Words & Photos by Jeff Schmuck
Last week, nearly every ski and snowboard retailer in British Columbia, alongside a laundry list of the snowsports industry’s best brands, merrily congregated at Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops, B.C. for the B.C. Retailers Demo Days to test next year's gear.
The demo, which took place at Big White Ski Resort outside of Kelowna, B.C. for well over the last decade, opted for a change of scenery this year after being placed on hiatus for the past few years due to you know what. And with Sun Peaks being centrally located in B.C., it served as both a convenient and desirable location for ski shops across the vast province to travel to
As the second largest ski resort in Canada, Sun Peaks is home to a whopping 4,270 acres of skiable terrain, 138 enjoyably diverse runs, and 13 well-placed lifts, most of which funnel directly back to the base area—which is surrounded by a quaint, vehicle-free, European-style village—making it an ideal setting for hot lapping the latest skis.
But in addition to its wide-ranging terrain and accommodating layout for ski vacationers of all sorts, what sets Sun Peaks apart from other “towns” at the actual base of ski areas across the country is that… it’s an actual town.
In contrast to many resort towns, which are usually comprised of nothing more than a smattering of hotels, condos and second homes along with some food, beverage and retail-focused amenities, in addition to all of the above, Sun Peaks has its own city council, schools, health care centre and full-time residents who reside there year-round. Originally known as Tod Mountain, the resort, and the community that now surrounds it, was developed and has subsequently expanded solely because of skiing, and the sport is intricately and charmingly woven into nearly every fabric of the town’s being.
Nowhere is this more evident than the ski-filled racks outside of the Sun Peaks Elementary School, which is situated at the top of a Poma lift that runs parallel to a duo of magic carpets that students ride in the winter to get to class. And due to a lot of the town being ski-in, ski-out, it makes more sense for some locals in some cases to ski to work or run errands than it does to walk or drive.
Amidst this unique backdrop, Mother Nature provided the goods on day one of the demo with a dusting of champagne powder, while the resort lived up to its name on the second with primarily clear skies. And when it comes to testing new skis, you’d be hard-pressed to hope for a better set of weather and snow conditions.
Over the course of the three-day event, many a skis were skied, beers were cheered, and high-fives were slapped, with reconnecting being the overarching theme, as the demo marked one of the first times the retail side of the snowsports industry in B.C. was able to congregate in one place since the pandemic began.
It was also an opportunity to see (and ski) the latest and greatest planks that are coming down the pipe, and since we at Forecast couldn't possibily deny you a sneak peek, we’re pleased to offer the following product preview of some of the skis that will be arriving at your local shop this coming fall…
A huge thanks goes out to the good people at Sun Peaks Resort, Tourism Sun Peaks and Nancy Greene's Cahilty Hotel & Suites for having us, and to all of the brands, retailers and reps (particularly Salomon's Pete De Vries and K2's Jason Wutke for working to put the demo together) for all of the good times last week!
For more information on Sun Peaks Resort, visit sunpeaksresort.com.