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Pique n' your interest

The pleasures of not being number one

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A perplexed liftie shook his head and, slowing down the chair for us to get on, said in amazement: "I can’t believe how busy it is today."

The four of us looked back at the line.

There were seven people standing there.

Eyebrows raised, unsure whether or not to laugh, we all sank into the chair.

Was he joking? Was he being sarcastic? Was he serious? We debated the comment during the 25-minute chair lift ride to the top and decided that he was pulling our legs. There were seven people standing there for crying out loud.

As it turns out, the liftie was totally sincere. When there are seven people standing in line for the Burfield Chair at Sun Peaks Resort it’s smokin’ busy.

It’s funny how when you get out of Dodge for a weekend, things suddenly gain a whole new perspective.

That’s what last weekend’s trip to Sun Peaks did for me. It was my first time to Sun Peaks and my first time skiing at another resort in B.C.

And the journey put Whistler in a whole new light.

First of all it made me realize that Whistler really is in a class of its own. Nothing can compare to its sheer size, the amount of vertical drop, the bowls, the powder chutes, the cliffs, the length of the runs, the speed of the lifts, the snowmaking, the terrain parks, the nightlife, the sense of community.

Where Whistler has 7,071 acres of skiable terrain, Sun Peaks has jut under 3,500. Where Whistler has 33 lifts, Sun Peaks has 10. Where Whistler has more than 200 marked runs, Sun Peaks has 114. Where Whistler has tons of bars, nightclubs and apres joints, Sun Peaks has MacDaddies and not much else.

You get my point. I don’t need to provide a long list of Whistler’s attributes and Sun Peaks’ supposed shortfalls to convince anyone. Besides, we already know that we’re number one by a long shot.

But of all the things that Whistler has to offer, there are some things where Sun Peaks has it beaten hands down. And it was only after this trip that I truly understood what it means to be a victim of your own success.

Let’s take our frazzled liftie for example. At some lifts in Sun Peaks, lineups are simply unheard of. Lifties and locals alike expect to be able to ski to the bottom of the run and just keep gliding till the green line where they sit down.

There’s no waiting around. There’s no merging with clueless tourists. There’s no chairlift rage. It's just non-stop sailing. It’s amazing how many runs you can ski on any given day when you’re not standing around twiddling your thumbs in a lift line.

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