A winter wonderland of picturesque, snow-capped mountainscapes and varied terrains for every snowy adventure, Canada shines bright in the cold months. Our Travel Expert Chris Kieran hit the slopes on Whistler Blackcomb and Sun Peaks in British Columbia and discovered two different, yet widely appealing experiences for ski and snowboard lovers.
It had been years since I had been to Whistler. So much has changed, particularly since the 2010 Winter Olympics. I was very excited to return and re-visit this area and discover somewhere new, Sun Peaks in Kamloops, to ski and snowboard my way through the west for a good old-fashioned Canadian winter.
Our first stop was to Sun Peaks, which is about 45 minutes from Kamloops airport. After a very scenic drive, we walked in to a winter wonderland with plenty of snow on the ground, which was a good sign. I checked in to the Delta Sun Peaks, which has an amazing ski-in, ski-out feature, and really good amenities, including at least three hot tubs!
I had a great day on the hill capped by a turn on their downhill tubing setup (go on a cold, icy day for the best track conditions). Overall, my Sun Peaks experience was fantastic and I can’t wait to go back. It seems to be catered to people who like a bit more space and less crowds, which is right up my alley.
The following morning, I took another scenic journey, this time to Whistler. I checked in at the Crystal Lodge, right in the heart of Whistler Village, a thriving hub of activity, nightlife, and shopping. An added bonus to staying at the Crystal Lodge was the gondola access to the sub-peaks of both Whistler and Blackcomb.
After a full day on Whistler Blackcomb, it was clear to see how massive and beautiful it was. Whistler Blackcomb is incredible and really not comparable to anything else in Canada. The Peak 2 Peak Gondola was installed just before the 2010 Winter Olympics, making it quick and easy to criss-cross between mountains. The one suggestion I would make is to time your visit carefully, as some weeks and particular weekends have massive crowds and lift lines can exceed half an hour. I wasn’t aware of just how long the mountain gets snow (November through May) so if you can visit at a time outside of Christmas or any US or Canadian holiday, the crowds should be reasonable.
I spent my last couple of nights at Creekside Village, a smaller version of Whistler Village. It was a little further away from the hustle and bustle of Whistler Village, but still had nearby key amenities. The hotel had a hot tub and sauna, which was key after a long day on the hills.
I’m glad I got to experience how different Whistler and Sun Peaks were from each other, and can’t wait to return to both!