Winter season 2018/2019 will go down in the books. I set out a goal this year, to make up for all the skiing we have missed out on all these years. Not only did I meet this goal but I definitely surpassed it. I am even a much better skier for it too. Practice does indeed make perfect, or as close to perfect as you feel comfortable!
One of the top highlights of the season has definitely been the amount of time we got at Sunshine Village. Armed with a set of season passes we were basically free to come and go as we pleased and just last week caught a chance to stay at the famous Sunshine Mountain Lodge, the lodge situated at the top of the Gondola in the Village itself.
Imagine staying at a ski resort that is completely secluded from the rest of the world… this is so much better than that! You never really think about this but once the lifts close and all the day visitors ski out, you are up there all on your own, there is no way down (or up) and when you walk outside it’s just you and the freshly groomed trails. It’s one of the most incredible experiences we’ve ever had. There is serenity in the complete darkness outside at night, cozying up by the fireplace, and then the excitement of hearing the cats groom the runs in the early hours of the morning. It is so unique it will have you coming back at every opportunity you get. Waking up and being the first ones on the chair lifts is a reward in and of itself.
So what should you expect when you come out to Banff to ski Sunshine? Impeccable runs fit for every skill level, amazing service from staff at the day lodges as well as the hotel, food to put all ski resort food to shame, and the selection to boot, the best views a ski resort has to offer, hot tub at the end of a long day on the slopes, a fireplace waiting for you in your room and memories to last a lifetime. Do you need to rent gear while you are here? You can do that before you even hop on the gondola, and then if you decide half way through the day that you want to try skiing instead of snowboarding or vice versa there is a rental shop in the village that you can utilize as well.
This was our first time staying here overnight and with all the extra time we had we could finally explore the entirety of the resort, it turns out that if you stay in the village alone you are only getting half of the story. I was finally ready to hit Goat’s Eye Mountain (known for only blue and black runs) and quickly found my new favourite run, along with some incredible new perspectives of the mountains and the resort itself. For those looking to get your confidence up on Goat’s Eye start with the Sunshine Coast trail, it’s long so you can get lots of practice, not very steep and one of the widest runs we’ve gone on so you don’t have to worry about other people cramping your style, and even less so if you go mid week!
In just three days we saw more than I have coming here for single day excursions over the entirety of the season. The Sunshine Lodge also offers amazing hot tub soaking opportunities and even hot tub bingo for those wanting to socialize and have some fun after the lifts close. There are three restaurants to choose from after hours as well, including the Mad Trapper’s Smokehouse (pub style food and drink), the Chimney Corner (casual dining with available fireplace seating) and the Eagle’s Nest Canadian Bistro (a more fine dining set up for those looking to try something more upscale).
A note to those who will be visiting Sunshine for the very first time, because the check in experience is a multi step process. The check in begins in the parking lot area of the resort. You drop your luggage off at the hotel service desk to the right side of the main lodge. You are then encouraged to continue on your ski adventure, take the gondola up and hit the slopes immediately upon arrival. If you wish you can continue the check in process at the hotel on top of the gondola. Your bags may not arrive for a few hours so you should come with your gear prepared. The inverse of this happens when you check out at the end of your stay. And who wouldn’t want to utilize an extra full day of skiing if they were given the chance! xoxo