Sun sets on summer season

Summer Wrap Up Collage for WebSun Peaks has just seen the close of another successful summer season, filled with hiking, biking, golfing, and a variety of top musical acts.

Sun Peaks Resort Corporation (SPRC) and Tourism Sun Peaks (TSP) had their hand in organizing activities from the beginning of July to the end of September, including the popular Summer Concert Series, the Canadian Downhill Championship, and the weekly Farmer’s Markets.

The start of the season kicked off with a bang, with Dan Mangan and Blue Rodeo entertaining thousands of visitors on the hill.

Christopher Nicolson, president of TSP, said it was important to have a big name act early in the season.

“It puts Sun Peaks at the top of people’s minds. It gets visitors thinking about coming back again during the season,” Nicolson said.

Nicolson said the concert weekends this year were generally spaced out over multiple nights, giving visitors the opportunity to spend more time in the village. While overall visitors to the hill weren’t up significantly for the opening concert weekend, Friday night accommodation was up almost 20 per cent due to this strategy.

While the big name concerts such as Blue Rodeo and Arkells drew huge crowds, other events, such as Country Fest didn’t make as big of an impact.

Nicolson said Country Fest, would be tweaked in future years.

“Country Fest was a brand new opportunity for us. The ability to attract thousands of people with a concert is dictated by how many dollars you have to invest. Country Fest doesn’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars put against it.

“The focus in the future may be more on a fall fair style festival, as opposed to a concert.”

The Sun Peaks and Region Farmer’s Market was another popular activity for locals and visitors. Meghan Kolodka, events and adventure centre supervisor for TSP said the markets had been very popular this season.

“There were a lot more vendors than last year, and I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from locals and visitors,” Kolodka said.

“It’s a great way to have the village come together on a Sunday, with live music, fresh produce and some wonderful and unique products.”

Aidan Kelly, director of sales and marketing at SPRC, said the season had been steady for hikers and bikers, with increases around the bigger weekends and drops mainly due to poor weather.

“Everything balanced out quite well. Overall numbers were comparable to previous seasons,” Kelly said.

A highlight of the biking season was the Canadian Downhill Championship and BC Cup, which drew top riders to the bike park in July.

“That was a great weekend and definitely brought a number of high level riders. It was great exposure for our world-class product and Cycling Canada was very impressed. We’re already in conversations to hopefully have this event in Sun Peaks again in the near future.”

Also a highlight for bikers was the opening of the new alpine cross-country trail, Altitude.

“Altitude was very well received by a number of folks that rode it. The operations did a great job getting the trail ready for action,” Kelly said. “Experienced riders loved it, but newer riders need something more mellow and we’ll be looking at options for that.”

TSP and SPRC are now setting their sights on the upcoming winter season and ahead to the 2015 summer. Pick up the November issue of SPIN for a winter events preview.