Skiing (or boarding) is one of those sports that remains magical all throughout life. It’s fun, exciting, physically exhausting and often takes you to some very beautiful places that are covered in white sparkling snow. Sunshine Village near Banff, Alberta is one of those magical places. Not only does it offer some of the best scenery in the world but it also gives you the chance to ski in two different provinces in one run.
That’s right – the Continental Divide Quad chair crosses the provincial boundary between Alberta and British Columbia, giving you a very unique run and a chance to witness an area where mountain melt-off makes it into two different oceans; the Atlantic and the Pacific. Sunshine Village also offers a vertical drop of 3,514 feet, which is the longest in the Canadian Rockies and offers the longest season, which ends in late May with the incredible wrap-up party known as href=”http://www.mustdocanada.com/skiing-in-bikinis-a-tribute-to-sunshines-slush-cup/”>Slush Cup.
Another special feature of Sunshine Village is the fact that it is situated 7,000 feet up a mountain, making the snow softer, drier and longer lasting than other ski resorts in the area. The gondola ride to the village itself is a breathtaking experience, transporting up to 2,800 people per hour if need be for a 13-minute ride past beautiful mountain scenery.
We couldn’t have picked a better day to go ourselves. Warm weather mixed with bright blue skies created a picture-perfect backdrop for tear-worthy landscapes. Every time we got on a chair lift and ascended to the top of a run, we found ourselves marvelling at the views around us. Even as we sped down the mountain runs, we found ourselves stopping and staring in disbelief at the views surrounding us. It was like the scene from the movie Into The Wild where Chris McCandless spots a couple hundred caribou gathering nearby and begins to tear up at how truly magnificent it is.
At the top of each chair lift, you’ll find yourself with a near 360-degree view that battles anything you’ve ever seen in National Geographic. Finding it difficult to peel your eyes away from postcard-perfect views, you’ll need to remind yourself that world-class skiing also awaits. With 109 named runs on three mountains including chutes and bowls, you’ll want to dedicate time to exploring what the resort has to offer.
Sunshine Village is suitable for all types of experience levels. Nestled amongst 3,300 acres of skiable terrain, which ranges from basic beginner runs to the some of the best off-piste destinations in the world, you’ll have no trouble finding something that suits you. Sunshine also has a 12-acre terrain park with more than 50 features for those more into doing tricks.
For those visiting Alberta, a trip to UNESCO World Heritage Banff National Park is an absolute must-do activity. Sunshine Village is located in the park and is a must-do activity any time of the year. If skiing/boarding is your thing, the season runs from early November until Mid-May. Located just 135KM west of Calgary, Alberta, Banff and Sunshine Village also makes the list of top things to do in Calgary.
The gondola runs from 8 AM until 5:30 PM on most days (with friday closing times at 10:30PM) and is open 7 days a week. For more information on this truly one-of-a-kind experience, visit SkiBanff.com.
Picture of Banff Gondola is by Must Do Canada. All other pictures credited to Sunshine Village / Adam Locke.