The spring and summer months offer conditions that allow for expansion and maintenance, enough to keep 150 employees busy says Jamie Tattersfield, SPRC mountain operations manager, “The ski area doesn’t go to sleep in the summertime, there’s a full round of maintenance activities.”
Early season work saw a modification of the return loop of cross-country bike trail, Big Rock Ride. This addition will bring bikers back on an old, and quiet, logging road, avoiding the previous return route that spat riders into traffic on McGillivray Lake Forest Service Road.
The Valley Trail network has been extended to offer full loop service from Bento’s Day Lodge west along the Burfield Connector to Burfield Lodge. It then crosses Tod Mountain Road and connects to the existing trail paralleling Back in Time ski run. This multiuse trail is currently a one-way trail available to cross-country bikers and hikers. Future intentions are to pave the route.
Moving through the summer, crews will be focusing on logging West Morrisey, Sundance and Gil’s along with forging way on a new Nordic trail.
“The weather is always one of our greatest challenges for trail construction and logging; it will largely influence how much work can be completed this summer,” explains Erik Meertens, SPRC outside operations director. “The amount of work we have on our plate will take us right through until the snow drives us away.”
Logging preparations began early in July, with a forest health management initiative above the private residences on Bella Vista Drive and around Peak-a-boo and Three Bears ski runs. Meertens says the patches of dead timber, called treatment units, are the primary focus. Moving into August, the focus will shift to Gil’s expansion, accommodating the extended ski boundary area, and then onto West Morrisey.
“We’re not promising every single ski run will be built this summer because of the aforementioned challenges but we’re going to be doing our best to get as much of it done as we can,” says Meertens.
The Nordic system will also see a new trail, Whiskey Jack, which will parallel McGillivray Lake trail, offering a one-way, dog-friendly loop.
“This new trail should make it a lot friendlier for everybody, including our loyal dog owners. If everyone’s going in the same direction there will be less conflict,” explains Tattersfield.
Additionally, the snow cat fleet is growing by one, to eight, and additional snow making equipment is being placed at the bottom of Chute, offering more area for early season race training.
“The demand for early season training is very strong. We see ski clubs and teams from all over the globe enquiring about space to train before the World Cups start happening,” says Meertens.
After a lull in development, these projects are hoped to spark some excitement from local residents and owners, as well as with visitors and tourism operations.
Visit the Sun Peaks Resort website here for more information on the West Morrisey and Gil’s developments.