Sun Peaks Lifts & Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded
Sun Peak Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    1,198 – 2,080 (882)
  • Average Snow Fall
    6  metres
  • Lifts (13)
  • Ski Hours
    8:30am - 4:00pm
    mid Nov - early April
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 137+
    Longest run – 8 km
    Advanced/expert - 32%
    Intermediate - 58%
    Beginner - 10%

Ski Sun Peaks BC – Terrain and Snow

Sun Peaks is the second largest ski resort in Canada with 4,270 skiable acres (1,728 hectares), so there’s plenty of terrain. For 2014-15 there is new terrain opening on Mt Morrisey and in the Gils area.

Sun Peaks BC has a good spread of green, blue, single black and double blacks runs, but it’s an amazing playground for intermediates in particular, with lots of long groomed fall line runs that create groomer heaven. Sun Peaks ski resort is also very good for beginners and advanced riders. There’s nothing really super steep or scary at Sun Peaks Resort to challenge experts. There are other BC ski resorts for that, and rather than catering to pro-riders, Sun Peaks unashamedly has a very strong niche for the everyday skier or snowboarder.

The Sun Peaks ski resort terrain is across multiple mountains. Right next to the village is Sundance Mountain which has easy green and blue runs as well as a tubing area. Mt Tod is the main part of the resort. The lower part consists of perfect fall line blue and black groomed runs, whilst the upper zone and the Burfield area are primarily steeper blacks and a few double blacks. Behind the village is the north facing Mt Morrisey that has meandering blue runs and a few steep bumps runs rated as double black. Snowboarders may want to avoid the Back in Time run that connects Mt Morrisey to Burfield due to the many flat spots.

A major highlight of Sun Peaks BC is the Sun Guides hosting program. The guides offer complimentary tours around the mountain (not in the trees or on double black runs). This is a great way to become familiar with the large terrain of Sun Peaks. Another pro of the Sun Peaks resort is the distinct lack of crowds.

Lifts

The bulk of the lift infrastructure at Sun Peaks is excellent. There are multiple high-speed quad chairs that provides speedy access to much of the terrain, and impressively the Sunburst chair has Perspex hoods for protection on inclement weather days. Lift queues are generally not a problem, even during peak periods.

Some of the other chair lifts seem relatively slow. The Burfield chair (the Burf) is ridiculously slow. It takes a slothful 20 minutes to get to the top (if you don’t give up and get off at the mid-station) and you may be frozen by the time you get there. Of course any slow lift has an upside for patient powder hounds sniffing for freshies, because most others can’t be bothered.

The novice area is appropriately kitted out with a magic carpet and platter lift.

Lift Tickets

Lift ticket prices are average for a western Canadian ski resort.

Sun Peaks Snow

Sun Peaks doesn’t get huge volumes of snow; an average of 6 metres of snow per season, which is less than many other BC ski resorts. The snow typically comes in small amounts per storm, rather than big dumps.

At Sun Peaks the emphasis is on quality not quantity, and the powder that does fall is delightfully dry. Snow preservation between storms is also very good due to limited sun exposure in the peak of winter (despite it being called Sun Peaks!) and cold temps due to its northerly position.

The Mt Morrisey area is north facing so it has very good snow quality, which is particularly apparent in spring. The Burfield area that has the most challenging terrain is south facing, and it gets about 30 percent less snow than the Morrisey area. At times this area can lack a little cover, which is most obvious in the trees. Snow cover is rarely an issue on the piste because they have great summer grooming that removes stumps and rocks.

Ski Sun Peaks - Beginners

Even though only 10% of the trails are rated as green, Sun Peaks has excellent terrain with more than enough to keep beginners entertained. The terrain allows easy progression from very mellow slopes up to more pitchy green runs.

The novice area at Sun Peaks is conveniently right alongside the village so it’s easy to keep an eye on the little ones, and it’s effortless to duck into the day lodge or your hotel for a rest. The novice area is dedicated to beginners so there are no expert skiers whizzing past to intimidate the learners.

The next progression is a couple of green runs off the Sundance Express that are wide and appropriately mellow. The next step is to head up the Sunburst Express chair to head down Cahilty which is a very steep green run. Fit beginners can also head to the top and tackle the 5 Mile marathon, and there’s also the East Village ski-way to test the endurance.

Sun Peaks Skiing - Intermediates

Ski Sun Peaks BC for absolutely perfect terrain for intermediates! Whether you want to cruise or be a speed demon, the groomers are fantastic. As with the beginner terrain, the progression of runs for intermediate skiers and snowboarders is ideal.

The mellowest runs are on the Sundance Express. The next step is over on Mt Morrisey where the runs have been specifically designed to meander. They also have some trees in the middle of the runs so you feel like you’re exploring. Back over on Mt Tod, the blue runs are mostly steeper and have perfect fall line. They generally groom a couple of black runs too (e.g. Broadway) which can be easily tackled by strong intermediate riders. Best of all, there’s very little skier traffic and these runs only have slow signs where they’re needed, so you can completely burn down the runs if you like (so it's not boring like Vail!).

Terrain Park

Sun Peaks ski resort has a terrain park the length of the Sundance Express chair lift. This area has snowmaking facilities, so it gets started early in the season. The park has some jumps, rails, boxes and unique features. The hits range in size from S to XL.

Advanced Skiing Sun Peaks

Sun Peaks has lots of varied terrain for advanced riders. Skiers and snowboarders who like to get their eyes watering from speed will love the steep groomers. Sun Peaks has lots of gladed skiing and snowboarding off the Sunburst chair, although these areas are inclined to get tracked out very quickly.

Sun Peaks also tends to have lots of mogul runs. The single blacks are reasonably easy, and strong advanced riders should easily be able to ruin their knees on the double black runs too. The challenge is largely dependent on the size of the moguls. Endurance may be another issue because some of the bumps runs such as Headwalls and Static Cling go on forever.

Sun Peaks ski resort also has lots of alpine and sub-alpine off-piste runs for advanced riders off the top of the Burfield and Crystal chairs.

Expert Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The ratings for the double black trails are probably not warranted unless the moguls are super big, so there’s not much terrain at Sun Peaks Resort that will challenge experts. Any steep pitches tend to not last for long. 

The trees near the base of Burfield probably provide the most fun (for those who can patiently sit on the Burfield chair). Some of the trees are reasonably open on Freddie’s Nightmare and there are spots nearby where they tighten up. The trees require a bit of snow cover though and considering these slopes are south facing, you’ll need to pick your timing.

Backcountry/Sidecountry at Sun Peaks

Skiers’ right of the Burfield boundary are lots of fun trees that head down to the rubbish tip. They too require a lot of snow cover or you’ll be bush bashing it out down the bottom.

A little further afield past the Gil's is skinning territory. Past Main Face is the Elevator, whilst the cliff bands of the Executioner may in fact kill you because there’s rarely enough snow there!

Sun Peaks as a Resort for Powder Hounds

Sun Peaks has some pros and cons as a mountain for powder hounds. The low-ish snowfall volume is a downside, which also sometimes contributes to inadequate snow cover in the trees. There’s no pro-rider extreme terrain or super steeps at Sun Peaks but there are enough pitchy runs to keep most powder hounds happy. The upside of these cons is that Sun Peaks doesn’t attract many powder hounds, so there’s not much competition for the powder! The quality of the Sun Peaks powder is also a plus!