Get Out There

Friendship’s the name of the game for Sun Guides

 | March 18, 2012

Sun Guides are a well known feature of Sun Peaks, with their bright orange jackets and smiley faces. The men and women who volunteer their time to showcase the mountain are passionate about skiing and mountain hospitality.

“Sun Guiding isn’t showing (guests) how well you can ski,” explains Malcolm Brown, a Sun Guide for the past six seasons. “You’re trying to find out what they can do, and then show them the best parts of the mountain to enjoy.”

For Brown, the best thing about being a Sun Guide is the lasting friendships it brings.

When travelling to Australia, Brown visited some of the guests he’d met while guiding at Sun Peaks. This time however, he was on the receiving end of the tour.

“I was shown around the Sydney Opera House and the Great Ocean Road and all by people I’d shown around Sun Peaks,” he said.

Larry Grant is another local guide who’s been driving from Kamloops for 14 years to tour visitors around the mountains.

“There were times I was on the hill up to 70 times a year,” he says. “I’ve had the opportunity of meeting people from all over the world. Sun Guiding is not an ordinary job, it’s a passion and I love it!”

A Sun Guide doesn’t know who they’ll be touring on any given day and, for Grant, that’s part of the fun.

“I had the opportunity of doing a White House tour; that was really a surprise,” says Grant who also toured a member of former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s staff. “I was guiding this fella one day and I asked him ‘what is it you do for work?’ and he responded by saying he worked for President Clinton!”

Thor Grundell is here for his 11th season as a Sun Guide. Originally from Sweden, Grundell came to Sun Peaks in 1995, and stayed. Sun Guiding is his opportunity to combine the great outdoors with great people.

“I like to meet people and I love mother nature so this is a great job,” Grundell says.

Being a local has its advantages and Grundell likes to share inside knowledge on the wildlife.

“We get a lot of kids with lots of questions, especially about the wildlife,” he says. The summer burn piles that occasionally smolder through the winter provide good fodder for tall tales.

“I told one of the kids I was guiding that these smoking, smoldering logs covered in snow was a black bear in his cave breathing, but I couldn’t hold it in, and I had to tell him the truth.”

The Sun Guides are more than eager to show skiers of all abilities the resort they call home.

The Sun Guide meeting location is slopeside by the Village Day Lodge. Complimentary tours depart daily at 9:15 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.