Sitting in Bento’s at lunchtime on Monday, surrounded by brown bag lunches and smiles, I was told no, there was nothing wrong with the un-spring like March conditions. The conditions were great. As the conversation went on, I began to realize it would probably take quite a lot to dampen this group’s ski spirit. Three days a week since 1994, the Sun Peaks Antiques have met to ski and socialize throughout the winter season. This club only has members; no presidents or treasurers, and their unwritten mandate seems simply to enjoy the mountain.After their first “Last Supper” gathering this group of local seniors decided on a name and designed their crest , which you can see hanging above their corner in Bento’s Day Lodge. The sign mysteriously appeared at the beginning of this season and was eventually traced to a Ken Hammel of Sun Peaks Resort Corporation.Lunchtime!Organizer Flo and her husband, BillGood humor regarding their age pervades the talk over lunch. Apparently, flat light doesn’t really matter when you can’t see anymore anyway. The active group ranges from 55 years to 85 years old, although there are over 90 members on paper, many who fall outside both sides of the range. In fact, anyone can be member regardless of their age or geographical home. The retro sew-on crests can be purchased from organizer Flo and you are in. Crests can be seen sported by many locals and also on visitors who have returned to their homes in the UK, Australia or New Zealand.There was no magical answer when I pried for their secret of eternal energy. By all accounts, it was just important to stay active and enjoy life one day at a time. With that, we were off to top of the mountain.
Checking the conditions up topIt was a bit grey but the snow was great. Spring temperatures and calm wind made for nice Crystal conditions and the majority of the club stayed here for their several runs after lunch. My group of gentlemen skiers kept me speeding though the bowl and back to the chair to do it again.A bit of blue sky says helloGo Flo!Members can be found all over the mountain on any given day, as there are people who fall into all ability groups. Some have slowed down because of injuries or illness but everyone still enjoys getting out in fresh air. People join by learning of the club by word of mouth. During candid chairlift chats, I found a love of skiing was the binding factor, as many hailed from diverse backgrounds and locations. A mainly social club, one the best benefits is always having someone to share the slopes with and a way to spend an otherwise restrictive winter season.Trying to soak up as much mountain wisdom I could, I found their advice to be tested and true. Flo said not to wait for good weather, but get up there and ski anyway. As her pass might clock more days than mine this season, it seemed like a good adage. Also, if you have questions about prescription goggles, these guys will probably be able to send you in the right direction.My afternoon with them seemed very similar to one with my own friends, looking for the best spot for the conditions and having a good laugh or two on the chair. Thanks to the Sun Peaks Antiques for a great afternoon on the hill! It was inspiring to see people doing what they love. I know if I’m in my 80’s, spending Mondays doing Crystal laps, I’ll be a pretty happy camper.See you out there!Brandi
It’s been a long held desire of mine to have my own dog one day so I was so thrilled to be able to join a Mountain Man Dog Sled Adventures tour last week. Every time I heard the kennel when I was riding on Orient Ridge I was hit with a pang of jealously of whoever was setting off behind a team.Recently taken over by new owners, Chris and Taryn, these Sun Peaks mushers have a had a great first season. They have about 50 mixed Alaskan Huskies, some of which they inherited from the previous owners and others have come to them through different channels. While this seemed like a huge amount of dogs to me, I was assured Chris has looked after much larger kennels.
Bred for purpose, these dogs all looked like individuals and showed great personalities. The dogs were overjoyed to have you come and say hello.During the first part of tour we walked around, meeting different dogs while asking questions about the operation. Taryn explained the experience could be as hands-on as I wanted. As soon as it became clear we were heading out on a tour the energy level in the kennel went up about four notches. Every dog perked up and wanted to be chosen to run.Getting harnessedBeing led to the sledStoked!Ready to goAs we led dogs to be harnessed, I couldn’t believe how beyond-excited they were! Lunging forward, it took a bit of strength to hold them. Their energy was contagious and I couldn't wait to get on the trail either. I was up to drive the team first and after a brief rundown the sled was in my hands. I yelled, “Ready, Go!” and eased off the brake. As soon as the dogs felt the pressure ease they were off.The first thing I noticed was the silence. The barking ceased as they lunged forward, putting their energy toward the trail. The second thing I noticed was how incredibly smooth the ride was. Standing on the back of the sled felt surprising natural and as we headed swiftly towards the narrow trail my confidence grew. I realized why this was such a popular method of transportation in the north.The snowy woods surrounded us on all sides, and over 10cm of fresh, gorgeous snow had fallen over night. The rest of the world seemed to melt away as we headed farther a long the trail.Skating or running a bit to help the team on hills, we made it to our first break. The dogs looked elated and basked in the praise and treats they were given. Our team leaders were Kootenay and Skunky. I had fallen for Kootenay right away, with his more traditional husky face and calmer demeanor. Six dogs made up the team and other 6 on the sled ahead of us. Brand new, this sled has space for one passenger, one driver and a guide driver and is a great new addition to the tours.Foxy and ShredderThis guy might love snow more than I do
A younger dog learns to be a confident lead from the veteran with 1,000km racing experienceWhen they team sensed they were close to home they found more energy and sped up. A bit of downhill and six dogs in front of you is all you need to feel like you are getting some real speed! From my comfy seat in the sled we emerged from the trees and headed back in the direction of Tod Mountain.
Homeward BoundDuring my time with Chirs, Tayrn and their dogs I got sense of how much passion, patience and work goes into their operation. These dogs may be a bit different then your average pet but they are just as loved. It’s definitely a full time job. Looking towards the future they plan to expand their breeding program also the trail system at Sun Peaks. A brief glance at their Facebook page shows you how memorable these tours are for all their guests. Thanks so much to Mountain Man adventures for sharing this unique experience with me and I can’t wait to come visit again!
Tags: sun peaks, mountain man adventures, dogsledding, snow, husky
Sun Peaks had the pleasure of playing host to the You Look Good Rider’s Cup last weekend in the Rockstar Energy Terrain Park. The course was a bit slow at the beginning due a short but furious snowfall that morning but it didn’t take long for the competitors to find their groove and put on a great show. Local rider Geremy Guido used his stellar back 5 rodeos to make it into the Coors Light Pro Men’s Finals and Kamloops shredder, Christina Adams frontside 3’d and 5’d her way into third place in the Coors Light Pro Women final . This pair were also the winners of the No Bail Peace Prize for Men’s Open Snowboard and Women’s Open Snowboard in the Sun Peaks Rail Slayer Series this season. For the full contest results and details check out the push.ca blog post and Snowboard Canada’s Magazine coverage of the event. There were also a slew of locals in the Grom and Ams divisions who rocked out all day in the park. Thanks to everyone for coming out and making it such a sweet event!
This week, I caught up with the Coors Light Pro Men’s Champ, Craig Beaulieu. Originally from Northern Ontario, he is now a BC shred working on the Canadian backcountry and contest scene.
Beaulieu sending it!Congrats on the win! How did you feel heading into the comp?Thank you very much! I was feeling fairly confident because this was my third You Look Rider’s Cup in Sun Peaks and I have never not won one. This was the third one I was coming into, and I was pretty confident I was going to win. But then a friend of mine showed up and he’s a really good snowboarder, so that kinda threw me, Jon Versteeg, he got second.The margin was really slim between you two.It was actually less than a point, yeah. So when he showed up it just threw me off a bit. I’ve been riding really well, and I knew there was gonna be a lot good riders, but Jon is riding very well this season so as soon as I saw him I knew I had to step up my game. I got real serious but it was still fun. I just had to remember that I can’t be too serious because then it takes the fun out of riding and I don’t do as well. It ended up working pretty good in the end.What was your favourite trick you threw down?I was getting a lot of speed off the last jump so it was actually the backside rodeo just because I never really do them. I was trying to spin frontside and do a frontside 9, but I was wafting a lot of my speed coming off my heels. So I thought, what’s a good trick that I can do that will get me further down the landing? It gives you that extra pop off the jump so I decided to do that and I guess it worked out pretty good.Were there any standout moments or riders for you?Jon’s Cab 10, for sure. I had went before him and was watching from the bottom. I saw him coming in cab 9 then he disappeared to go cab 10, like he went huge! Then I saw him hit the last jump so obviously he landed it, so that was pretty crazy when I saw that. Also, just Craig McMorris’ riding in general, I love that kid, I love riding with him, he’s just the man and every time I watch him snowboard it makes me happy. And watching the girls actually, the girls were throwing down. Gillian Andrewshenko, who got first place, was definitely throwing down and when she dropped, all the guys at the top were in awe at how her good her run was from the top, she killed it, it was great.What did you think of Sun Peaks’ Park?This was definitely the best park I have ridden all year. I’m gonna say that for sure. Just the diversity. When I was here two years ago the park started basically where the course started and this year it goes way up, so when you get to the top of the lift you are not just riding until you get to the park, there are cool little features on the way, some cool log rides through the bushes and stuff, so it’s pretty rad. I mean, they are definitely doing a good job at Sun Peaks. Anybody I rode the chairlift up with was just so excited about the park and they just couldn’t believe it, they said it was like you are riding in the States. There are great features throughout the whole course, not just monster features, which are cool too, but this is fun because you have your fun features until you get to the big park.Did you have a chance to check out the rest of the resort?We actually didn’t because when I got there it was pretty much just practice and competing in that one area. I have always wanted to, I didn’t know the mountain was that big, because I have always been so focused on the park when I’m there, but Sun Peaks is massive! I was sitting on the chairlift with this one skier guy, who has been living in Sun Peaks for 16 years and lived in Whistler before that and he was telling me all about the backside and side country. He was saying about knee deep pow, it sounded pretty sick but we didn’t get a chance to check it out unfortunately. Did you head to the Coors Light Party at MacDaddy’s afterward?I did not, kinda of a funny story. I’m the push.ca host as well for You Look Good so for a funny thing we talked the guy running the bungee at the bottom and asked if we would do a push.ca interview with Craig on the bungee. He for sure and congrats and everything so I jumped on the bungee and started doing a bunch of flips. As soon as I got off I got really dizzy and sick to my stomach. So I went into Bottom's and had a beer and started to feel really, really sick, like a migraine. So I went up to bed and passed out for an hour. My cousin woke me up to go party but I just stayed in bed! I didn’t party, which is kinda crazy because usually after you win you rage…Wutang sending BeaulieuYou are leading the You Look Good series on points now, do you plan to head to Ontario for the last Rider’s Cup?That is a great question and I am not sure. I just got a text message form my brother-in-law who said he just saw a seat sales from Vancouver to Toronto so I am trying to debate between that and the Showcase Showdown in Whistler. The thing is, if I don’t go and Harrison Grey wins it, he will win the surf trip. But if he gets anything other than first place then I get the trip… so it’s like, do I go? I’m rolling the dice, cause if I go and I perform crappy then I wasted a bunch a money and missed out on a contest here where I wouldn’t have spent any money. I just need to sit down and think this one through…I heard you were the push.ca host for the comp, what does that entail?Just presenting the resort, interviewing riders to get their input on the course, what they think of the content, all that kinda stuff. And also doing interviews at the end of it with the winners and the people who got best trick, it was pretty mellow. And also interviewing Andrew Singleton the founder of You Look Good Rider’s Cup contest series and also Event Sing promotions so it was really good to get his input on what he thought of the contest and how it started… It was fun, it’s kinda fun to be in front of a camera, especially when people are watching you do interviews. It can kinda make you a little nervous but it’s also funny at the same time, because it is just for fun, it’s not going to be on international TV, kinda thing. The video will be posted sometime next week so definitely look out for that, it will be funny.How do you like working with Ride Snowboards?I’m not fully on the Ride Team but I am definitely putting together a solid film part this year, filming for Alterna Action. I’ve filming with them for three years now and this year’s part is looking good. I’m also winning a bunch of contests this year and I’m really representing Ride to the best of my ability this year so hopefully the team manager picks up on it. I could do more represnting Ride wwith traveling and international contests if I had a budget to travel.How has been this filming this season? Anything we should watch out for?My Alterna part is going be a good this year. We’ve got a lot shots and traveled a bunch. We are actually heading to Iceland to film in April, it’s gonna be pretty sweet.How do you plan to finish off this season?I’m looking at a truck today, I just want to get a little beater truck to finish off the season and fit my sled in so I can film in the backcountry a lot more.Thanks for your time and have a great rest of the season!For more You Look Good Rider's Cup photos or to share your own, head to the Sun Peaks Resort Facebook Page. If the snow ever lets up spring Park riding will be out in full force. Get all the details on the Rockstar Energy Terrain Park's webpage. Have fun in the park!Brandi
Tags: sun peaks, you look good rider's cup, geremy guido, christina adams, no bail peace prize, sun peaks rail slayer series, rockstar energy terrain park, push.ca, snowboard canada magazine
March has roared in like a lion here at Sun Peaks. The last two days of February dropped 25cm on us with an additional 64cm in the first week of March. Everyone has been out slashing pow and tearing round in the trees. I love how great snow makes everyone (feel like) better riders! There is nothing like some freshies under your feet to generate some courage.
It’s been a stellar season. We are only 7cm away from surpassing our annual average snowfall of 559cm and we still have four weeks of winter operations left. With nothing but flurries in the forecast we will exceed that in no time at all and my instincts tell me we still have a few epic pow days before spring hits. If you have photos or videos from the last couple weeks be sure to share it on our Facebook page so we can all relish in the snow stoke. You can also enter your photos in the JAY-peg Photo Contest to win great prizes, including the snowboard hanging in Cafe Soleil. This weekend the focus will flip from the powdery alpine to the Rockstar Energy Terrain Park. Locals and pros will be competing in the You Look Good Rider’s Cup slopestyle event. Check out their website to preview the lines, check out winners from other venues and register if you have your eyes on the prize.If you are on your way here for spring break you're sure to have some great conditions for your holiday. There is also a ton of live music in the village this month as its March Music Madness so your après can be almost as entertaining as your time on the mountain. Make sure to take advantage of our package deals if you are headed our way!Spring slush fun is in the future but for now everyone should get out there play in the powder. You don’t too many more days to rack up the numbers on your pass!See you out there!Brandi
Tags: snow, you look good rider's cup, powder, sun peaks resort, facebook, rockstar energy terrain park