Sunshine4 out of 5 based on 16 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    88%

Sunshine Village Ski Resort
Sunshine Village Ski Resort
Sunshine Ski Resort offers great scenery
Sunshine Ski Resort offers great scenery
Powder sometimes blows into Delirium Dive
Powder sometimes blows into Delirium Dive
Nice quality snow at Sunshine Village Canada
Nice quality snow at Sunshine Village Canada
Sunshine Ski Resort Gondola
Sunshine Ski Resort Gondola
Goat's Eye Mountain
Goat's Eye Mountain
The mid-mountain "base" of Sunshine Village
The mid-mountain
Taking the easy way into Delirium Dive
Taking the easy way into Delirium Dive
The Shoulder at Sunshine Resort Canada
The Shoulder at Sunshine Resort Canada
Taking in more of the views
Taking in more of the views
The Rockies scenery is pretty impressive
The Rockies scenery is pretty impressive
Sunshine Mountain Lodge is perfectly ski in ski out
Sunshine Mountain Lodge is perfectly ski in ski out
Sunshine Mountain Lodge
Sunshine Mountain Lodge
Sunshine Village Banff
Sunshine Village Banff
Delirium Dive: a signature double black zone
Delirium Dive: a signature double black zone
Goat's Eye Mountain Sunshine
Goat's Eye Mountain Sunshine
Sunshine Mountain Lodge provides a unique stay on-mountain
Sunshine Mountain Lodge provides a unique stay on-mountain
More vistas at Sunshine Ski Resort
More vistas at Sunshine Ski Resort
Powder in Delirium Dive
Powder in Delirium Dive
Sunshine Resort Canada
Sunshine Resort Canada

Sunshine

The Sunshine Ski Resort gives Lake Louise a good run for its money when it comes to the awe inspiring scenery. And Sunshine Village Banff definitely competes very strongly when it comes to a quality skiing or snowboarding experience. The Sunshine Village Ski Resort is potentially the best Banff ski resort because the terrain is impressive and the snow conditions tend to be a little superior to its neighbours.

The Sunshine Resort is a mecca for skiers and snowboarders. There’s plenty for everyone from novices to the most extreme skier, with the latter being able to access some nerve-wracking backcountry-type terrain.

Needless to say, another major drawcard of the Sunshine Ski Resort is the buzz of the nearby town of Banff and the splendour of the Banff National Park. Both Banff and Sunshine Mountain are incredibly popular and thousands and thousands of skiers and snowboarders flock there during winter. It’s not surprising that things can get a little crowded!

Summary of Pros and Cons of Sunshine Ski Resort

Pros
  • Sunshine Village Resort offers magnificent scenery in all directions.
  • It’s a major bonus that Sunshine Village has an on-mountain accommodation option, the Sunshine Mountain Lodge, unlike the other Banff ski resorts.
  • The proximity to the town of Banff and the other two Banff ski resorts is a plus.
  • The terrain is large and diverse, and many of the lifts are fast.
  • The snow quality and quantity tends to be better at Sunshine Village compared to the other Banff ski resorts.
Cons
  • Sunshine Village is popular and due to its proximity to Calgary, it can get very crowded on weekends. Don’t expect freshies in the main areas to last for too long.
  • The terrain has various flat spots that may annoy snowboarders, particularly when there’s fresh snow.
  • The resort doesn’t have that much expert terrain or good tree skiing.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • Like the other Banff ski resorts, it’s often brutally cold. This is awesome for the snow conditions but potentially not so good for your skin.
  • The high elevation of Sunshine also contributes to great snow quality, but the upper parts of the resort are exposed to the weather. Not sure who called it “Sunshine” because low vis days are somewhat common.
  • Staying on-mountain is rather special, but evening activities and dining options are a little limited.

Sunshine Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The Sunshine skiing terrain is awesome in many ways and it’s also pretty extensive. The resort has 3,358 acres (1,358 hectares) of skiable terrain with 115 named runs. It has 12 lifts of which 6 are high-speed quad chairs. The ski resort also has a high speed gondola, although this is primarily just for access between the parking and the ski area. It is possible to ski down to the parking lot giving the statistic of a vertical drop of a massive 1,070 metres, but this stat is somewhat misleading considering that in reality you only take the home trail down at day’s end. 

The “real” ski area is spread out horizontally across three mountains and the runs aren’t particularly long. There can be a lot of traversing, and some of the runs have some flat zones that are snowboarder traps!

The Sunshine Village ski resort terrain has plenty of variety with above and below treeline slopes, groomers, bowls, glades, and drops. The terrain park set up is pretty impressive too.

The trail breakdown is: 20% beginner; 55% intermediate; and 25% advanced/expert. There is more than ample choice for beginners and intermediates, and for advanced and expert skiers or snowboarders, Goats Eye Mountain is particularly fabulous with steeps, corduroy, bumps and gladed runs. If you’ve got appropriate avalanche gear, there are also extreme zones such as Delirium Dive and Wild West, although the latter is closed most of the time.

Sunshine Snow and Weather

The snow quality at Sunshine Village is very impressive, especially relative to the other Banff ski resorts. The temps are often very cold, the elevation is high, and often it’s cloudy, so the snow stays in great condition long after a storm. When it comes to snow quantity, the resort has some savvy marketing at play when citing the statistic for annual snowfall, which is “up to 10 metres” rather than the actual average. In reality Sunshine probably gets about 6-7 metres on average per season, which typically comes from small regular storms rather than chest deep dumps.

Where is Sunshine Ski Resort?

Sunshine Village is located within the Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies, 15km southwest of the town of Banff Canada. It’s an hour and a half west of Calgary by road. The resort base is in the province of Alberta, but some parts of the resort are in British Columbia.

Banff Ski Resorts

Sunshine is close to the other Banff ski resorts of Norquay and Lake Louise ski resort. You can ride the three resorts on a tri-area lift ticket which includes transportation on shuttle buses from the Banff and Lake Louise area.

Lodging

One of the distinct disadvantages of the Banff ski resorts is that you can’t stay on-mountain and have to travel each day to the ski resorts. However Sunshine Village is the exception whereby there is one accommodation option, the Sunshine Mountain Lodge, which is conveniently ski-in ski-out.

Otherwise there are lots of off-mountain accommodation options such as Banff hotels, Lake Louise hotels and lodgings in Canmore. These range from the upscale Fairmont Banff Springs and Chateau Lake Louise, to budget options such as hostels. Of course one advantage of staying off-mountain is that you can keep your options open, and have more flexibility to try out all three of the Banff ski resorts.

Facilities

The ski resort has fairly minimal amenities, but these are more than adequate considering that the majority of visitors are day-trippers. The facilities include several dining options at the base and on-mountain, ski school, a few shops, an equipment rental service, and child care facilities.

If you stay in Banff, there are lots more options for facilities and services, including a vibrant nightlife and a fantastic array of shops to keep you entertained for hours.

Tours That Include Sunshine Resort

Safari (Road Trip) Tours
Pure Powder Adventure DETAILS
FULLY HOSTED & GUIDED SAFARI
9 Days | 9 Nights | 7 Skiing | 4 Resorts
From price based on twin/double-share option.
Base/invoice currency is in CAD ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,620
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
This tour checks out some of Canada's best powder skiing destinations including Sunshine & Lake Louise (Banff, Alberta) and Fernie, Castle Mountain and Kicking Horse in BC. Fixed tour date for mixed group or custom private group.
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Heart & Soul Tour DETAILS
FULLY HOSTED & GUIDED SAFARI
8 Days | 7 Nights | 6 Skiing | 3 Resorts
From price based on twin/double-share option.
Base/invoice currency is in CAD ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,161
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Check out Lake Louise & Sunshine in whilst staying in picturesque Banff, Alberta and then head to BC for the steep & deep at Kicking Horse resort.
More
Champagne Resort Tour DETAILS
FULLY HOSTED & GUIDED SAFARI
8 Days | 7 Nights | 6 Skiing | 3 Resorts
From price based on twin/double-share fixed date tour.
Base/invoice currency is in CAD ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,190
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Check out Lake Louise or Sunshine in whilst staying in picturesque Banff, Alberta and then head to BC for the steep & deep in the Selkirk's at Kicking Horse & Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
More
See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Sunshine here
Heli Skiing Tours
Purcell Day Heli Skiing DETAILS
DAY HELI SKIING NEAR KICKING HORSE
From 5 runs inc powder ski/snowboard rentals
From price based on single day mixed group heli skiing (per person).
Base/invoice currency is in CAD ex 5% GST.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 924
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
If you are heading to Golden or Kicking Horse or even Banff/Lake Louise next winter you can't go past a day or two out with Purcell Helicopter Skiing. Join a group as a solo or small group or pull together your own private group for an adventure to remember.
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See all Heli Skiing tours that visit Sunshine here