While riding up the Sundance chair recently, I couldn’t help but notice the young kids going off some pretty big features in the terrain park. It all seemed safe, organized and competent and it got me thinking about the old Burfield Tunnel Jump which was cancelled decades ago for insurance liability reasons. Given what is going on so seemingly safe in the terrain park, maybe it is time to revisit the Burfield Tunnel Jump.
In most normal snow years, a large cornice builds up on the Chief Shoulder near the top of the Burfield Chair. The Tunnel Jump is built by first digging a 10 or 12 foot pit and then tunneling at a right angle through the cornice and exiting the Chief Shoulder.
When the ski jumper exits the dark tunnel and into the sunlight the first thing he/she sees is the Burfield Chair at eye level, and then it is a quick drop onto a steep landing on the Chief Shoulder. For the people riding the Burfield or Crystal Chairs it’s “What is that dark spot on the Chief Shoulder?” and then the shock of a ski jumper emerging and landing one.
Reviving the Burfield Tunnel Jump to be part of next year’s Tod Mountain/Sun Peaks 50th anniversary of lift service skiing on Tod Mountain (the anniversary predates Whistler and Vail) could add nicely to the celebrations. With a practise Tunnel Jump this year and photos sent to Ski Canada Magazine it would be a can’t miss for next year’s Best of Issue: Best revival of an old tradition, Sun Peaks’ Burfield Tunnel Jump.