AB: Ride Banff Sunshine Village, Canada

In another life, I had ambitions of being a professional snowboarder. In my late teens and early 20’s, snowboarding was my life. I had (and still have) an insatiable appetite for powder, park, and riding. In my snowboard days, I traveled the world with a cumbersome snowboard bag. More often than not igniting laughter and exasperating questions about my lack of ever traveling light from the flight check in agents.

“No, I don’t have a dead body in there…just my snowboard gear.”

No matter where I rode, I always looked forward to coming home to my home mountain, Banff Sunshine Village. Sunshine, is my favorite place in the world to ride, and to escape to. The resort is also my home mountain, where I first learned to ski as a toddler and where my love of winter sports was cultivated.

To me, (as it is to a community of devout season pass holders) Banff Sunshine is, and always will be home. Sunshine, is a resort like no other. The mountain is playful, diverse, rich with snow, and inviting. When I ride the vast 3,352 acres the mountains implore me to explore. I’ve been skiing Sunshine for 30 years, and to this day I still find new terrain to play on.

Skiing or snowboarding at Sunshine is an experience. One where you genuinely feel the elegance, beauty, and power of the environment. At Sunshine, your encompassed by the majestic Canadian Rockies. There are no highway views, just breathtaking mountain vistas.

The resort is spread out, across three mountains: Lookout Mountain, Goat’s Eye Mountain, and Standish Mountain; and are serviced by modern quad lifts. Whenever I ride Sunshine, I’m amazed by how calm the slopes are. Even on the busiest days of the year, you won’t wait more than five minutes in line for a chair.

To me, riding at Sunshine is about learning to read the mountain. My days typically start with a few fun lapse on Standish Chair before I make my way to Divide Express or Teepee Town LX (Canada’s Only Heated Chairlift).

Regarding ski terrain, Sunshine has it all. From short, sweat, and gentle beginner greens, to scenic blues, and adrenaline pumping double blacks. For the extreme skier, Delirium Dive is a must add to your bucket list.

Sunshine’s unrivaled terrain is only made sweater by Mother Nature. The resort relies solely on Mother Nature for snow. As a result, Sunshine is famous for being home to Canada Best Snow. It’s location high in the Canadian Rockies, on the continental divide makes the resort a true snow magnet. Each year, Sunshine see’s an average of 30 feet of light, dry, brut, smoke cold powder. You know the stuff, the intoxicating snow the billows in the wind, and flies in your face you carve up the slopes.

No matter where on the mountain you ride, you’ll find yourself impressed by the snow. On a bluebird powder day, head straight to Bye-Bye Bowl off of Divide. After lunch,  cook up dessert as you treat yourself to more fresh track in Hell’s Kitchen off of Goat’s Eye.

When riding Sunshine make sure you have your cell phone handy, as you’ll NEED to take photos of the stunning Mountain scape. Plus, Banff Sunshine Village has a great app that allows you to track where you skied on an interactive trail map.

When riding Sunshine, make the most of your day(s):

  • Order your lift tickets online to skip the ticket window line.
  • Download the Banff Sunshine Village App
  • Grab a coffee for the Gondola at First Tracks Cafe (First tracks brews local Fratello Coffee)
  • Use the gondola ride to stretch out your legs, so you’re ready to ride when you reach the top.
  • Start with a warm-up run on Standish- my go to is Little Bunkers and Jerry’s Run.
  • Stay warm and ride Teepee Town LX
  • Grab Lunch at the Chimney Corner, located inside Sunshine Mountain Lodge
  • After lunch head to Goat’s Eye and Wolverine
  • Apres ski, at Creekside. I recommend the fried pickles.
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