After leaving Penticton around 8AM, Ed and I got to Sun Peaks Resort just after 11. Not bad considering it’s winter in the mountains and I’d fretted over the possibility of bad winter driving conditions since we planned this trip with Carol and Andrew at Christmastime. Fortunately, other than a few miles of fog east of Merritt on Highway 5 (Coquihalla), the roads were basically bare, dry and beautiful. Even the drive up Tod Mountain Road from Heffley was completely bare, much to my relief!
After grabbing a quick bite to eat in the Mantles Bar over at the Delta, checking into our room at the Coast Sundance Resort and meeting up with the kids for a few minutes, Ed and I beat a hasty path over to the Activities Center at the Day Lodge to get our cross country ski passes.
I’ve had only one episode with a chair lift and never planned another, so when the girl at the desk told me that we could take the chair lift up to the trails, my response was “there’s a chair lift involved?!!“. I was delighted to then learn that there were trails on the valley floor getting on and off the chair wasn’t a requirement.
Sun Peaks Resort boasts 28-km (17.4 mi) of perfectly groomed trackset trails and 12 km (7.5 mi) backcountry (ungroomed) trails, making it difficult to choose where we wanted to head on our first day out. We finally settled on the McGillivray Lake trail which is a dog-friendly green trail that goes out to McGillivray Lake and the warming hut there. We skiied directly out from the covered bridge at the Coast Sundance, passing the Morrisey Express lift, crossing 2 roads (a pain in the butt) and finally got onto a gentle uphill most-of-the-way out to the Lake.
Other than one skate skier, we saw no other cross country skiiers on this beautiful Tuesday afternoon in late February, which was completely amazing considering how beautiful the trails and snow were.
Instead of completing the loop, we turned back at the cabin and enjoyed a nice, quick and easy downhill tour back to the village. Our total route was approximately 12 kilometers, and but for the groin muscle that I sprained 10 minutes into our foray, it would have been a perfect ski. 🙂
Our friend Damon joined us the second day on which we tackled the steeper Great Gray trail outbound to the lake and skied down the McGillivray Lake Trail back to the village. Despite being an absolutely PERFECT day to ski with clear blue skies and above freezing temperatures, there were very few skiers on the trails. Awesome!