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Sunshine Village, Banff Area, Canada

Sunshine Village, Canada’s highest elevated resort at the top of the Continental Divide, gets more than three times the amount of snow that other Banff Region resorts receive. Just a 15-minute ride from the Town of Banff, you’ll find bowl skiing, tree skiing and trails spread across more than 3,300 acres.

Sunshine Village has long been known for its winding gondola ride that carries you almost 1,650 vertical feet from the parking lot—along the walls of a valley and box canyon—to the village base area and the rest of the lifts.

SUNSHINE STATISTICS | EVENTS

On the 17-minute ride on the fastest gondola in the world to the rest of the lifts (or 6 minutes to Goat’s Eye mid-station) you have plenty of time to survey the slopes where the real thrill rides begin. Much of the skiing on Sunshine’s three peaks is wide-open, bowl-type skiing, but the bottom half of the slopes are covered in evergreens for those who like their runs cut through trees.

Though a restaurant and rental shop are near the parking lot at the gondola base, the real “base area” for Sunshine is at the top of the gondola at 7,082 feet, where you will find a mountain village with a lodge, rental shop, general store, restaurant and the only slopeside lodging in the national parks. (A clarification: The base-elevation stat we list is for the gondola base; we use the term “base area” to mean the greatest concentration of shops and services.) From this point lifts take off in all directions. Most people never head all the way down until the end of the day and some not until the end of their vacation.

The Sunshine Mountain Lodge is the place to stay at Sunshine. Harmony with its surroundings and environmental integrity are the priorities for this eco-luxurious Lodge – Banff-Lake Louise’s premier ski in, ski out accommodation. Following a recent multimillion dollar wing replacement, the Lodge now includes 30 eco-luxurious rooms and features a giant outdoor hot tub, fitness centre, massage facility and fine dining. From January to March guests here get first tracks 30 minutes before anyone else arrives on the slopes.

Ask at the ticket base about linking up with one of the mountain’s Snowhosts, a solid group of veteran volunteers who know the mountain well and will make your day a joy.

It’s worth noting that Sunshine has the longest ski season in the region, running from the middle of November sometimes through late May, because it gets up to three times the snowfall that the other Banff ski areas get. If the weather is clear, the views across and down the canyon are as breathtaking as the runs.