SUN PEAKS, B.C. — Sun Peaks is already world renowned for its snowboarding and skiing, and now the resort is hoping to add ice skating to that list.
Local dignitaries laced up their skates and took to the ice to celebrate the official grand opening of Sun Peak's brand new outdoor rink Friday.
"I haven't had my skates on for at least a decade, so we'll do a few laps around there, hopefully stay on my feet," said Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake. "But, you know this is just a great amenity for this community, for tourists, obviously, but for the community itself. I know they've got a rec hockey league that plays up here once a week, and obviously lots of visitors taking advantage of it."
The NHL-sized ice rink has been three years in the making. Try as they might, the Resort Municipality of Sun Peaks wouldn't have been able to do it on their own.
"The Province was kind enough to give us $400,000 from the Community Recreation Fund," said Sun Peaks Mayor Al Raine, "and then we used some of our RMI (Resort Municipality Initiative) funding, and the community put in $500,000, and we had help from the TNRD, we had help from the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust, and help from the federal government through the Canada 150 fund."
While the refrigeration unit isn't up and running just yet for the rink, the ice has been open to users since the end of December.
"Certainly, we're a little ahead of our forecast for people skating, so it's just been very rewarding for everyone," Raine said.
Tourists already flock to Sun Peaks to enjoy the slopes every winter. Now, there's something different for visitors to try.
"One of the things that we're seeing happening is that we're getting a lot more people who are coming to the resort for a winter experience, not just a ski experience," said Tourism Sun Peaks President and CEO Arlene Schieven. "So, over the course of the holidays lots of people were going out cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing, and this just provides one more option for all of our visitors to have another winter activity."
The new ice surface also has potential to bring different events to town.
"It's different," Raine said, "there's not many places today where you can skate on refrigerated ice outdoors. So, there are definitely teams that are interested in doing tournaments. I can certainly see kids tournaments, old-timers tournaments, as well as just for our own community."
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