Banff National Park is home to the distinctive mountain ski resorts of Mt Norquay, Lake Louise and Sunshine Village. I had the incredible opportunity to ski at Banff Sunshine Village, the first ski resort in the area started in the 1930s. Sunshine’s runs are set “high-in-the-sky” which means all snow is natural! From the parking lot, the gondola takes you 500 metres vertical (1640 ft) up to the base of three mountains where chairlifts take you to the top of each mountain’s runs. I especially like the new quad chair with heated seats and pulldown bubble to block all the wind!
The Banff Sunshine Village gondola take you from the parking lot to the base of the three mountains for skiing/snowboarding/hiking. The three mountains of Banff Sunshine are Goat's Eye, Lookout and Standish.
Traveling to the top of Lookout Mountain (8,900 ft /2530 m elevation), you actually pass briefly through British Columbia and back again into Alberta. The view from the top includes the tallest peak in Banff National Park, Mount Assiniboine, at 11,870 ft/ 3610m which is located on the Continental Divide of the British Columbia/Alberta border in the Rocky Mountains. The Continental Divide separates the watersheds of the Pacific Ocean from those of the Atlantic Ocean. The views often include clouds being so high and on one occasion I also viewed a sun halo!
A sun halo view from Lookout Mountain top at Sunshine Banff.
Some of my favourite runs were part of the Goat’s Eye Mountain of Banff Sunshine due to the views, consistency of the snow, terrain and the length of the runs. One of the views from Goat’s Eye is of Delirium Dive on Lookout Mountain, a freeride zone where you need avalanche equipment and a partner to enter.
Top of Goat’s Eye with view of Delirium Dive/Lookout Mountain behind.
Standish Mountain is the third area for skiing at Banff Sunshine and it was nice to have the beautiful facilities of the Sunshine Village Resort and Chalet at the base. The seven-day total amount of snowfall was 32 cm/1 ft with 8 cm/3 in on one of the days I was there. Surprisingly, it seemed like a lot more snow fell on the Standish Mountain and it was a blast skiing through the powder! Of course, the views were incredible too!
Lots of snow on Standish!
View from Standish’s Wawa Run with Sunshine’s Goat’s Eye Mountain in the background.
Leaving the ski resort was a bit sad but exciting at the same time because instead of going down the gondola, you have the option to go down the “ski out” which is a 5 km (3 mi) long trail that take you down the mountain to the parking area and the scenery is spectacular.
Ski out from Sunshine with view of Mount Bourgeau frozen waterfall…and when traveling up the gondola, we actually saw ice climbers close to the top of the waterfall!
That brings me to the conclusion of my Banff version – ScarfLady Travels. Just a couple more highlights… seeing a herd of Elk and sampling some great food from the local restaurants including an Elk/Moose/Beef meatloaf (oops...). And someday I would love to have the opportunity to be back in the summer months which is an equally spectacular experience!
ABOUT THE GEMLACE BY SCARFLADY
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