Just for the record: We were truly impressed by this ski area which is located in the Canadian middle of nowhere in the Banff National Park. Far away from the hustle and bustle, visitors of...
- Offering 3356 acres of slopes and terrain, Sunshine Village - Banff National Park is among the 10 largest Ski Resorts in Canada.
- Sunshine Village - Banff National Park is among the 5 best rated Ski Resorts in Canada.
- It is among the 3 most family-friendly ski Resorts in Canada.
- Elevated between 5440 ft and 8957 ft, the Ski Resort is the highest elevated Ski Resorts in Canada. The vertical drop from summit to base is 3517 ft. The average difference in altitude between base and summit of Ski Resorts in Canada is 1148 ft. Most runs are therefore relatively long.
- Season starts on Nov 7 and ends on May 16 (190 days). Average season duration in Canada is 158 days.
- Average snow depth during the season (Nov 7 to May 16) is 58 " at summit elevation and 23 " at base elevation. Snow coverage is usually best during March, offering an average snow depth of 77 " at summit elevation and 24 " at the base. Therefore Sunshine Village - Banff National Park is among the 10 ski Resorts with best snow conditions in Canada.
- Sunshine Village - Banff National Park features 67 sunny days on average per season. The average for all ski Resorts in Canada is 60 sunny days. April is the sunniest month with an average of 15 sunny days.
The Ski Resort
Being Canadas highest ski resort, featuring elevations of up to 9,000 feet implies that you have perfect snow conditions from early November until late May. That is one of the longest ski seasons in the land of Maple Syrup, Moose, and Indian Summer. As it is located in the Banff National Park, which is actually part of a UNESCO World Heritage Side, you can already imagine the beauty of nature at Sunshine Village. The 3,358 acres of skiable terrain split up on three peaks: Goats Eye Mountain, Lockout Mountain and Mount Standish.
Altogether, it offers 107 named runs ranging from beginner to expert, whether it's your first time seeing snow or you consider yourself among the pros. Another plus, you do not have to waste your precious time standing in line for the lifts thanks to the enormous lift capacity that brings 20,000 people per hour up the mountain.
Its family-friendliness and outstanding service is something that almost no other ski resort can hold a candle to. While little ones will enjoy themselves in the ski kindergarten TINY TIGERS, you can go ahead and book a tour by a Snowhost. They will guide you through the resort and show you those parts that fit your skills and interests. Believe it or not, it is totally free of charge!
Perfect for first-time skiers and intermediates alike
Beginners and first-time skiers will appreciate the variety on 18 kilometers (11 miles) of easy runs that are designated as greens. For those not joining a class take the Angel Express chair or the Wolverine chair where you will find one of the best beginner areas on either mountain. Or you head to the runs Dell Valley and Rock Isle Road to find your ski legs. Take the Strawberry chair and head back towards Lower chair to find the Mighty Mite learning zone. Generally spoken, all trails off strawberry chairlift are good to practice first curves.
For Intermediates and those skiers who already gained some knowledge there are 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) of more challenging runs to discover. Wide-open trails leave you with the need to push yourself. Grab the Continental Divide Express that will give you a ride to Lookout Mountain. Here you get to ski in two provinces on one trail.
Serious expert skiing
Sunshine Village takes their expert skiing and riding serious. Strong skiers in search of steeper, ungroomed trails and light powder will find what they are looking for by featuring a total of 69 blacks throughout Sunshine Village. Hard-core skiers know taking the Goat's Eye Express is always a smart move. The double black runs are oriented to the needs of skiers that love to challenge themselves. With pitches of up to 39 degrees the famous Delirium Drive is definitely only on extreme skiers' right, even though you feel thanks to the fantastic snow quality up here that your skills improved miraculously. So if you don't have a ton of experience under your belt it is surely the better choice to steer clear.
One of Sunshine's favorites is the Rogers Terrain Park. To access just grab Continental Drive and head back towards the park or come via run No. 34. Having an expert team that lives local and personally takes care of every day's shaping work, the best quality for the present features and elements is guaranteed. It contains a large variety of rails, kickers, and boxes of all kinds, such as waverides, wallrides, and boardercross. Ten brandnew features were introduced in 2016.
Snow Safety & Snowmaking
On Mountain Dining
Located in the Sunshine Mountain Lodge, The Chimney Corner Fireside Dining is a great place to stop. It presents a ton of cozy wood-burning fireplaces, but also a sports bar where you can catch up on the main sport events on flat screen TVs. They mostly serve typical American fare like burgers, sandwiches, chicken wings, but also have swiss-inspired fondue on their menu. You can come here at any day time, since they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, to relax and indulge in the mountain scenery.
The Java Lift Coffee Bar is also located in the Sunshine Mountain Lodge. It is open daily for lunch and breakfast serving delicious coffee and offering savory and sweet crepes plus all kinds of desserts.
The Mad Trapper’s Smokehouse in the Old Sunshine Mountain Lodge is popular for its applewood-smoked meats and southwestern dishes. Established almost 90 years ago, the walls of the Smokehouse are lined with pictures from years gone by. Another hot spot is The Lookout Kitchen & Bar. Located on the third level of Lookout Lodge, it opens daily for lunch and has gluten-free and vegetarian dining options on offer.
Creekside Bar & Grill right at the base is pretty convenient to pick up a small snack on your way up the mountain. It offers all-day breakfast, delicious thin-crust pizzas and more, while you can listen to live music throughout the season. Check it out for an après-ski drink and snack, and take advantage of happy hour specials. First Tracks Café is always the right place if you are into fresh-pressed paninis, salads, pastries, crepes and Starbucks coffee.
Other alternatives would be Java Express offering fresh pastries and hot drinks, The Alpine Grill with its pizza, pasta, burritos, and traditional grilled items such as burgers, hot dogs and typical American food, as well as The Sunshine Burger Company, which is also offering yummy burgers and fresh salads that goes alongside with the fast lunches at Goat’s Eye Grill offering soups, pizza, sandwiches, and breakfasts for every taste.
The Delirium Drive is a run of a special kind and it definitely is one of the world's top 10 off-piste destinations. You even need to fulfill certain requirements to guarantee your safety. If you consider yourself among expert skiers, it is worthwhile though. The champagne powder up here will make you feel like you are flying. The Wild West run is a rival for the Delirium Drive considering the thrill. Pack your avalanche beacon and shovel and off you go.
Been there, done that? Consider yourself an advanced skier? A favorite way to reach Goat's Eye Mountain from Lookout Mountain is via The Shoulder and Forget-me-not. Look for the entrance at Teepee Town Chair between Towers 5 and 6. This area offers great views, little traffic, and fresh tracks.
Most Difficult Runs
There is so much more to do next to improving your skills on the ski runs. Slip in your snowshoes and enjoy the nature of the Banff National Park. Once the stars come out and the lifts close, grab your snowshoes and stroll through the village before grabbing a steaming mug of hot chocolate at the Chimney Corner Lounge.
You can even book a Sunshine Village Historical Snowshoe and Fondue Tour where you get to listen to stories of European explorers and you will feel like you were part of the Canadian history. You can choose between 3,5 hours and 4,5 hours, but either way cookies and hot chocolate will be provided. The tour ends by having a Swiss-style cheese and vegetable fondue at the Chimney Corner Lounge.
Even if you are not into skiing at all you may consider a gondola only pass that will bring you up to the peaks where you can enjoy the views with a hot beverage in your hand snuggled in a deck chair or you can take walks in the snow. Tobogganing may only be available on select evenings, however, it's a blast for the whole family to hit the runs surrounding the village. Ride down the specially constructed toboggan run on traditional maple wood sleds.
Have your credit cards ready as you walk into the Sunshine Mountain Lodge that will make every skier's heart race faster. Here you can buy all the clothes to impress clothing-wise on the runs. You can also go shopping or check out some fine dining options in the charming town Banff that is just a 15 minute drive from the ski resort. You are ready for the spa after a long day on the slopes? Well, unwind in Banff's largest outdoor hot pool or rejuvenate with yoga practices, hot stone massages, or facial treatments.
Après-Ski and Nightlife
The apres-ski scene in the resort itself pretty much comes down to hanging out with your best friends in a hot whirlpool enjoying a cold beer. Of course you can sit by the fire and enjoy one or the other drink at the Chimney Corner Lounge or you can find the perfect end to your day at the Mad Trapper's, the historic logde at the base station of Strawberry and Standish lifts.
You also do not have to give up on your crazy parties because you can have it all in Banff, the close town, that has a pretty decent nightlife scene. By boasting brewing bars, huge nightclubs, and sophisticated set-ups to come for mixed drinks, it will not disappoint. For example The Bears Den Pub that serves local brews is great for a hangout. The Dancing Sasquatch Nightclub is for those who'd like to rock the dance floor. Divas, a Martini Lounge, is a great example for a more fancy bar, which also features screens to keep up with major Canadian sports events.
Dining and Restaurants
If you are up for some fine dining, head to Eagle's Nest Canadian Bistro in the Sunshine Mountain Lodge. The luxurious restaurant with majestic views of Lookout Mountain has probably the best wine list in the resort and exquisite Canadian-inspired cuisine on offer.
Foodies should schedule a trip to Banff, the options of fine dining are endless. The Banffshire Club gives the feeling that comes with a private club and has the atmosphere of a gentlemen club. The cuisine's origin is French-based, using only regional ingredients. It also takes pride in its wine list and you will find close to 2000 labels on the menu.
Another place where reservations for gourmets are a must is Maple Leaf Grill & Spirits, located on Banff Avenue, which specializes in Canadian cuisine. You get to choose from menus with Alberta Beef, Seafood, Bison and Elk meat.
Only 90 minutes away from Calgary it's easy to get here for winter vacationers. Book your flight ticket to Calgary International Airport and from there you can take a rental car or come by coach. The way is pretty simple since you just have to follow the Trans Canada Highway #1 for most parts.