Are you looking for a great summer or winter vacation at a better price than Whistler or Banff? A well kept secret in British Columbia’s Okanagan valley is worth a look. Sun Peaks is new resort village created by developers offering hotel accommodations, golf, skiing, hiking, mountain biking, kids camps, shopping and health spas. As a family vacation, there are few spots that can rival Sun Peaks.
If you’ve never heard of the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, you’ll be surprised to know how warm the weather gets in the summer and how much snow falls during the winter. Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains to the east and the Coast Mountains to the west, the Okanagan is a weather protected valley. Its summer temperatures can rise well above 100 degrees or 36C degrees. I’ve ridden on my bicycle through the Okanagan valley during the summer where it was above 42 degrees Celsius. That heat and the dry humidity is ideal for growing many types of fruit crops including grapes for wine.
If wine tours and festivals interest you, there are plenty to keep you happy and tasting.
The Okanagan Summer Wine Festival is held every second weekend in August at Silver Star Mountain Resort in Vernon and Sun Peaks Resort holds the Ice Wine Festival every year in mid January.
The Okanagan is a favorite destination of tourists from Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. It is a unique Canadian vacation spot unlike anything else. At the south end near the US border are desert like conditions complete with huge sand dunes. Okanagan Lake is a 50 mile long lake in the middle of the valley and here you’ll find tourists who flow to the area for the watersports and casual lifestyle. Schuswap lake is another favourite destination of cottagers and houseboaters.
Close to the Okanagan
Sun Peaks Resort is just a 20 minute drive from Shushwap Lake, 100 miles northwest of Okanagan lake, and a 50 minute drive from the city of Kamloops. It is nestled in between Tod Mountain and Mt. Morissey. The terrain of the region is mountainous but much more accessible to hikers and mountain bikers. This isn’t the rocky mountains with huge inaccessible cliffs dominating the land. The highest altitude in the area is 7000 feet. The lack of height is more than compensated by the volume of snow for visitors creating perfect powdery snow for skiers and snowboarders. The Olympic ski team has chosen Sun Peaks as their training facility for the Vancouver Olympic games.
For hotel accommodations in the area, you might choose from several large hotel resorts and from a number of chalets in nearby areas. Since Sun Peaks is relatively young resort, the plentiful (7000+ beds) accommodations are newer and some of the resorts have a 4 diamond rating. The hotel room prices can be very affordable and given the range of recreational opportunities in this resort areas, it really is a bargain holiday of a lifetime for the whole family.
The village at Sun Peaks is designed for visitors with all the amenities you’ll need during your vacation. Restaurants, boutiques, restaurants, health centre, and food stores are close at hand.
Sun Peaks for Skiiers
It is British Columbia’s second largest ski resort area and for good reason. With 122 ski runs and an annual snowfall of over 22 feet, it is a skiers and snowboarders dream. It has 3,678 acres of skiable terrain, the third largest in Canada and the longest run is 5 miles. It’s not called Sun Peaks for marketing reasons. Residents here enjoy over 2,000 hours of sunshine each year. That’s an average 6 hours per day.
In summer, mountain biking is the popular sport here and the lifts have been upgraded to handle even more bikes. The Sun Peaks mountain bike park offers the use of the Sunburst Express Chairlift to get access to 37 biking trails for a distance of 70km.
If you have children, the Kids Adventure Camps offer an exciting mix of summer adventure including canoeing, horseback riding, tennis to mountain biking and hiking. The local Sports Centre features a year round heated outdoor pool, hot tub, kid’s pool, and two tennis courts.
If you check and compare the prices of Sun Peaks to other top BC resorts areas, you’ll discover how affordable it is.