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Building Community at Sun Peaks Resort

Going Full Terwiel in Interior British Columbia

“Hi, Mom!” Elli Terwiel calls out.

Her mom, Anne, doesn’t see her. Anne’s too busy skiing. Fast. It’s readily apparent where Elli, a 2014 Sochi Olympian in Slalom, got her pedigree. Both Anne and Elli’s dad, George, are avid Masters racers and ski instructors at Sun Peaks Resort, BC.

We’re on the side of a wide-open, perfectly-groomed run at Sun Peaks. Bellingham, WA local Jake Little and Treylin Steel from Crystal Mountain, WA, are lining up a roller. It’s nearing lunchtime on a midweek day in the southern interior of BC, and we’re getting the full Terwiel treatment.

Elli Terwiel showing Jake Little and Treylin Steel her favorite lines pre-dawn on our first day at Sun Peaks Resort, BC.

Treylin Steel in deep on Day 1.

Elli Terwiel, on piste and at speed as usual.

“I guess Mom was having too much fun,” Elli says with a smile. Seems she’s always smiling. Indeed, she’s got a lot to be happy about, having been raised at this resort with a deep connection to racing and plenty of room to let ‘em run down sprawling, uncrowded terrain.

Jake, Treylin, myself and filmer Colby Mesick pulled in the night prior. It was about a five-hour drive for us from Bellingham at mostly highway speeds—mellow enough for a weekend jaunt. But we’re staying five days. Might as well, because Treylin gets five days free with her Ikon Pass. And we’re making the most of it.

Jake Little amongst the snow ghosts in Gil’s.

Elli Terwiel enjoyed picking the freeskier’s brains regarding how to make a stylish powder turn. With an elite racing background and an engineer’s analytical approach, she was a quick study.

Jake Little, sunset slash near Top Of The World.

We rose early on this first day to get the local’s tour of the mountain from Elli and her brother Justin, also a skilled skier and former racer. Justin still lives in nearby Kamloops, while Elli, who earned a college scholarship on the back of her ski racing, since moved to the Bay Area with an engineering degree to work on sustainable architecture. Still, this is home, and she spends a good part of the winter here. Their dad George runs the Lone Wolf Gallery in the quaint village stroll, alongside the groomed ski run rolling through the center of it all. Later, we’ll lunch in the village, in a busy little sandwich shop and café next to the Lone Wolf. For now, we’re seeking turns.

Jake launches deep off the roller, then we burn to the bottom and reload the Sunburst Express. It takes about 15 minutes to travel the 2,894 vertical feet to the Top Of The World via the Sunburst and Crystal chairs, transitioning from dozens of wide, fall-line groomers to well-spaced snow ghosts and 360-degree views of the rolling hills below. Across the valley lies the Sundance Chair, a big and well-laid-out terrain park, the Nancy Green International Race Centre where Elli coaches young skiers, and Mt. Morrisey, home to some of the resort’s steeper runs. Plenty of ski-in, ski-out accommodations are interlaced in the 4,270 acres of skiable terrain. Indeed, Sun Peaks is the second-largest ski area in Canada. Yet it still maintains a certain communal charm—a perfect place for families in search of a low-key getaway largely devoid of crowds. The bulk of the runs are intermediate friendly with a few gladed sections that are an ideal intro to tree skiing. But up in the two alpine bowls you’ll find steeps, an air or two, and some spicy moments if you know where to look.

On piste or off, the Terwiels rip. Elli chases Justin at full speed, like they’ve been doing since they were kids.

Nancy Greene Raine and Justin Terwiel share a laugh then share some turns with the rest of the crew.

Treylin Steel through the snow ghosts near Top Of The World.

Thankfully, we have the Terwiels to show us where to go. Elli traverses towards 7,060-foot Mt. Tod. A short hike along a cat track leads to a gladed ridgeline. Below us, plenty of untracked snow. And it’ll be the same for the coming week, as we move through wintry conditions and a day of cold, January sunshine. We’ll ski with Nancy Greene Raine, the Canadian Female Athlete of The Century and two-time Olympic medalist, who still loves a good side hit and telling a good chairlift yarn at the age of 79. We’ll eat sushi in the village and ski from opening till closing, reveling in the quiet camaraderie of this hidden gem of BC’s southern interior.

Until, that is, we’ll try to follow the Terwiels, chasing each other down these runs like they have since they were kids. Then it’s full-speed and full volume. We’ll call it “full Terwiel”—a pure expression of Sun Peaks stoke that will keep any crew pointed downhill and loving every minute of it.

Elli Terwiel, Treylin Steel and Jake Little chasing last light to the bottom of “Munro Ridge” and the Burfield Base Area.


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