Powerless – Preparing for outages

Brandi Schier – Publisher

Several years ago I was working Christmas Day at Masa’s Bar & Grill located in the Village Day Lodge. The front of house crew was preparing for a relatively cruisy evening shift as many guests cooked dinner in their chalets or made other plans, when all of the sudden the power failed. It soon became apparent it wasn’t going to be restored quickly and people began streaming into the few places in Sun Peaks that have back-up generator power, Masa’s being one of  them.

People’s holiday dinner plans were dashed as turkeys were abandoned half cooked in ovens and people settled for pub food, served up after a significant wait, both to get a table and to get their food. Guests were unhappy, staff were rocked and it was a Christmas Day I’ll never forget.

This is just one of many memories of the power failing in Sun Peaks and people and business making adjustments on the fly. It’s easy to forget when looking at the polished village, but the resort is actually rurally located, with one only one power line connecting us to the grid. It doesn’t take much, like a car sliding into a pole or heavy ice on the line, to bring the connection down.

There was a similar situation in August during Retro Rock Weekend, one of the busier times of the summer. Hotel reservation systems were down, many places couldn’t take payment and chaos was close to reigning. Some businesses fared better than others, mainly those who had seen this play out before and had alternate plans in place.

Unfortunately for the foreseeable future this is an issue our village must continue to deal with and is a tradeoff for the rural, out-of-the-way atmosphere we all love up here.

While it can make for great stories, like cooking Christmas turkey on the barbecue, it’s best to plan ahead. BC Hydro recommends being prepared for 72 hours without power in case of an emergency and there’s lots of great info on their website.

While this takes investment and foresight seasonal renters may not have, there are still some basic steps to take. Pay attention if your unit’s heat is electric or propane, keep some candles and flashlights on hand as well as a stash of non perishable, ready-to-eat snacks. Keep a portable cell phone charger ready to keep communication accessible.

Also, check BCHydro.com or SPIN for updates on the outage. (Maybe instead of everyone posting questions on Facebook?) As long as cellular phone service is available, you can use your data. Cellphones can also double as  “hotspots” to connect laptops and other devices.

If this is your first winter, just know you’re likely to need a few of these items at some point, most likely at a very inconvenient time if history is any predictor.

My advice is light some candles, put your beer in the snow and hunker down until lights come on.