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Sunshine — Mountain layout

The 3-mile run at the end of the day on Banff Avenue—from the Village down to the parking lot—is a long, luscious trip for beginners, but it will seem tame for many intermediates. Advanced skiers can play on drops to the left, but they’re short and eventually rejoin the trail. An alternative way down is Canyon Trail, which starts out intermediate and turns into a single-black diamond. You catch it near the base of the Jack Rabbit Quad. Local’s tip: Goat’s Eye in the morning, Park in the afternoon.

Here’s a larger, more detailed trail map.


Expert, Advanced: There’s plenty of terrain to explore. Get off the gondola at the Goat’s Eye mid-station. Board the Goat’s Eye Express which whisks you to the top of 9,200-foot Goat’s Eye Mountain—which according to his daughter, is a favorite area of resort owner Ralph Scurfield. Here, there is almost 2,000 vertical feet drop of fabulous glades and steep but wide-open cruisers—most black diamonds, a couple of blue runs. A classic run drops between the two large rock outcroppings, called Cleavage by the locals, then continues into the glades below. Move up to Lookout Mountain, and don’t miss runs off the Tee Pee Town chair (the coldest chair on the mountain, so bundle up). For un-tracked powder, follow the run under the chair. After hitting the ridge, traverse to your right. This leads to The Shoulder, a hard-to-find open slope known primarily to locals. The runs under the Angel Express Quad—especially Ecstasy—have good pitch. Heading right at the top of the Angel Express will take you into a fairly steep bowl. Shoot down to the Continental Divide High-Speed Quad. This lift takes you a-soaring to the almost-summit of Lookout Mountain. At the top you cross the Continental Divide from Alberta to British Columbia. These descents are wide-open, consistent pitches, as if a flat white world was upturned about 25 degrees. Or drop into Bye Bye Bowl. If you don’t carry your speed at the bottom, you will go “bye-bye” and have to hike. For some of the toughest in-bounds extreme skiing in North America, hike a short distance to Delirium Dive from the top of the Continental Divide Quad. Three rules are strictly enforced at the control gate: 1) All skiers/riders must wear an avalanche transceiver; 2) All must carry a rescue shovel; 3) All must ski or ride with a partner. Ask about renting transceivers (but duh, know how to use them) and shovels at the ski area. Also, helmets are recommended. After cresting the knoll of Lookout Mountain, you are rewarded with a gut-churning entrance into the chutes. Be forewarned: The entrance is remarkably steep, though fairly wide. But after the first 30 or 40 yards, Delirium opens up into one of the finest and least-skied bowls in the Rockies. Instead of dropping in off the cornice, you can climb backwards down a metal stairway but friends told us it was scarier than just sucking it up and “diving in.” The resort’s other extreme terrain, The Wild West, is on Goat’s Eye and has the same restrictions. The Mount Standish Express serves a large amount of short, steep chutes for those skiers just getting used to bowl and chute skiing, starting with Headwall, Sidewall, Garbage Chutes and Dirty Little Corner to skier’s right.  Further down, to skier’s left are the Virgin Chutes, a litmus test the Sunshine instructors use to determine whether a skier is ready for a Delerium Dive lesson.

Intermediate: There’s terrain from every lift for intermediates; however, be sure you are confident at this ability level if you try the runs on Goat’s Eye or the peak of Lookout Mountain. Think twice if the weather’s socked in. Lack of visibility can be nerve-wracking and downright dangerous.Find lots of fun on the blues off the Strawberry Triple on Mt. Standish . The grade’s just right on Boutry’s Bowl for those learning to ski powder. Carry your speed and cut through the woods to get back to the chair.You’ll find some short black runs off the Wolverine Express and the wind-sheltered Jack Rabbit Quad, both down-mountain from the other lifts.Trappers, Bluebell and Goatchicken have consistent pitch with modest sized bumps. You can enjoy this area any time of the day. Then either ride the gondola to the top from mid-station or take Miss Gratz to the Tee Pee Town chair. Paris Basin off the Wawa quad is a nice easy introduction to bowl skiing.

Beginner,First-timer: The Strawberry Triple Chair and the Wolverine Express high-speed quad have gentle wide slopes good for those still perfecting their technique.Find green runs off the Continental Divide Chair as well, but if it’s foggy, it might be a bit of a challenge. When the skies are clear, it’s worth the trip to the top of the divide where two provinces, Alberta and British Columbia, are visible. Then follow the greens to the bottom of the Strawberry Triple. First-timers learn near the base village, where a moving carpet carries beginners to the top of a short gentle slope that is off to one side and out of the way of speeders.