, taking out all the hassles out of skiing. I would come back for that very reason because things work here.” 

Beautifully decorated rooms at the Sun Peaks Grand

Walking around the resort from the centrally positioned Grand was also sheer pleasure and the Wrights were interested to learn that the celebrated resort planner, Paul Mathews of Ecosign had purposely designed 
Sun Peaks with a ski-through groomed Main Street and avoided putting in stairs that, at other resorts, make for difficult negotiation in slippery ski boots. With slopeside eateries dotted everywhere at European ski resorts, Deb concluded that this wasn’t a loss at Sun Peaks. “We had the Sunburst Lodge which was pivotally positioned for rests, loo stops and lunches,” she said. “And it doesn’t matter that there are not many places up the mountain to eat because all the village restaurant and cafés are so easy to access as part of the ski day.” Skiing to the grocery shop or ski boutiques was also a plus. “And the ski valet at the Sun Peaks Grand is spectacular,” Bill enthused. “You simply hand your skis in and they are gone! And you can wear your ski boots back through the hotel to your room which is a real bonus as a lot of places don’t allow that.” 


Search for Cinnamon 
One other thing that might bring them back next season was the hunt for the elusive Sunburst cinnamon bun. By Day 7 Deb was desperate to try the fabled Sun Peaks pastry that arrives daily at the Sunburst Bar & Eatery, the redolent baking smell preceding its appearance. Again son and girlfriend had rhapsodized about this local tradition. A 10:45 coffee break was sure to result in cinnamon success, or so the staff at the Grand had told her that morning. Instead of the usual ‘Sold Out’ sign, there were actually two of the huge buns at the counter and just one person in front of Deb in the queue. Result! Or was it? Turned out the lady ahead bagged both to share among her party of four and Deb’s hopes were dismally dashed. A later lunch stop at The Annex daylodge also failed on the cinnamon front. Oh well, there’s always next time!

Easy button temperature adjustment on Ororo heated gloves
Handy Heaters
The 'Wright Advice' for other wannabee visitors to Canadian ski resorts - invest in heated gloves, socks or boots. "Everyone seems to have them here," says Deb. "I actually have the fixture in my boots already, I just need the batteries. And I really would like a pair of Ororo heated gloves. I've seen how cushy it is to be able to switch them on and off depending on the temperature and use the various levels." Ororo also make heated fleeces, heated vests, heated jackets, heated hoodies, all suitable for wintersports, golf, hunting, biking, winter dog walking and hiking. 

Ororo Heated Socks with a small battery pack that tucks into a pocket just above the ski boots

Sun Peaks Resort Links
Email - guestservices@sunpeaksresort.com 
Phone - 250.578.5474






Monday, January 17, 2022

Getting Un-Intimidator-ed at Sun Peaks Resort

Sun Dog at Sun Peaks Resort - photo by Dawn Boddington

So I’ve been skiing since 1973, had instruction over the decades in Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France, USA and Canada, can tackle most runs at most resorts albeit it with my own particular hybrid habits and varying measures of confidence, and I’m now skiing daily at Sun Peaks Resort for the season. Why would I take a lesson at this point and – I’ll say it before you do - at this advanced age? 

Because you can always learn something new with skiing! It is an ever-changing domain of different snow conditions, whimsical weather, evolving equipment, and shifting tuition trends - not to mention the flagging fitness and diminishing muscle of older age. With a Sun Peaks season’s pass comes a free lesson among many other benefits. Just three skiers get paired with an instructor of your chosen level, a wonderful boost to your everyday skiing enjoyment and progression. 


Choosing ‘All Mountain Performance’, my husband Simon Hudson and I were joined by Ryan Mussio, a part-time resident who has been coming to Sun Peaks for nine years all the way from Brisbane, Australia. Our Level 3 instructor was Jordan Henry, a former hockey player who started skiing at Tod Mountain in 1992. “I took my Level 1 within a month of starting to ski and I have worked for Sun Peaks ever since,” says Jordan. “I also spent some years as a coach with the Nancy Greene Ski Program.” And he is a Level 2 Snowboard Instructor and a Level 1 Race Coach, to boot. He also told us that, in 1995, he and his wife had a romantic winter wedding on Valentine’s Day in Reno, NV, after skiing Sugar Bowl that day. 

Having asked us what we wanted to gain from the two-hour lesson, he put together our requests and first took us to Sting, a beautifully groomed single black diamond run, for our ‘warm up’. “During the class we discussed the CSIA skills and introduced how they work together on different terrain, conditions and type of turns a person would like to make,” says Jordan. Over the course of the first hour or so, we did a variety of drills designed to change our attitude to turning. I particularly liked the Falling Leaf or Chicken Drill. “We did drills that were intended to have the class members experience another approach to skiing – i.e. what and where a sliding turn works versus a steered turn and a carved turn - as well as tactics that will increase your chances of success,” Jordan explains. This led to a skiing style that was much slower and more controlled than our usual efforts, with plenty of time to get ready and steady for the next turn. We also did shoulder/torso angulation drills and, particularly important for me for the tough stuff to come, honed our gliding skills.


Next run was the equally immaculately groomed single black diamond Exhibition where we followed exactly – or near enough - in Jordan’s tracks trying to emulate his smooth, serene and apparently effortless swirls. I always find drills a bit awkward – I can see what I am supposed to do but have no idea if I’m actually doing it and it all feels very unnatural. When asked by Jordan how I felt about the exercises, my comment was “I understand it all but I think I need more practice!” He graciously agreed. 

Finally, our goal: Intimidator, another single black diamond but with a steep pitch at the top more worthy of double diamond status and ungroomed – think bumps. I hate this run! At the top, between big and irregular bumps, it has icy segments which always upset my equilibrium and, once I get nervous, my legs never seem quite as reliable as I would like. However, following an instructor always gives me confidence and I was very happy to turn exactly where Jordan turned, using his purposefully-picked line. 

Immediately, my new gliding prowess came in handy – a new survival skill! I had learnt on a Bumps for Boomers course in Aspen a few years ago how to use mogul topography to slow down every turn: banking up the softer slower snow of the bump itself rather than building up speed in the slippery trough. Adding Jordan’s new glide and his reminders about slope-craft, I found I could choose my line exactly rather than having to endure bumps of the wrong shape. I could impose my rhythm on the mountain rather than be a victim of the terrain. Bliss! 

Now I’m not saying it was pretty – but a lot of what I did on that run was preventative and proactive rather than reactive and I felt so much more in control than usual. I know that some people love to fly down the bumps, knees bouncing around, but my desire is to tame them and make the descent look – and feel – slow, easy and effortless. 

Simon was very motivated to learn something new despite many years of skiing prowess in powder, bumps and anything you could throw at him. He was a Ski Club of Great Britain guide for about a decade, leading club members around the off-piste skiing of a variety of different European resorts. I used to ‘sweep up’ for him (tail guide). “I am always keen to work on my skiing technique - and so much has changed since I learned to ski 40 years ago - particularly the style and equipment,” Simon acknowledges. “I was taught in Italy, where the fashion was to lock your knees together and somehow steer your two-metre plus skis around the mountain. Today's skis are much shorter and, probably, more forgiving - but you still need to know how to manoeuvre them for the best results - and today Jordan gave me a few extra tips on how to do just that, especially on steeper slopes.” 

Vertical Café at Sun Peaks Resort, currently featuring local art by Edit Pal 

At the end of the lesson – which sped by far too quickly – I felt I had several new tactics for my tough terrain toolbox. And, after a refueling latte at Vertical Café, I went back voluntarily and tackled Intimidator twice more. Still much to learn but I’ll never be quite so intimidated by this run. “The best thing about the time we spent together was that I got to ski with a group with the interest in trying new ways to ski down the hill,” Jordan concluded. 

If you are a Sun Peaks season passholder, you still have time – the free lessons can be taken up to March 31 2022 with some blackout dates for peak periods. This applies to skiing, snowboarding and Nordic, and you can also save 20 percent on various other programs throughout the season. 

By the way, many people fail to use their season pass perks. I was standing in line at the bar at Sunburst the other day and talking to a friend about using my season pass for coffee discount. As if hearing this information for the first time, at least three people behind me went back to their tables to retrieve their own passes. 

Check out the following perks: 

-Nordic season pass included in your alpine season pass as well as Fat Bike Trail access. -Save 10% on equipment rentals at Sun Peaks Rentals and Elevation Bike, Ski & Board. 

-Five Buddy Passes:25 percent discount each time for a friend. 

-Retail: 10 percent off regular priced goods (excluding Arc'teryx) at Southside Board Shop, Three Peaks, John Tod Trading Company, Sun Peaks Sports, The North Face Mountain Outfitters, and Elevation Bike, Ski & Board. 

 -Food and Beverage: Save 10 percent on select food and beverage at the Sunburst Bar + Eatery, The Annex Food + Drink, and Café Soleil*. Includes regular menu items (from food stations), fountain drinks, and non-alcoholic beverages from the Starbucks® coffee kiosk. -Equipment Repairs and Maintenance: 10 percent off all repairs and tuning at Fall Line, located in the Sun Peaks Grand Hotel. -

Reciprocal discounts with a wide variety of resorts: https://www.sunpeaksresort.com/ski-ride/tickets-passes/season-passes/sun-peaks-resort-alpine-reciprocal-program#StandardReciprocal


Snow Ghosts off the Crystal Chair at Sun Peaks Resort - by Dawn Boddington




  



 

Thursday, December 30, 2021

When Eyelashes Become Eye-cicles! Extreme Cold Weather Gear Guide @Sun Peaks Resort

 

Courtesy of Sun Peaks Resort

Time to put the cold weather wearables to the terrible-temperature test! Although the hot tub is winning over skiing at the moment, we had to get out on the Sun Peaks slopes this week if only to try out our new gear gadgets. A whole week of minus 25 - minus 35 C in the Christmas Day forecast! 

For the first time ever, Simon skied in a heated baselayer made by Volt Heat:

"It kept me cosy from the minute I put it on in the house. It warmed up my whole back instantly. Then outside it was like having my own private heated chairlift all the time. It made a big difference as I would normally have been focusing on my frozen extremities but I think that because my torso kept so warm my hands and feet didn't lose circulation even though it was minus 22."

Simon wearing the Volt Heat Tactical 7-V Heated Baselayer

"It's idiot-proof, too, as I managed to switch it on and off without trouble. And I didn't even need it on full, just the third level, so it didn't run out of charge. It's really comfortable - you wouldn't even know you had a battery in your pocket. And it's simple to re-charge when you get home. One thing I would point out is that I had to stretch the neck a bit to get it over my head but maybe it's purposely snug to keep the heat in!"

Winter warmer weapon - Heat Holders Packaway Puffer Jacket - thin enough to wear underneath any ski jacket

Simon was also wearing brand new Heat Holders leggings made from the softest fleecy fabric. These are the Men's Alberto ORIGINAL Thermal Pants made for extreme cold. The lightweight supersoft Heatweaver yarn is brushed both sides for maximum warmth and softness, with multi-directional stretch. Non-chafing flat seams enable easy layering. The fabric feels as velvety soft as baby clothes. 

"They're really cosy, I no longer have a cold butt on the chairlifts. It's like wearing another pair of ski pants underneath but without the volume. They are thick but not bulky and very stretchy and soft. The sort of pants you would like to lounge around the house in, too."

Rupert lounging around in his Heat Holders Alberto ORIGINAL Thermal Top and Pants and quintessentially cosy Heat Holders socks

Decidedly unenthused when initially unwrapping his thermal pants and longsleeved top on Christmas morning, our son Rupert soon changed his tune when he tried them on:

"When I go back home to Vancouver I am leaving my ski gear in Sun Peaks for my next visit. Everything that is except for my Heat Holders gear."

"So, why is that?" asked his somewhat smug mother, concealing a knowing smirk. 

Rupert: "Because they are the comfiest clothes I have ever had. It's like wearing a blanket all the time. I am going to wear them at home indoors and also for my landscaping job when I go back to work while it's still cold. Even to my Improv group because they are so comfortable and warm but thin enough to wear under normal clothes." 

And how were they out on the slopes?

"It was amazing, I wasn't cold at all today. I literally didn't feel at all upset about being outside in this cold weather which is unusual as last time when I skied during the cold spells it was really unpleasant. Today I wanted to go back out again after lunch, it was no problem with the cold and it was a beautiful sunny day and not too many people out there even though it was holiday time."

He actually wore two pairs of Heat Holders socks for skiing (his boots are old enough and worn out enough to fit them in!) as well as his HH baselayers. Apart from that, he wore Volt Heat heated gloves and a down vest made by Alchemy of RIDE underneath his AOR technical jacket

Another winter winner this Christmas Day: Heat Holders spa robes, again velvety soft. The best garb for going out to the hot tub or chatting with family on early morning Zooms, they are made from the supersoft Heatweaver fabric. They are also made for cuddling! 


Heat Holders His and Hers spa robes paired with vibrant ski socks
and the cable-knit roll up pom pom hat lined with supersoft fleece

"These socks are lifesavers," said our younger son, Fergus. "We wear them all the time. I work from home for Vail Resorts, so I wear the thicker ones while I'm sitting at my desk working. If I'm trying to get really toasty, I wear the thick ones with the tacky soles over my normal socks as they double up as comfy slipper socks. Also when I go up to Whistler to ski I wear the thinner ones as my boots are a tight fit.

Alicia couldn't believe how warm the pom pom hat was when traveling to and from Sun Peaks in minus 30: "I couldn't believe the lovely soft fluffy lining material under the cable knit! This toque kept me really warm during -30 temperatures at the resort and also on the journey home - and it looks cute too." 

Volt's new Radiant 5-V Heated Vest for women with Bluetooth controller - I know I've posted this image before but I have seen a lot of heated vests lately and this is definitely the prettiest one out there!! I have their older model - just plain black (below) - which is wonderfully warm but I want this silver one next!

Cranking up the heat on my Volt heated scarf paired with the slimline black Volt Heat heated vest
over my cosy Kari Traa hoodie

My first -30 ski day of the season, I was wearing a lot of layers but none were too bulky or restrictive. I had a Heat Holders baselayer under my trusty Volt Heat heated vest. My extra item, new this year, was my Volt heated scarf - an amazing way to keep the back of your neck warm. It fitted over my face mask easily and tucked inside my jacket. On the lowest level, it stayed warm for the four hours we were out and still had plenty of charge left. 

My other layers included an old Patagonia onesey which I always wear on cold days (sorry, they don't make them any more so no direct link) and a stretchy thin Under Armour shirt, making four layers under my Alchemy of RIDE ski suit. 

My hands were toasty in my Volt Avalanche X heated mitts which I highly recommend as the fingers are able to transmit body heat too as there's no separation between them and, unusually for heated handwear, the thumbs are heated too.  At under $250, these are definitely the best heated gloves on the market for price and for warmth. 

My boots are heated by a Therm-ic heating system which I have had for many years. This was one of those rare days when I needed it cranked up to the top setting and by the time we got home the batteries needed recharging. On a minus 15 to minus 20 C day, I would only have them on level 2 and they would last all day. 

My second day, skiing at minus 28 C, I put on DryGuy Boot Gloves (for the first time ever) as well as having my boot heaters on level 2. I was skeptical to tell the truth. How could a layer of neoprene really make any difference in the low minus 20s? But this combination miraculously worked perfectly so I am now convinced that Boot Gloves work well at keeping heat in. I presume they stop snow getting in too on powder days. I was able to ski the same length of time as the day before without any frozen toes and I never needed to put the heaters on to the top setting so they lasted all day. Result! 




Transpack's Heated Boot Pro


Tip for Toasty Toes:
Heat your ski boots up by a fireplace or other heat source before skiing so they are thoroughly dry inside and warm. Transpack make a heated boot bag which is perfect if you are driving to the ski slopes or for use in your hall cupboard. Never keep ski boots in a vehicle overnight and, when you are driving, have them in the front of the car so the car heater keeps them warm. Even a cold closet can lead to damp liners and stiff shell the next morning, so make sure you treat your ski boots like your own feet! Don't put your ski socks on too early - they can make your feet sweat which later will result in moisture inside the boots which could then freeze. Also, turn boot heaters and sock heaters down in the lodge for the same reason. 


Almost ready for action - cranking up the Volt Avalanche X heated mitts, attached my Helmet Hugger to my Giro Helmet with Glade magnetic goggles - these are great in the cold as they pop off easily so you can clear the lenses of steam or snow without taking off your gloves. And of course wearing The Sky The Sky Alchemy of RIDE ski suit - the easiest way for friends to find you on the slopes! 

Other Optimum Options:
Smartwool is great for warmth as all their products are made of merino wool - I always wear Smartwool socks for skiing (I keep my Heat Holders for home and après). The only thing that was notably cold for me that first day was my head so the next day I tried merino. I wore my Kari Traa merino hooded sweater on top of my Heat Holders baselayer so that I could have the merino hood up under my helmet. I wore a merino Smartwool neck gaiter pulled right up under my goggles so that no skin was exposed, and, to cap it all, put on a faux fur trimmed Helmet Hugger to try to trap warmth inside the helmet. I also wore my Volt heated scarf for neck warmth. This combo was definitely better although I still felt the need to have further heat within my helmet, especially when skiing fast and creating more windchill. Brain freeze is not conducive to good skiing! Perhaps the DryGuy Boot Glove company could focus next on a Helmet Glove? 

Bumping into two equally hardy friends in the Sunburst Lodge, I discovered that Melissa, a fervent fan of heated products, also craves more head heat. Her idea was to attach a hand warmer pack to the outside of her balaclava on the top of her head inside the helmet. Innovative! I may have to resort to this if the cold snap drags on much longer!  

Cold Weather Warmers:
Ski hard not fast - the windchill factor of speeding along easy groomers adds even more cold to the equation and if your goggles have any gaps, it can bring tears to your eyes that can turn into eye-cicles. Focus on turning and technique!

Ski the bumps on an ungroomed run where the difficulty level will help you generate body heat. Or, if you're up to it, do as Rupert suggests: "Hike the Gils at Sun Peaks and ski the side-country snow up there to gain some internal heat."

Whatever you do, listen to your body. If you start to get slow reactions, if your feet, face, hands or any part of your body start to go numb, it's time to go indoors. White skin means frostbite so cover your entire face. If you steam up your goggles when your nose is covered, try mouth-breathing. It works for me. And, big bonus for getting out skiing in cold weather, you'll burn calories just keeping warm so you'll have definitely earned your après! 

Volt heated scarf tucks in easily inside suit. I tested the battery by wearing it on the lowest setting all day and then continued wearing it at home. It lasted around 8 hours! 

If you have any tried and tested tips or recommended garments for combatting the cold, please let me know at: louise.hudson2011@gmail.com.