Last week I jetted up to Sun Peaks Resort just outside of Kamloops, BC to take part in the Winter Wine Festival.
The Winter Wine Festival is presented as a part of the seasonal Okanagan Wine Festival series, which hosts events across the region in spring, summer (at Silver Star) and fall as well.
I was only there for a short time but managed to squeeze in the “Icewines and Nothing More” workshop as well as the Winemasters’ Dinner featuring a 7-course meal, Okanagan wines, and Canadian cheeses.
It was a lovely evening as I was sat with other journalists, locals, tourism folk, Dieter from Thistle Farm, and the resort’s own official “ski bum”, Thiago. Sun Peaks ran a contest this year to win the ultimate seasonal job being their “ski bum” for 3 months. In the same vein as the “best job in the world” from Queensland Tourism.
Thiago, who hails from Brazil, is currently enjoying the experience of a lifetime hanging around Sun Peaks. Every day they have new adventures planned for him including events like the Winter Wine Festival or hopping on a helicopter. He is spending a few weeks in each hotel and his meals are courtesy of all the local restaurants and pubs. You can read about his adventures on the Ski Bum Canada blog.
Participants at the workshops and the dinner ranged from local wine enthusiasts to international travelers making the Winter Wine Festival their destination. Taking a ski getaway and pairing it with a wine festival seems to be a winning combination.
This was my first time up at Sun Peaks and I have to say, I fell in love. It was serene and peaceful in the village while my heart raced as I peered up at the slopes I so desperately wanted to carve up. The village itself has a delightful European influence with a sloped corridor which provides ski-in / ski-out convenience. The exterior of each hotel and shop is crafted perfectly to mimic cozy alpine lodges and the snow coats each rooftop like a fluffy down comforter.
I think the best thing about the resort, from my brief experience, was the people. There is a year-round population of 500 and those I met are all passionate about two things: Sun Peaks and skiing.
The Winter Wine Festival wraps up this week but if you would like to explore the next Okanagan Wine Festival you can check out their event listings online or follow @OKWineFests on Twitter. Also, the snow is powder-fresh on Sun Peaks if you’d like to head upbefore the end of the season. You can drive there from Vancouver in about 4 hours, take a Greyhound to Kamloops, or hop a flight.
You can view their webcams if you want to catch a serious case of snow-envy and check out their terrain map (above) to ogle the second largest recreational ski area in the province.
I’d also like to send a quick word of thanks to Tourism Sun Peaks who helped me triage a canceled flight out of Kamloops. I didn’t have a phone number or email handy but I did have my iPhone and access to Twitter. I sent @SunPeaksResort a direct message telling them I was pretty much stranded and they relayed my message to my contact within minutes. Big thanks to Melanie Simmons for being a great hostess and also being so responsive to my situation.
Disclosure: cmp.ly/1 – Unpaid. My accommodation was covered.