By far, my favourite ski hill – of the pitiful few that I have visited – is Sun Peaks, located near Kamloops, B.C. This is the fifth year that I have joined the Rocky Mountain Seniors Ski Club in their annual pilgrimage to that resort and although the weather can charitably be referred to as “varied” over those years (cloud, snow, sleet, fog, and, sometimes, glorious sun – usually all in the same week), the temperature has always been comfortable.
This year, the ski gods decided to test our resolve, our layering expertise, and our fondness for frostbite with an arctic high. It was a cool -18C for our first day there, January 16th, colder yet on the 17th, then awoke on the 18thto -30C! No rush to make the 8:30 a.m. lift, especially since they didn’t even start the Sunburst chair up until 10 a.m. and the Sundance around noon. And they never ran the Morrisey chair at all. Unfortunate, since the runs off Morrisey are my favourite of all, but there were probably only about 100 hardy souls braving the cold on all the hills! Might as well try to keep them confined to a few chairs, I guess. So bundled up with two pairs of long johns, toe warmers in my boots, hand warmers in my mitts, three layers under my ski jacket and a balaclava under my helmet, off I went with my willing, and equally deranged, ski partners. Luckily, our hotel was ski-in, ski-out which made warming up fairly handy. So, with a late start, it was 2 runs, warm up, 2 runs, lunch, 2 runs, warm up, 2 runs, hot tub and beer. A short but memorable day.
The only good part of the cold, besides whole ski runs that we had all to ourselves, was that they had groomed half of the Morrisey runs on Tuesday night, didn’t run the lift on Wednesday but still groomed the other half of the runs that night. So, by Thursday morning, every blue run on Morrisey was in pristine cruising condition. The bad part of the cold was that, after sitting inactive for over 24 very cold hours, they couldn’t get the Morrisey lift to start until noon, even though it was a balmy -15C! Nevertheless, Kathy, Archie, Al and I managed to do every run, and some twice, between lunch and last lift at 3:30. An exhausting end to an invigorating week.