Banff Sunshine Village Revisited (Part 2)

Gem at Banff National Park, Alberta

On 14th March 2022 after a sixteen-hour long drive through 917 miles (1,476 kms.) of Trans-Canada West from Winnipeg, Manitoba, with several stops for fuel to both our van and bodies, we, myself and my wife Lita, our son Jimmy and wife Amy, our grandson Jason & girlfriend Jhonna, ended up for a 3-night stay at the Tunnel Mountain Resort for a family alpine skiing holiday. For this year we choose Banff Sunshine Village. We’re no strangers to this resort having been here twice, in 1995 and 2012.

Waking up early the next morning, each of us fully charged, warmly attired with ski pants and jacket, snow google, ski gloves, and other essential downhill ski paraphernalia, we headed early to the slopes so we could have a parking spot close to the gondola at the main base of the resort.

Standing high in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, the Banff Sunshine Village Ski Resort, consisting of three sprawling mountains of diverse terrains , Mt. Standish, Lookout Mountain and Goat’s Eye Mountain, is famous for the best snow in Canada. Because of its high altitude , 7,200 feet high on the Continental Divide, Sunshine Village has the longest non-glacial ski season in the country, stretching from early November until spring skiing in May. Here you’ll find terrains, ranging from the easy greens to the most difficult double blacks, for the whole family to savour and enjoy. The resort’s 3300 acres of 134 skiable terrains are served by twelve chairlifts, including nine superlifts (Great Divide Express, Angel Express, Teepee Town LX, Standish Express, Goat’s Eye Express, Strawberry X, Wolverine X, Wawa Quad, and Jackrabbit), a magic carpet for learners, and a high speed gondola . The 8-passenger gondola experience from the base to the ski village area takes approximately 15 minutes and can transport 2800 guests up the mountain per hour at full capacity, The ride in itself with the winter views of the Canadian Rockies is already a part of the fun of a day at the Banff Sunshine Village.

Gem & Lita with Omar’s family at Sunshine Village

Reaching the Village on top, look for your ski rack spots, put on your ski boots and take a ride on any of the lifts, and at the same time enjoy the 360 degrees of jaw-dropping panoramic mountain view as you glide along the slopes. We always prefer the Standish Express, the Angel Express and the Wawa Quad.

Standish Express, 4pers high-speed chairlift, is a favourite of skiers for all levels and snowboarders due to its unique mountain terrain. The Angel Express, also a 4pers high-speed chairlift, is the oldest lift at Sunshine but in no way does it feel like an old life; it’s in great shape. At Wawa Quad you get some of the best views of the Rocky Mountains!

Sunshine Village is the home of Canada’s first and only heated ski chairlift, called TeePee Town LX, built in 2014. In addition to heated seats, TeePee Town protects skiers from the wind with an orange cover and lets riders rest their legs on the foot rests. Really quite cool!

After a half-day of skiing we grab our lunch meal at the Alpine Grill located on the 2nd floor of the Lookout Lodge.

We have one day off for sightseeing in the cozy resort mountain town of Banff, said to be the highest elevated town in Canada, sitting at almost 1400 meters above sea level. A leisurely stroll at its main thoroughfare, Banff Avenue, which is home to boutiques and souvenir shops, bars and restaurants mixed with chateau-style hotels, art galleries and museums, gets you seemingly closer to the rugged snow-capped mountain peaks of Mt. Rundle and Mt. Cascade that dominate the town’s skyline. At #120 of the avenue, called Beaver Tails, we feast on its hot delicious crispy yet fluffy sugary treat called maple crunch, so yummy with toppings like hazel nut spread. Worth a visit is the world-famous Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, standing as a landmark in the picturesque alpine town of Banff. Built in 1888, the hotel with 757 guest rooms and suites, has been providing legendary hospitality for more than 130 years.

Banff Sunshine Village is worth the long trip.

Trivia: ST. BERNARD of Montjoux (a commune in southeastern France) is the Patron Saint of skiers.