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By Jane Cassie
For Travel Writers' Tales

A biting wind nips though our toques and while ascending to the summit, we hunker down and think of the day that waits ahead. One of our kids will be hoping this resort lives up to its name. Another will be dreaming about skiing the stash of fresh powder. As for our hot-dogging son, Shaun -it'll be the challenging terrain that fills his brain. But my thoughts aren't on any of these. Now that our five kids are adults, and we're nearing our 'golden years,' I'm just praying I can do the descent without having a face plant.

Thank heavens Sun Peaks has the answer. As well as boasting an impressive line-up of multi-generation adventures, this resort, forty five minutes from Kamloops, caters to every skill level. During this family retreat it also grants all of our wishes. Well, nearly all.

By the time we reach the top of Sunburst, the clouds have dispersed and we have a panorama of this second largest BC ski resort. A hundred and twenty-two run scrawl over 3,678 acres and interconnect with thirty kilometers of Nordic track, two alpine bowls, and twelve glades. They also come in varied grades -so even us grey-haired folk can get down.

"You go, Girl," our daredevil Shaun cheers out, while showering me in a rooster tail of downy powder. Albeit, it's been years since I've gone by this title, I'm feeling that familiar surge of adrenaline. And before I can worry about my weak knees, we're off!

While my husband and I glide the groomers, two of our crew head for the untracked fringes, another gravitates to the glades and over-active Shaun gets big air from every big bump. From Sundance to the high reaches of Crystal, we start and finish together, yet customize our own way down. The snow is feather-light and every line is effortless -even those at the base of each chair!

It helps to have direction from the acclaimed gold medalist / Senator, Nancy Greene, later in the day. At 1pm on most weekends this Sun Peaks ambassador meets any skiers who want to tag along. "Let's give Burfield a try," Shaun suggests, after getting tips from this pro. "It has lots of black diamonds." I can vouch for this fact. Back in my teens when it was Tod Mountain, it was the longest chairlift in North America -and one of the toughest. I quickly pass on this pitch and do an about face towards the alpine village. With any luck, our hot tub will be vacant!

We've booked into the centrally-located Kookaburra Lodge and a spacious suite that has enough perks to please any clan. Steam showers, super-sized TVs, pillow-top beds- did I mention the soothing hot tub? My rubbery legs can hardly wait!

"Wanna go dog sledding, Mom?" I forget about our non-skier son, and when I return, he's flipping through a brochure. I'd like to find some solace, but I can't recall the last time my twenty-two year old asked me to do something with him. I don't have much muscle-power left, but how hard can getting pulled by Alaskan Huskies be?

Not as easy as you may think! Even though our experienced guides, Philippe and Leandra Brient teach us everything from harnessing to handling, this activity is not your typical walk in a dog park. These canines really move!

After one demonstration, my son proudly harnesses his team. But my mind's still on all the commands -don't let the ropes slack, brake here, push there. I'm starting to wonder if this quintessentially Canadian experience is something I can muster. Or musher! But after Philippe revs up his guiding snowmobile, there's no holding back. Snow flies, tails wag, I sweat. Our narrow route is flanked by snow-clad evergreens, and aside from the huffing pups, the air is still, serene. By the time we do the return loop, I'm feeling like Eskimo Jane -and a lot more connected to my son.

Meanwhile, my husband is slope-side with the others -mainly Shaun. On his final run, our daring dude gets a little too much air for his own good and sprains his ankle. "I guess I'm getting too old for these tricks," he says, when later claiming some couch space. I chuckle at this comment and reflect on a few revelations from the weekend. First and foremost -family time takes precedence over anything else. Secondly -the generation gap between us and the kids isn't really all that wide. And lastly -Sun Peaks has granted all of our wishes. Well, nearly all!

Travel Writers' Tales is an independent travel article syndicate that offers professionally written travel articles to newspaper editors and publishers.

If You Go:

Sun Peaks Resort

Photos by Brent Cassie

1. Cassie clan are prepared to hit the slopes
2. Lift off -next stop is Sundance Express
3. Getting tips from an Olympic pro
4. Sweet Suite family time
5. Browsing the Bavarian-like village
6. Mushing 101
7. Son and Mom Mushers


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