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Powder Highway: Sunshine Village, Alberta

Written by Fiona

July 21 2019

I visited Sunshine Village as part of a ski-drive tour of the Powder Highway in Canada. Sunshine is part of the SkiBig3.

Benefits of being part of the SkiBig3 include:

  • Complimentary shuttle service from Banff & Lake Louise hotels
  • Free Hot Springs and Whyte Museum admission with a 3+ day SkiBig3 ticket
Transport up the mountain to the resort.
Powder skiing at Sunshine. Credit: Reuben Krabbe
Sublime views. Credit: Reuben Krabbe

Sunshine Village stats, pros & cons

Our first experience of skiing in Canada.

Sunshine Village stats:

  • Top: 2730m 
  • Base: 1658m
  • Drop 1070m
  • Area: 13.6km2
  • Number of runs: 137
  • Green: 20%
  • Blue: 55%
  • Black diamond combined (expert): 25%
  • Double Diamond: 7% 
  • Longest run is 8km/5 miles
  • 9 uplifts: 6 high speed quads, 2 quads, 1 heated speed quad and 1 High speed 8 Passenger Gondola
  • Average annual snowfall: 9.14m
  • Snow making?: Proudly not. “No need.”
Great hotel.
Fab breakfast.

Pros of Sunshine Village

Powder and trees at Sunshine. Credit: Reuben Krabbe
  • Only ski-in, ski-out hotel of the Banff National Park
  • High resort with lots of snow
  • They are proud that they do not make snow (don’t need to)
  • Speedy chairlifts (no chairlift takes more than 4.58 mins)
  •  TeePee Town LX, Canada’s only heated , bubble high speed quad chair
  • If you like steeps there’s Ski Delirium Dive with 2,000ft vertical descent. It’s one of steepest runs in the world.
  • Lift-accessed hotel
  • Ski to the door
  • Family resort
  • Set on the continental divide allows skiing in two provinces

Cons of Sunshine Village

  • It’s high, so it can be very cold (but this is the same as many Canadian and American resorts)
  • You need full face cover on some days and good gloves.
  • Fewer slopes for beginners and experts (this is an intermediate skiers resort)

See Banff Sunshine 

Waking up to this…
Sunshine Village steeps. Credit: Reuben Krabbe
Beautiful Lake Louise.

What we discovered about Sunshine Village

  • Breath-taking Rockies scenery, which feels very alpine compared to America.
  • No vehicles other than the tracked taxi or skidoos
  • Food at hotel mid-priced but really good (enjoyed an excellent Alberta steak)
  • Lifts are very fast… but they need to be because it’s cold
  • The snow is light and powdery – and wonderfully flattering
  • Enjoyed short steeps with safe run outs as a great warm up for our holiday
  • Delirium was restricted but looked terrifying (one day we will do this!)
  • Loads of steep bumps to ski which were soft and grippy so lot of fun
  • Super friendly and laidback atmosphere
  • Loads of Australians
  • -20 plus wind chill so frostbite risk was real threat
  • Small snow park and kids runs
  • It is easy to ski this resort in a day although two or three days would be good, too.
  • Close enough to visit famous Lake Louise.

Also read: Powder Highway: Lake Louise.

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