As darkness falls upon Sun Peaks Resort each Thursday evening throughout the ski season, a team of volunteers and staff ready the Sunburst chairlift and the Sunburst Restaurant for an event that’s both fun and unique.
While most people are getting out of their ski gear after a long day on the slopes and are enjoying après ski stories with their friends or soaking in a hot tub, a lucky few are putting their boots and skis back on for an experience that should top most bucket lists.
The Fondue Dinner and Evening Descent combines’ both fine cuisine, live entertainment and the thrill of skiing at night. Boarding a chairlift at 5 p.m. in the winter darkness may seem odd but it’s just the start to a great experience. As you near the top of the chair a soft hew of light emanates from the warm and cozy Sunburst Restaurant. Guests are greeted by a small army of smiling staff and volunteers as you take a seat and settle in for the evening. Local entertainer Margit Bull serenades the room with soft classics and the chatter dies down as patrons turn their senses towards the culinary feast before their eyes.
Fresh vegetables, bread, chicken, beef, pork and prawns are set on each table accompanied by fondue pots filled with steaming broth or bubbling cheese. As there are no rules in fondue, guests are left to their gastronomic imagination when it comes to what to dip where and after few puzzled looks all are soon poking, dipping and devouring the delectable morsels before them.
Time flies when one’s enjoying great food and pleasant company and it’s not long before the main course is gone and replaced with fresh fondue pots, this time with a heavenly concoction of sweet, warm chocolate as a dessert course. Shortbread, melon, strawberries, pineapple and marshmallows drip with chocolatey goodness as guests try to find room for more.
Paired into groups of approximately 10 people, it’s now time to head off into the winter night. Each group is led by a guide and followed by another to ensure no one goes astray. As you turn your headlamp on and start your descent back into reality, the sense of skiing at night takes over. Even those not considered expert skiers are soon linking perfect turns into the black of night as the 5 Mile run is illuminated with only small lanterns and is bathed in the natural glow of the surrounding snow. Before long the lights of the village appear as your group rounds the lower 5 Mile and you settle back into the world you left a few short hours ago.
Suzanne Hadley, a visitor from Australia who visits Sun Peaks once a year summed up the evening perfectly, “I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. You get on the lift at the bottom with no one else around and you ascend the mountain in the dark. The staff and volunteers make you very comfortable. The food was great and the atmosphere was wonderful. It was very well organized and with all the staff and guides you’re never worried you’ll be lost along the way”.