We planned on an afternoon of skiing at Sunshine Village, one of the largest ski resorts in Canada. It is located just 15 minutes from Banff, going west on the TransCanada Highway. Sunshine Village is a pretty historic place and as a sk resort it dates all the way back to 1936.
A snowy welcome at Sunshine Village
With over 3,300 acres of skiable terrain Sunshine Village is one of the largest ski resorts in Canada. The top elevation is 8,954 feet (2730 m) and the base elevation is 3,514 feet (1070 m). It receives a huge amount of natural snowfall: up to 33 feet or 9 m. Skiing usually lasts from mid November all the way to late May.
This resort straddles the Continental Divide and some of the runs are in Alberta and some in British Columbia. 107 runs spread out over 3 mountains (Goat’s Eye Mountain, Lookout Mountain and Mt. Standish). The whole area is serviced by a high-speed 8 passenger gondola that whisks you from the parking lot up to the main village. In addition, there are also 5 high-speed quad chairs, 2 quads, 1 triple, and 1 double chair and 2 magic carpets.
The 8-passenger high-speed gondola
Sunshine Village also offers extreme terrain for really expert skiers. Delirium Dive is an expert ski area that requires special safety equipment and precautions such as being equipped with an avalanche transceiver, a shovel and having at least one other person with you. Goat’s Eye Mountain offers a number of highly challenging double-black diamond runs that should be mastered before you even consider venturing into this area.
Sunshine Village (altitude: 7082 feet or 2160 m)
At our level we decided to stick to the blue runs, which on this snowy day with lots of accumulated snow were plenty challenging enough for us. Every trail had turned into a mogul run, with all the extra piles of snow that had been carved into bumps by the other skiers. It was basically snowing the whole day with the sun peaking through in between the snow flakes. The night before 10 cm of fresh snow had fallen, and during the day several more centimeters got added. All the extra snow made this a really great workout, and we had to work really hard to push the white powdery stuff around.
The sun peaks through….