Stories from snowshoes and snow caves

A group is led through the forest at Sun Peaks.

For 20 years, Colin and Maria Cannon have wanted their guests to have just as many stories at the end of they day as their skiing family and friends.

“I’m an ambassador for Sun Peaks to a lot of people who may or may not ski,” said Cannon, owner of Discover Sun Peaks Adventures. “I try to give them a whole bunch of really useful facts. They become the one everyone listens to.”

Cannon traveled to a newly established Sun Peaks from Whistler in 1996 and found himself enchanted with the dry, light snow.

Having snowshoed as a child around Vancouver he was accustomed to wetter snow that weighed down his feet and made the sport a chore.

With his light aluminum snowshoes rented from Kamloops, Cannon headed out to what is now the tenth fairway of the Sun Peaks Golf Course and marvelled at the area around him.
One month later he came back with a business plan to present to resort managers.

He said he thought it would be great to get in on the ground floor of what he believed would grow into a larger resort.

“I bought into the whole Sun Peaks plan,” he said.

Having guided throughout Canada he was confident it was an idea that would do well in the budding community.

“They said ‘yeah, do it,’” Cannon said. “Some young kid wants to build a business
here, great!

“I went and bought some snowshoes and set up a couple of trails. In the early years there was not a lot of people.”

A few years later he began renting snowshoes to visitors and as more guests discovered the area he became busier and busier.

Now guests return annually and Cannon views them as family.

“I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve that,” Cannon said “But on a snowshoe tour you’re able to create a bond.”

Cannon builds beautiful snow caves every year to the delight of his guests, building them in new locations as resort development takes over previous spots.

They also have no minimum number of guests required to run a tour, if only one person signs up the trip will go ahead.

“In the early days I went to other resorts as one guy (to see other operators) and I needed two other people to go. In Sun Peaks the smallest group is one.”

Cannon still builds and maintains the trails used for his tours and public use; some of his favourite memories have been time spent packing down the snow in early December.

“Just stopping and looking up, it’s like the stars were falling on me,” Cannon said of making trails one night years ago. “It was so cold and clear, I remember just being totally blown away by the surroundings of Sun Peaks and the stillness and quietness of the snow.”

Now Cannon has hired other guides while he focuses on his role as chief of Sun Peaks Fire Rescue and his family. But he is still passionate about sharing the sport with others, and he wouldn’t want to do it anywhere else.

“I love that anybody can do it, as long as you can walk you can snowshoe.

“It was beautiful to watch the resort grow around us. We really have community, we
have heart.”




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