Sun Peaks: The story of Gil’s Hill

Over 50 years ago, a few pioneering souls eyed a snowy peak from the bottom of Whitecroft valley

Over 50 years ago, a few pioneering souls eyed a snowy peak from the bottom of Whitecroft valley.

Climbing to the snowline on horseback, they camped in a sheep herder’s cabin before cresting the northeast ridge of what is now Crystal Bowl in the morning.

They were in search of a mountain to meet their vision and they had found what they were looking for.

The famous dozen founders came together.

One was Gil Marini, an avid skier and construction entrepreneur whose resourcefulness took a lead role and whose name lives on here.

Thanks to them, Tod Mountain would become a rough and tumble ski hill and at the time home to the longest chairlift in North America.

Little could those gentlemen know they were building the foundation of Sun Peaks Resort, a four season resort community that would come to annually host hundreds of thousands of North American and international guests and become one of the premier ski experiences on the continent.

Over the years, Sundance and Morrisey mountains were incorporated. And now, it’s with that same explorers’ spirit that Sun Peaks Resort is continuing to redefine its boundaries today.

This year will see the opening of over 500 acres of new terrain, including the area locally known as Gil’s Hill on the upper reaches of Tod Mountain, which has offered deep, backcountry turns for skiers and riders ever since Gil laid down that first set of tracks.

This addition now makes Sun Peaks the second largest ski area in Canada – a long way from the lonely peak those men first encountered, but still steeped in their heritage and full of  the same energy that comes with knowing you’ve found something truly special.

For decades, people cut from the same cloth as Gil have sought out these mountains to ski, to visit and to live.

His sense of adventure remains here and is palpable on even the shortest visit. And like Gil, Sun Peaks’ residents want to share their mountain with you. Ask a local this winter and they’ll lead you down their favourite Gil’s Hill line.