Sunshine Village

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Foxboro Marmot on April 2, 2002

First, "Sunshine Village" was a misnomer for us, a name dreamed up by a wistful PR director perhaps?

Sunshine suffers by having a single lift, an 8 person gondola, to take people away from the base - which can mean lines early in the day. The base is protected, down in a valley with plenty of trees, but 25 minutes later, unloading at the top, things can be considerably different. Most of the lift system takes you from the top of the gondola up into a big un-treed bowl. This must be great in the spring, but on a cloudy day, there's no visual clue to the terrain. Add in some snow and you may not be able to tell which end is up.

Two lifts below the gondola unloading station serve tree bounded, weather protected runs ideal for beginners and low intermediates. Also below gondola unloading, Goats Eye and Teepee Town lifts serve high intermediate to expert terrain. Trails here start above tree line but become protected half way down. With wind scour above tree line, the snow can turn into bullet-proof hard pack quickly.

There's also a downside at the end of the day. The one trail down involves some trudging, poling and walking, especially if there's been any new snow. It's a beginner trail, which leads to uncomfortable situations a good skiers, flying at top speed to minimize poling, conflict with beginners, cruising from side to side hoping to make it down without falling. There are some side loops marked intermediate, but these generally involve one steeper pitch followed by a long flat run out. Best thing to do is just ride the gondola down!

This must be a glorious place to spring ski up in the bowl on a sunny day. Someday, maybe we'll be lucky enough to hit Sunshine on a sunny day.

Sunshine Village
Located just 15 km west of Banff
Banff, Alberta

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