The plane touches down and I look out the window at the snow capped mountains behind us. It has taken upwards of 18 hours to get to Kamloops, the gateway to British Columbia’s second-largest ski resort, Sun Peaks.
When I left Sydney it was 28 degrees and sunny. In Kamloops, it’s grizzly and cold. Really cold, like Sydney never gets. I think the pilot said -2.
Before we get off the plane, I have a moment of doubt and zip my jacket right up to my chin. But the temperature shock is temporary, turns out I’m plenty warm enough.
I grab my bag and head for the shuttle that takes us to Sun Peaks. It winds up the mountain past a frozen lake – the first one I’ve ever seen. As we get higher, snow begins to fall. Thick, heavy snow unlike anything I’ve seen outside of that one time my plane landed in a blizzard in New York.
It occurs to me briefly that skiing in Canada may be a vastly different proposition to skiing at home (something I haven’t done since I was a teenager).
We pull up outside the Coast Sundance Lodge and I head for my room, where I am greeted by the simultaneously amazing and terrifying view of a relatively steep mountain covered in snow.
This place is right at the heart of the village, an easy walk (or ski) to the major chair lifts and all the action (on and off the slopes).
My first morning out on the slopes I’ve chosen to get a lesson, because I am pretty rusty. My ski instructor Meg assesses me in a couple of quick sweeps down the gentlest run on the mountain (it’s called Gentle Giant) and then she decides I can ascend, and try something bigger.
I am overwhelmed pretty quickly by just how beautiful Sun Peaks is.
Look at it.
It is freaking gorgeous.
I still have to get down the mountain though, which proves more challenging than I first thought. As I gingerly snow-plow along, a bevy of six-year-olds with no ski poles sail past, laughing.
I’m not bitter, I swear.
I bite the bullet and force myself to focus. “You’ve got this,” I whisper to myself and attempt to let go and stop worrying so much about stacking it.
There are a few things more satisfying than making down a longer ski run than anything I’ve seen before without falling over, and under Meg’s watchful, patient eye I manage it.