Discovering Sun Peaks: A Legendary Bike Park.

Big Risk Equals Big Reward, Right?  

I was not raised to embody the “big risk equals big reward” mindset, but it’s a way of living I’ve adopted as I’ve aged– for better or for worse (depends on who you ask). Over the course of my early 20’s, I embarked on a turbulent journey of trial and error, testing the reliability of this philosophy, however frivolous the “testing” might’ve been. It’s worked both in my favour and against me. Each time it’s worked in my favour, I’ve experienced richness I wouldn’t have without the risk and stacked another brick on the stature of my self-trust. Each time it’s worked against me, I uncovered lessons that were crucial to the journey and laughed at my misguided mistakes.

This philosophy goes alongside my foremost agenda of “figure out what makes me happy and just do it.”

One risk led me across Canada, 7 000 kilometers away from my network of friends, my family, and my home near the ocean. I left the people, life, and culture that was familiar to me for a community I had no idea how to be a part of and a life among mountains I had no idea how to live. The reward: the life I wanted to live (in Sun Peaks, British Columbia).

This summer, I translated “big risk equals big reward” to mountain biking in the Sun Peaks Bike Park. Here’s what I learned:

  • Always evaluate the risk and determine the impact of the reward.
  • The reward does not always balance the risk.
  • If the risk is riding a trail you’re not ready for and the reward is your own satisfaction or a fist bump, you’ll probably discover what it feels like to go OTB (over the handlebars).
  • “I’m just going to send it,” isn’t viable reasoning for a risk on your bike.
  • Lastly, the voice of your risk will often be your ego telling you you’re better than you are, don’t listen to it.

Sweat, Callouses, and Fatigue.

Late July sun melts over the soft, inviting mountains that encircle Sun Peaks. It trickles through thick greenery lining the trail beneath my bike and dyes the air gold. Laughing and eccentric chaos fill the plumes of golden air. I narrow my field of vision so the only thing within it is the soil laden surface of my favourite flow trail, Stella Blue. Mindfully inhaling and exhaling, I breathe with the smooth transition of each jump and berm. Clouds of earthy dust gather in my wake, a layer of buttery sunshine spreads over my goggles, and I gulp down traces of wildflowers in the air. The world feels suspended in a moment – the kind I’ve been chasing for my whole life, but never knew how to create. Turns out I needed to buy a bike and ride the Sun Peaks Bike Park.

Pools of sweat soak the inner padding of my helmet, my calloused hands are cramping with fatigue. If you’ve never biked before, I’m sure it all sounds exhausting and intimidating, and honestly it is; but I’ve never felt so close to flying. Once the fear dissolves, the stoke of feeling weightless takes over and you question why you didn’t start biking sooner.

“In Sun Peaks, We’re Passionate About Mountain Biking.”

North of 20 years ago, Sun Peaks OGs and core mountain bikers initiated the beginnings of a legendary bike park. Scraping trails into Tod Mountain by hand, they didn’t realize they were foraging the path to a world-class downhill biking experience.

In its beginning era, the bike park reflected the heart and soul of what mountain biking was at the time – gnarly and rowdy. Legendary trails like Steam Shovel, Gnar-Boom, and Insanity One are notoriously known in Sun Peaks for their calibre of difficulty and are trails that attract riders who push their limits. Years unfolded and with each one, the Sun Peaks Bike Park evolved. In the time leading up to this summer, the bike park experienced significant growth and the approach became “come one, come all.” The staff and riders behind each chapter of the bike park’s development were fueled by their insatiable passion for riding. They laid blueprints and dug trails with a vision to elevate riding and make Sun Peaks the best place to do it.

Fast forward to June, 2022. The Sun Peaks Bike Park is now “built for progression” and the diversity of terrain is dialed for both beginners and pros. After a $1.5M investment, the bike park expanded onto an entirely separate mountain, opened a second summer chairlift, and added 19 kilometers of new downhill terrain.

Riders now have the freedom to explore all three mountains in Sun Peaks on their bikes. As I rode the new trails on Sundance Mountain this summer, it was common to overhear remarks like, “That was the best blue flow trail I’ve ever ridden” (referencing the oh so magnificent Stella Blue).

The Risk That Wasn’t a Risk at All.

The ambiguity of the unknown is unsettling; it is for me at least. As much as I seek spontaneity, I struggle with lack of structure and the element of not knowing. Prior to moving to Sun Peaks, there was little about my life that was unpredictable. I worked, went to the same local pubs, and consistently saw the same people. Leaving that predictability behind for something so foreign felt like a significant risk. Now, I watch the sun sink behind the mountains after a day in the bike park. I ride the chairlift to embark on an alpine hike after work. I’ve discovered skills and passions etched into mountain culture that have become integral to my quality of life. I’ve experienced the support of community. The “big risk” of moving to Sun Peaks, wasn’t really a risk at all – it brought to light a piece of my identity that I didn’t know I was missing. No matter where I go, a fraction of my heart will always lay among the soil on Stella Blue in the Sun Peaks Bike Park.



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