The last 10 years have brought ups and downs in Sun Peaks. From the financial comeback after 2008 to unprecedented growth and development, deep lows and losses tested the community and we celebrated the highs together.
We looked through our archives, from 2010 to 2019, to pick out a story from each year that we think defined or shaped the community in some way.
Narrowing down the stories to just 10 is a challenging task, our home (or home away from home), is filled with people who continually strive to be better and the issues of SPIN published every few weeks reflect that.
Here are our top picks. What Sun Peaks stories stand out to you for shaping where we are and where we’re headed?
2010: The incorporation of Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality
The start of the decade marked a big step towards maturity for Sun Peaks. After much discussion and research the community voted to incorporate as a municipality.
“The incorporation of the municipality has strengthened Sun Peaks as a resort but more importantly as a community,” said mayor Al Raine. “We are fortunate to have a very strong and experienced resort developer but there is a role for local government to represent and oversee the community focus”.
2011: Tod Mountain’s 50th Anniversary
While Sun Peaks’ brand new mayor and councillors found their footing, skiers celebrated the 50th anniversary of Tod Mountain.
From long, cold rides bundled on the Burfield Chairlift to the Sun Peaks of 2011 with multiple lifts on different mountains, the changes were obvious.
2012: School District 73 approves a school
After years of the Discovery Centre and parents pushing for more, School District 73 voted to take on Kindergarten to Grade Five students in a public school at Sun Peaks.
“SD73 agreeing to assume responsibility for the elementary grades was a positive step forward and the recent discussions to begin the planning process for a permanent school is most welcome,” said Raine. “I congratulate all those who have volunteered to manage education in Sun Peaks and kudos to all those who have helped to fund our school. Education remains a provincial responsibility and I am proud to state that no community is this province has built its own classroom and funded teacher salaries like our community. Special thanks to all those who made it happen!”
2013: Summer concerts begin
With strong winter numbers Tourism Sun Peaks (TSP) turned their attention to attracting more summer guests. July of 2013 marked the first official Summer Concert Series in Sun Peaks with great results. Since then TSP has worked hard to improve summer business.
“Summer concerts, events and animation have worked well alongside our outdoor activities to provide a good summer experience for our guests,” said TSP president Arlene Schieven. “The concerts and events provide a reason to come to Sun Peaks and bring awareness to the fact that it is not just a winter destination. Weekends with festivals and events are always our best performing summer weekends and we continue to invest in these types of events to grow our summer business.”
In 2020 the popular Retro Concert Weekend will return for its 11th year and a major concert will take place in July.
2014: Sun Peaks becomes the second largest ski area in Canada
Thanks to the addition of 500 skiable acres on Mt. Morrisey, Sun Peaks claimed the title of the second largest ski area in Canada. This title put Sun Peaks on the map for visitors from around the world.
Sun Peaks Resort LLP general manager Darcy Alexander said the milestone was something they had strived for over many years.
“It’s been in the master plan since day one that we had the capacity…it takes a lot of time and energy to turn that into a reality.
“It was a milestone for us because we achieved it and a lot of people didn’t think we could.”
2015: Sun Peaks Independent News changes hands
After years of serving the community, Adam and Cathy Earle headed south and sister duo Brandi and Jen Schier took over the local paper. In the years since it has refined its voice to focus on news stories that impact residents most and share the tales of those that make the community what it is.
2016: Skier visits pass 350,000
Another big goal for Sun Peaks Resort LLP was met in 2016 when they reached over 350,000 annual skier visits.
“It’s one of those things that was in our master plan,” said Alexander. “It speaks to your resort overall. That’s a significant number of skier visits”
2017: The fastest growing municipality in B.C.
The culture changes in Sun Peaks were evident when the census revealed it was the fastest growing municipality in the province. The population grew by 66 per cent versus the national rate of five per cent.
Updated population statistics gave SPMRM reason to work harder on recreation and health facilities, which are now coming to fruition.
This year the Sun Peaks Community Health Centre also opened its doors to its first patients, a turning point in medical care at Sun Peaks.
2018: Orient chairlift opens and development booms
In 2018 Sun Peaks was taken over by construction sites and a palpable excitement.
The Orient Lift was opened in the East Village, the first new lift in years, and immediately changed skier patterns to allow easier access from the far end of the resort.
SPR also upgraded Bento’s to create The Annex and built an addition on the Sunburst Lodge at mid-mountain.
Other development also boomed in the resort that year; $75 million in total development was started.
2019: Sun Peaks Centre construction begins
This year construction began on a project years in the making. Crews broke ground to start building the Sun Peaks Centre which will see the ice rink covered and the addition of a gym, offices and meeting space to the existing facilities.
The project received $6 million in federal gas tax funding and $2 million from reserves and regional district lending.
It has been proof of the growth of the community and a significant investment into the future.
“The school, healthcare, and recreational attractions have made us a better place to work and play and a better place for visitors,” Raine said. “We all look forward to witnessing the great community that will develop over the next 10 years.”