SUN PEAKS - It’s been a year of bests for Sun Peaks.
The ski resort saw two important records broken this year with the most visitor room nights and total skier visits. Resort spokesperson Aidan Kelly says the broken records were a bit of a surprise this year, after they were both set last year.
“The all time record was 360,000 skier visits last year,” he says. “We were hoping to get back to that number, but hit 390,000 — that’s a big increase over what was already a record.”
With this year’s late start due to weather, early expectations weren’t for an increase, but Kelly believes the resort's long term marketing is starting to pay dividends the resort is becoming a more mainstream choice. The branding of Sun Peaks as Canada’s second largest ski area is part of that plan and having an impact.
The season ending Snowbombing Festival was just gravy, Kelly says, as the records were already set to be broken before the mid-April festival arrived. It did bring a marquee event with international appeal, and Kelly says there’s hopes to bring it back, but no one is at the planning stage yet.
“It was a bit of a role of the dice, but it couldn’t have gone much better,” he says. “We were booked almost solid and a lot of the private accommodation was rented out.”
April nearly caused problems as the worst weather of the season preceded the event, but things cleared up for the weekend.
Kelly says the resort has seen growth in nearly every market, including big increases from Europe.
However, with all the growth there is a growing impact on the village itself. Kelly says the resort is aware of this, and that’s part of the reason for an increase in food and beverage services already announced.
“We’re on this growth trend, word of mouth is travelling significantly,” he says. “And that’s the interesting side, we’re starting to see pressures on our skier services.”
He says the resort is in good shape right now and mindful of stress on the village communiy itself, but with the annual growth it’s time to look at plans for the next phase, including the potential for new lifts.
The other areas for growth are off season and mid-week operations.
“What we did is we really started to fill in that mid-week period with our destination guests,” Kelly says. “It’s good for the experience, spreads out the visitation and fills in the quite periods.”
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