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Sunshine Village

The highest and the snowiest of the resorts in Banff’s Big 3, Sunshine is also the only Banff resort with slopeside accommodation. This and its world-renowned off-piste means it attracts more serious skiers. But in other respects it’s just like its neighbours, with the kind of stirring scenery and remote woodlands that will leave you at a loss for words.

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

At a glance: • Snowsure • Banff ski resort • Gorgeous natural setting

Great for: • Experts • Families • Off-piste

The highest and the snowiest of the resorts in Banff’s Big 3, Sunshine is also the only Banff resort with slopeside accommodation. This and its world-renowned off-piste means it attracts more serious skiers. But in other respects it’s just like its neighbours, with the kind of stirring scenery and remote woodlands that will leave you at a loss for words.

Sunshine Village Resort

Opening its doors in 1934, Sunshine Village is officially one of the oldest ski resorts in North America, and some of its buildings even date back that far. Despite its venerable old age, they’ve clearly embraced the modern era here - having the first Canadian high-speed quad with heated seats and bubbles (a 2015 addition).

It’s one of three resorts in Banff’s Big 3 Ski area (alongside Lake Louise and Norquay), and takes the prize as the snowiest of the lot. It averages 360 inches of the white stuff a season and is known for its superbly “grippy” snow on the piste.

Varied and interesting, the skiing covers three separate mountains, Mt. Standish, Goat’s Eye and Look Out Mountain, offering terrain that faces all points on the compass. While runs favour the intermediate and advanced, the solitude of the resort – by European standards, at any rate - and the grippiness of the snow lends itself to those just starting out.

Named one of the top 10 off-piste areas in the world, Delirium Dive is another of this resort’s big draws. You need an avalanche transceiver just to access it (through snazzy electronic gates).

Another catch - this is the only resort in the Banff National Park to offer ski-in ski out accommodation. The Sunshine Mountain Lodge and a handful of rustic-style restaurants and shops are pretty much the extent of the amenities here, but this can be a big plus if remote woodlands and stunning scenery are your vibe.

Meanwhile, if the thought of an early night leaves you shuddering, pitching camp in nearby Banff town will mean access to as many bars and hotels as you could wish for. The shuttle to Sunshine is free on a Tri-Area pass, takes just 15 minutes and passes some of the most stunning mountain scenes you’ll ever set eyes on.

Stats & FAQ

Location: Alberta, Canada

Established: 1934

Open: November - May

Downhill: 115 runs, 78km

View our detailed Sunshine Village snow forecast or snow report and see all live webcams, piste maps, road and travel maps and lift pass prices. For a picture of historic snow conditions see the snow depths month by month with our Sunshine Village snow history.

Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
Calgary International Airport (YYC)160km, 2 hours
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 15%

  • 37%

  • 47%

Top Altitude:2730m
Bottom Altitude:1658m
Resort Altitude:1658m
Longest run:8km
Slope Orientation:
Vertical Drop:
Skiable Vertical:1070.8m
Night Skiing:No
Glacier:No

Snow Report

  • Top
  • 3cm
  • Base
  • 69cm
  • Forecast
  • 69cm

Web Cam

Sunshine Village web cams
Downhill Runs:115 runs, 78km
Beginner slopes:15%
Intermediate:37%
Advanced slopes:47%
Lift Pass Price: $99 (adult pass per day)
Nearby resorts: Lake Louise, Banff

Skiing/BoardingSkiing in Sunshine Village

With a mix of quiet beginner slopes, terrain above the tree-line for intermediates and strong expert offerings, Sunshine Village is a good all-rounder of a resort. Throw in backcountry such as 'Wawa Ridge' and freeride zones like Delirium’s Dive and it earns international attention.

Yes, only 15% of the runs here are beginner friendly, but in the early days, mile on mile of terrain is not what’s needed. Brush up on the runs around the Mighty Might Carpet, before moving on to the Strawberry Express quad for the most popular greens, Dell Valley and Rock Isle Road. Most of the speedsters leave this area in peace, so you’re left to learn without being cut up on the piste.

With plenty of intermediate trails from the towering peaks of both the Lookout and Goat’s Eye Mountains, skiers can schuss beside the black diamond runs with the same far-reaching views out above the tree-line. Tin Can Alley is our favourite blue, with unbeatable views of Goats Eye when the weather’s good.

“Extreme areas” Delirium Dive and Wild West tend to hog the spotlight, known to have hosted some of the ski elite’s “best powder days ever”. The park authorities here are serious about their avalanche-risks and you may arrive to find these closed. Fortunately, there are still plenty of sheer double black diamonds from Goat’s Eye to test your skills on.

See if the resort still offers free daily guided tours with their SnowHosts, who’ll point out the best places to go and let you in on some of Sunshine’s secrets.

Sunshine Village Apres Ski

Sure, Sunshine Village is far from overrun with bars and restaurants but the food is of quality and the liquor cabinets are well-stocked. Depending on what you’re looking for, Chimney Corner Lounge is the place for a fireside fondue, while the Eagle’s Nest was voted one of the Food Network’s Top 10 Ski Resort Restaurants in Canada.

The very first Sunshine building back in the 1930’s is today the Old Sunshine Lodge, where the Mad Trapper’s Saloon makes sure the guests at Banff area’s only ski-out hotel have somewhere to party. This keeps the lights on till midnight serving warm cocktails like Reindeer Games (Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, Butterscotch Liqueur and Hot Chocolate - scrummy).

For proper après action, however, it’s all about Banff town a 20-minute bus ride away. On loud and proud Banff Avenue, evenings start off in the pubs and restaurants (there are over 60 of them), and - for the movers and shakers – tend to end the Dancing Sasquatch, a lodge-themed nightclub that’s been described as a “savage party palace”. If you’re staying in town, a dip in the hot springs will see you back to health, and there are plenty more activities like art galleries and museums, shops and sleigh rides when you’re well again.

Best time to go

Best time to ski Sunshine Village

When is the best time to ski Sunshine Village?

Temperatures of -20°C are not uncommon on the slopes, so if you’re susceptible to the chill, hold out for a trip later in the season. In March and April, temperatures rise to above the minuses and the snow usually shows no signs of flagging, making this a great time to ski.

Despite its name, Sunshine really isn’t regularly drenched in sunlight – fantastic news, as it means snow’s kept in tip-top condition for ages after a dump. The season here often runs well into May (one of the few resorts to last this long without a glacier).

The snow record tends to see fairly even coverage month by month, so any time in the season’s likely to have a good layer. Thanks to an altitude of 7200ft, this resort can receive up to 9m of the stuff in a season – and all of it the kind of blissful champagne powder so dry its actually hard to make snowballs with.

Peak Dates

With everything from treasure hunts and parades to skiing with Santa Christmas in Sunshine Village will be a hard one to top.

Snuggle up warm at the Mountain Lodge for a heartwarming New Year in Sunshine Village, or go big with the street parties and galas down in Banff.

While Canada’s a little further afield than Austria or France, when lift lines are this few and runs this peaceful, you’ll agree a Half Term in Sunshine Village was well worth the trip.

Traditionally the Easter bunny puts in an appearance at Easter in Sunshine Village, hiding chocolate eggs around the mountain.

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Families in Sunshine Village

With a variety of runs and the remote, relaxed feel of the resort, a trip to Sunshine has all the makings of a restorative family break. If your young ones are seasoned skiers, book them in for a full or half day with the talented instructors at the Kids Kampus ski school. Or if they’re too young to ski, Tiny Tigers Day Care will ensure everyone’s having fun.

The Mountain Lodge here specializes in low-key activities that keep the fun going, with an activity room (where we spotted bubble hockey, a pool table and Wii console), film screenings and frequent transformation of the surrounding trails into night-time toboggan runs.

Down in Banff, the possibilities are livelier and more extensive. Many of the area's accommodations have special child-friendly features and facilities. Though this involves a short commute to Sunshine, the kids won’t fail to be won over by activities like dog sledding, snowmobiling, sleigh rides and ice hockey down in the historic town.

GroupsGroup Holidays Sunshine Village

Sunshine Village’s varied, snowsure terrain is just the ticket for a mixed ability ski group, with descents like Delirium Dive for plenty of bragging rights at close of day.

Rolling out the welcome for groups, the resort has previously set up private fire pits and S’mores on request, and hosted customized races to bring out a little friendly competition.

If there are party animals or food fans among you, set your sights on the accommodation in Banff for a selection of over 60 different restaurants and oodles of ski bars.

More Sunshine Village Holiday Resources


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