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Olsen: Get rich quick on a girls’ trip to British Columbia

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I’ve always believed in the importance of stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new things, but I was a little nervous while riding my mountain bike at the base of Sun Peaks Mountain. It wasn’t just me. Feeling. I hadn’t ridden a mountain bike in years, and neither had her two adult daughters who were with me before. The best holidays aren’t always relaxing. When we decided to go on a girls’ vacation adventure together, we all wanted to create something new and live a life without limits. It was the first on the list.

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Held at Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops, British Columbia, Women’s Bike Nights are a fun way for female cyclists of all levels to experience the sport of mountain biking and improve their skills. Each bike night has her five professional instructors and participants are divided into groups based on her level of experience and skill. The three of us were put in our own small group with a professional instructor helping us learn the ropes.

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Sun Peaks Progression Park is like Rabbit Hill for skiers. A great place to learn and improve before taking the chairlift to tackle a bigger run.
Sun Peaks Progression Park is like Rabbit Hill for skiers. A great place to learn and improve before taking the chairlift to tackle a bigger run. Photo by Debbie Olsen

Instructor Maria Morgan started by practicing basic mountain biking skills at the base of the mountain. Once she had mastered the technique, she climbed the magic carpet and progressed to her park. Progression Park is Bunny Hill for Mountain Her Bikers. “She loves teaching people who are just starting out in sports,” she said. “Seeing people progress and improve is my favorite part of being an instructor.”

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We went up and down the hill a few times during our lesson, and although my daughters were much better than me, we are all getting used to the sport. After receiving drink tickets, all the women gathered at a local restaurant for a drink. The sense of camaraderie among the participants was wonderful, and we were very welcomed as visitors who stopped by. “Women’s Bike Night really opened up the sport to the women in our community,” said local Delina Her Albrow, who attends regularly. “I had never tried mountain biking before coming here, but I think I enjoy it more than skis and boards now,” she says.

Mountain biking can be intimidating if you’ve never tried it before. Having great instructors and a well laid out mountain bike park with terrain for all levels of bikers helped us learn faster. Interacting made us feel confident and empowered. This can be used whether you are on your bike or not.

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If you go:

The Sun Peaks mountain bike park will be expanded for $1.5 million in 2022, and the resort now offers mountain bike trails on three peaks. There are advanced, intermediate, beginner and beginner courses and progression parks. The summer lift operates from mid-June to late September. Onsite equipment rentals, lodging, restaurants and shops are on the mountain. Women’s Bike Night is held every year in July and he in August. For more information on Sun Peaks Resort, please visit www.sunpeaksresort.com.

Besides biking, the region offers many unique summer adventures.

For the first hour, I had Lake McGillivray all to myself. It's a kayaking and paddleboarding paradise.
For the first hour, I had Lake McGillivray all to myself. It’s a kayaking and paddleboarding paradise. Photo by Debbie Olsen

paddle boarding and kayaking

About 15 minutes from the resort, McGillivray Lake is a beautiful mountain lake with paddleboard and kayak rentals. We paddle boarded and kayaked on the lake in the morning, but had his first hour all to ourselves.

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Image of a hiker surrounded by wildflowers at Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada
The wildflowers were amazing when we hiked the Juniper Ridge Loop at Sun Peaks Resort in mid-August.

hiking

The mountains of Sun Peaks have 15 designated hiking trails, ranging from easy walks to challenging summit hikes. We took the Sunburst chairlift at ease and took it halfway up the mountain and hiked from there. We did the Top of the World hike and the Juniper Loop. The scenery and wildflowers in mid-August were amazing.

Image of yoga in the mountains at Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada.
Once you’ve experienced mountain yoga with Kayla Alfred, it’s hard to go back to doing yoga in the studio. Photo by Debbie Olsen

mountain yoga

I met Kayla Alfred, owner of Sun Peaks Yoga, at Women’s Bike Night and decided to add the Yoga on the Mountain experience to my itinerary. After a strenuous hike, we met her at the top of the chairlift and walked to a nearby secluded spot with stunning views. Her motto, “You are perfect, you are enough,” has been as empowering as mountain biking. I didn’t have to worry about getting hurt.

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Biking Myra Canyon near Kelowna is a once-in-a-lifetime ride over 18 trestle bridges and 2 tunnels.
Biking Myra Canyon near Kelowna is a once-in-a-lifetime ride over 18 trestle bridges and 2 tunnels. Photo by Debbie Olsen
Image of two women cycling through rail tunnels in Myra Canyon near Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.
Biking the rail tunnels of Myra Canyon is a scenic trip best done without sunglasses. Photo by Debbie Olsen

Biking Myra Canyon near Kelowna

We stopped in Kelowna on our way home and spent the day biking Myra Canyon on the Kettle Valley Rail Trail. I pre-booked a half-day bike rental from Myra Canyon Bike Rentals and Tours in the Myra Station parking lot. From there, we cycled 12 km on the original rail line, crossing 18 trestle bridges and passing through 2 tunnels. Then we turned around and came back. The view was astonishing. For our last night, we stayed at the Delta Grand He Okanagan Resort on the shores of Okanagan Lake in downtown Kelowna. It was a great ending to the perfect girl getaway adventure.

Debbie Olsen is an award-winning Métis writer and national bestselling author. Follow her at www.wanderwoman.ca.

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Olsen: Get rich quick on a girls’ trip to British Columbia

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