Thanks Mr. Ohkubo

DSC_0228I’ve lived in this magical town called Sun Peaks for more than half my life, but if it wasn’t for a gentle smile and a firm handshake many years ago, it may have never happened.

It was the summer of 1992 and Tod Mountain was bankrupt and at auction. I’d left the ski hill the season prior, after two years with the events department. The skiing was great but there was no future for me.

My summer seasons back then were filled with sun, salt and salmon as I guided guests, dignitaries and celebrities from around the globe. It was a chance meeting that truly changed the course of my life. One day a gentleman named Masayoshi Ohkubo stepped into my boat — little did I know but he’d just bought Tod Mountain, locks, stock and chairlifts. Needless to say our conversations over the next four days revolved around salmon fishing, skiing and the huge development plans for Tod Mountain.

Prior to departing our secluded fishing lodge Mr. Ohkubo approached me and politely asked if I would come back to Tod Mountain to work with them on their vision. I readily accepted and the rest is history.

The reason I tell this story is actually brought on by one of my least favourite things about life in Sun Peaks: people slagging, or simply playing armchair philosophers with regards to Sun Peaks Resort LLP (SPR) and how the company runs — or should run in their minds.

Some folks who call Sun Peaks home would like to think they know best when it comes to where new chairlifts, ski runs and infrastructure should be built, without acknowledging the great work SPR has been doing for decades. Not only has SPR stuck to their guns in following their 50 year Master Development Plan, but they’ve stayed true to their initial vision and multimillion dollar investment through an economic crisis, shrinking industry demographics and most recently, a less than snowy winter.

Without them, none of us would have luxury homes here, kids wouldn’t go to the coolest school in the world and we would simply not be able to live the lifestyle we enjoy in Sun Peaks today.

While no big company in any small town will ever get a fair shake in the court of “we know best” public opinion, next time you think you know how it should be done at Sun Peaks, simply look around you.

If not for Mr. Ohkubo’s vision, long-time general manager Darcy Alexander’s business acumen and budgeting tenacity and a huge, ever changing team of passionate managers and employees leading the charge, Sun Peaks Resort would simply resemble Western Canada’s biggest ski industry joke: Jumbo Glacier —acres of ski terrain  and no future, not unlike the Tod Mountain I left in 1991.

Before my SPIN ink runs dry next issue I wanted to say loud and clear, well done SPR in creating one of the best places on earth to live and play.