December sees double digit growth

A massive crowd takes in the New Year’s Eve celebrations, traditionally one of Sun Peaks’ busiest days. | PHOTO CEDAR line creative

If residents sense the resort has been busier this season, it’s not their imagination. Tourism Sun Peaks (TSP) reported a 14 per cent increase in resort occupancy last month from the previous December and said the remainder of the season is pacing well ahead of last year.

“I think we’re in really good shape for significant double-digit increases,” said Arlene Schieven, president of TSP.

According to Aidan Kelly, chief marketing officer of Sun Peaks Resort LLP (SPR), international visits alone are up by 50 per cent over last year.

“Markets like Australia, New Zealand and the UK are way up. And those people are here now, in January and February, enjoying the resort,” he said.

In regards to skier visits, Kelly said they’re happy with the numbers so far this year, despite the weather challenges such as warm temperatures early on followed by two significant
cold snaps.

“It certainly impacts skier visits. People are still up here, enjoying the village, but they may not be skiing every day,” he said.

Schieven also pointed to a significant increase in other winter activity sales, such as Nordic skiing, dogsledding and snowshoeing, to name a few.

“It’s not just skiing on the mountain. The sales that we are seeing for all other winter activities are doing really, really well so that’s another trend that we’re seeing.”

The resort’s season pass campaign numbers were also up this year, although Kelly said they haven’t seen the usage they normally do by this point in the season.

“We’re in mid-season now and we’re expecting those people to start coming up and making use of the remainder of their pass,” he said.

With the longer term forecast looking favourable, Kelly said it will be a strong season but it remains to be seen if it will be record-breaking.

“We will have a strong end, with Easter weekend and Snowbombing (Festival) the weekend before is already pretty much sold out. April is pretty much taken care of and will help mitigate the early season weather challenges,” he said.

Schieven said in addition to hyper-targeted digital marketing and media attention, she attributed the growth to the fact that many people are looking for an alternative to busier winter destinations.

“The quality of the experience is really standing out for Sun Peaks.”