Sun Peaks Resort keeps rider experience top of mind this summer

A rider snaking lines at the bike park in seasons past. Photo provided by SPR.

Sun Peaks Resort LLP (SPR) staff are aiming to balance guest experience with increasing mountain biking popularity and provincial health officer orders for this year’s bike park season.

Although a return to normal plan has been outlined by Dr. Bonnie Henry, premier John Horgan, and other provincial health officials, reduced capacity is still the reality for SPR this summer.

“We are constantly kind of adjusting and pivoting to make sure we’re following the guidelines [and] creating a safe environment,” said Rob McCloskey, SPR’s director of marketing and communications.

He explained a limited number of SPR bike park season passes, which sold out in less than three hours, were made available for this season. 

Fifty bonus passes were then sold through a ballot only weeks later after it was evident not enough people were given a chance to purchase their 2021 bike park seasons pass. 

“We heard from a lot of people who missed out…we were equally as surprised as everybody else that it sold out as quickly as it did. So we [offered] 50 additional spots,” McCloskey explained.

After adding the new season passes, a trickle down effect took place on the number of day ticket availability to ensure those passholders received great value for their money, added McCloskey.

SPR would not disclose just how many season passes were sold or how many day passes are available.

However, the limited number of season passes wasn’t a simple decision given year-over-year SPR has seen a significant popularity increase in mountain biking at the resort.

“It’s tough on one hand to constrain capacity numbers because you want to give as many people as possible the opportunity [to ride] but also, for [SPR], it’s a kind of way to ensure that the guest experience is really great when people are here because everyone is [bottlenecked] by one chairlift,” McCloskey said.

For those who don’t have a season pass, the same operational procedure will be in place as the last calendar year, where guests need to pre-book their days to access the Bike Park, which is now available online.

Less people and increasing guest experience won’t be SPR’s only tactic for spreading out riders this season, as the length of the season has also been extended. 

SPR’s bike park operations begin June 18 and will have the second longest bike park season in the province (behind Whistler) with summer hours from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., seven days per week until Sept. 6. 

Thereafter, the bike park hours will shorten from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. but will remain open seven days a week, compared to last season where the park was only open weekends in the fall. The trails will close for the season on Sept. 26. 

“We’re pretty excited. It allows a lot of flexibility and people from Kamloops can come up and ride after and work,” McCloskey explained.

While some things have changed, McCloskey added COVID-19 policies will remain static unless they’re advised differently from the province.

“As of right now, we’re planning to open with similar procedures and policies that we are already comfortable with. Contact tracing, masks when you’re walking around not at your table [in a restaurant] in lift lines and on chairlifts for example. Physical distancing should be easy in liftlines too since everyone has a bike in their hands.”

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