Sunshine Village Ski and Snowboard Resort, Lake Louise and Norquay are often referred to as the big 3. All three resorts are located in the Banff National Park. Sunshine Village Ski and Snowboard Resort is about 20 km from Banff. There is a big parking lot once you get to the resort, but I suspect that parking can be quite a problem in peak season.
One of the great things about Sunshine Village Ski and Snowboard Resort is that it is located very high. The base parking lot is at 1660m, the day lodge at 2160m and the top of Lookout Mountain 2730m. This all translates to a super long season, starting in November and ending in late May.
The lifts are mostly express quads, one thing we found interesting is that we did not ride a single quad with footrests. Not that we minded, but it almost seemed like they took a decision not to install footrests. I wonder why? The high speed gondola from the parking lot in over 4 km long, and takes a while.
The ‘base’ area at the top of the gondola is huge, and there is everything you need. From shops, day-care, sit down restaurant, hotel and a big day lodge. This also where we say a big Ford that was adapted to be able to drive on snow…what a ride!
The ski area at Sunshine Village Ski and Snowboard Resort is gigantic; it has a beginner area with a carpet lift, as well as an express quad servicing green and blue runs. The rest of the resort has numerous blacks and double blacks. Some of them completely in the alpine and other through trees. There is also a big free ride zone, which you can access through the lift system. You just need the normal backcountry gear.
There is also a skier cross course at Sunshine Village Ski and Snowboard Resort, while we were there the Canadian team was using it to train.
Overall Sunshine Village Ski and Snowboard Resort is great resort, and the very long season must help them generate more income. Which probably allow the Scurfield family, who has owned the resort for 30 years, to invest more in infrastructure.
I could definitely spend a season at Sunshine Village Ski and Snowboard Resort. It will be awesome to get to know every detail of the vast terrain.