Sunny Sun Peaks with Matt Hunter, Dylan Sherrard and Chayse Marshall
Fortuitous is a fantastic word and any opportunity to use it will be, by nature, a good one. If our tour of the Thompson Okanagan could be wrapped up in one word, it would have to be fortuitous. On our fourth and final day, we visited Sun Peaks
and yeah, you guessed it, lady luck was on our side. We managed to snag not one but three killer riders – Matt Hunter
, Dylan Sherrard and Chayse Marshall – to show us the park, shoot some footage and otherwise have a grand old time.Words by Ryan Kuhn
Video by Steve Crowe
Images by Ryan Kuhn
Read Part 1 here Part 2 herePart 3 here
Steve on video duty
After a restful stay at the Hearthstone Lodge
we enjoyed a gourmet breakfast at Mantles in the Delta Hotel
and met up with our hosts for the day, Dylan and Chayse. Dylan is a bonafide style master with some super fine tricks up his sleeve. Chayse is something of a race prodigy with a bright future ahead of him…and coming up fast. Both are Kamloops locals and were keen to show us the Sun Peaks goods.
We heard a rumour that Matt Hunter was up at the Peaks to shoot for a print magazine so we hightailed it over to the reception center where we caught up with him for a quick interview. Matt’s a super laid back guy and was kind enough to give us some camera time before we headed out on the hill…but as it turns out, the print mag folks weren’t to be found and Matty was keen to hop on the lift with us good ole Pinkbike boys and rip some runs. Fortuitous.
Our goal was to sample the diversity of riding at Sun Peaks while focusing on its strong points, most notably wicked all-out singletrack. The Peaks has 39 trails on the map
, a good number of which are steep, gnarly and hand-built. When you link up different sections of trails it seems like much more.Sun Peaks tour:
We let our hosts take us where they wanted so we started off with some fast flow on the Mach/Gummy Bear/Home Run area. These blue runs offer fantastic corners linked by buff singletrack lines. One of the first impressions of the Peaks is how well the trails have been maintained. Sure some recent rainfall helped, but the dedication to keeping the product in top shape is apparent and kudos goes out to the builders.
Next up we decided to get some fresh air on the signature jump/stunt line, Steam Shovel. Sun Peaks is clearly not afraid to go big and there are some sizeable features on the Shovel. It had a major reworking in recent years and this year appeared to be only slightly tweaked with a few new options, but was still in great shape.
Matty, Dylan and Chase were airing it out and looked right at home. Sun Peaks has a loyal following and local riders clearly take pride in their mountain. While the on-hill product offers a good variety of riding to appease all styles of downhill, the village has gradually grown up and has a more mature atmosphere. The bars are open late and there is an international feel, but still seems intimate. If I had to make comparisons, I’d say the Sun Peaks “scene” falls between the quaintness of Silver Star (which is quite sleepy at night) and the cosmopolitan phenomenon that is Whistler.
Once we cut our teeth on some flow and some fly, we dropped the cameras for some all-out ripping with the boys. We hit Honey Drop, an always fun, steep and tight tester. The dry conditions proved the corners a little loose, which fits well with a fast wide open style. Matty was off and I had a blast chasing him down the mountain.
After Honey Drop, we cut into the jump park, which features progressive lines up to huge 20+ foot gaps. There are not many resorts that have gaps open to the public, and these will test your mettle if you’re up for them. We finished with the always fun – and I’d say almost classic – 4x course, which has grown into more of a single-rider line…but you always feel like your racing it.
We grabbed some nourishment at Masa's
and went back out with the goal of sampling a variety of other trails, including the classic Sugar, a stunt-infested and long line through damp forest (even in drought conditions), the DH course, an all-out almost moto-style course that hits eye-watering speeds, and Cahilty to Sweet One – a classic tight gully style ride and lots of wood work…old school style.
I have always had a great time at Sun Peaks and this visit didn’t disappoint. I would have liked another day as we sampled only a portion of what the area offers, especially the tight steep singletrack that is so abundant. If you’re looking to get away from the hype and just ride your bike, this is the place. Thompson Okanagan Tour Conclusion
It’s been a whirlwind four days and we’re all smiles. We had some fortuitous luck in meeting up with Jay Hoots, Tinker Juarez, Matt Hunter and all the other rad riders and builders. Our “escort,” Miles Prodan of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association
, was a mediocre houseboat driver, a good sport and always kept things going smoothly. Thanks Miles. As road trips go, we rolled with what came our way and it worked out well.
There is so much world-class riding in the Thompson Okanagan we barely scratched, or tracked, the surface. From well established resorts to ridiculous XC singletrack – some of epic proportions – to wicked freeriding, there’s no doubt any mountain biker could have the trip of a lifetime here. Check it out.
-Ryan Kuhn is a regular Pinkbike contributor and is proud to represent Devinci Bikes
, Revolution Cycles and Service
, Nema International
, SMX Optics
and Point 1
. He lives in Rossland, BC, Canada.