Pacific Northwest Ski blog (and a few other places!)

Lots or reports from skiing around the Pacific Northwest, with some East Coast excursions thrown in for good measure

Shredding Sun Peaks for MLK Weekend

Somewhat amazingly, our first visit to Sun Peaks was 19 years and 10 months ago. It was the first place I ever skied on shaped skis. Head Cyber 190cm. I loved them so much I flew off a road at high speed on Cruiser and landed on my head after significant unintentional inverted air. I still vividly remember my sunnies smashing as iIhit the snow. It hurt. My shoulder was dodgy for 6 months. Events like that make an impression!

This was our 4th Sun Peaks visit (2nd in 2001, 3rd in 2007) on this so far El Nino-defying year. With an excellent base all over the mountain, and top-ups throughout our visit, we had all the necessary ingredients for lots of shredding and exploration, and the occasional face shot.

Much hadn’t changed in 20 years. The terrain off Tod Mountain still provides enough variety and expanse to keep all but super serious hucksters happy. The Burfield chair is still the slowest ride ever, but has some excellent runs like Challenger and Freddie’s Nightmare to make the ride worthwhile. The Chute and Headwalls are hard to resist, reliably holding fluffy untracked snow on short but steep lines. There’s still no people, so pow lies untouched for days, especially in the trees. And there more of the latter, much more. Glading between runs offers all sorts of options, and new runs like Tighten’ Yer Boots are great hopping, bumping fun.

On previous visits we hardly ever skied the runs off the Sundance chair because, well, they are pretty flat and just good for 8.30am groomer warm ups while waiting for Sunburst to open. But now there are glades. Low angle, narrow fingers running along gullies and creek beds in Grannie Greene’s are totally smile inducing. Pick an entrance off the cat track, drop through the trees and go where the good snow takes you. There are so many lines, you can play for hours. More challenge lies in the glades that surround the delightfully ungroomed  Three Bears, and the more open area that lies above Peek-a-Boo. This whole area is a hoot when it’s foggy on the top of Tod.

And of course there’s Mt Morrisey, with its cruising frontside blues, and plunging north facing bumpy blacks. Static Cling is probably my favorite run at Sun Peaks, and Spin Dry and Agitator aren’t far behind. They always seem to have excellent snow and big, bad ass, well shaped bumps. We also explored the newly cut runs like Tumble Dry, which share the same fall line and aspect but require a short hike back to the lifts. There’s some fine skiing on Mt Morrisey.

Sun Peaks is less than 6 hours from our home in Seattle. It’s not the closest, but it’s an attractive package. The faux Austrian village, lots of on snow accommodation with regular deals, reliable snow, expansive terrain, and importantly, no crowds. makes it well worth regular consideration. It’s not a place that gets huge dumps, it’s more regular light snowfalls that keep conditions fresh. I guess you can’t have everything, but it’s a compelling combination for most people. We’ll be back in less than 10 years, I’m certain of that.

8500, 10800, 8600, 8600, 7900m vert

Season Totals: 25 Days,  196,800m vert, 14 powder days


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