Peering over the ridge into Delirium Dive for the first time. Karaoke in a packed Storm Cellar bar. Skiing eye-wateringly fast down Continental Divide. Your first glimpse of the jagged peaks around Sunshine Village. The wind-lip on Standish Mountain. Moguls on the back-side of Goat’s Eye Mountain. Fishbowls at the Dancing Sasquatch. Aardvark Pizza at 3am. Hiking up Wawa Ridge and dropping-in off the back-side. Baseball burgers from Saltlik. Sketching your way through Wild West and picking your way down to the base area. Lumberjack breakfast at Cougar Pete’s. Melting into the hot water at the Banff hot springs. Dodgeball at the Sports Centre. Watching the skiing, sinking a cold one on the terrace at Mad Trapper’s.
Receiving an average annual snowfall of 30ft (about the same height as a double-decker bus), Sunshine Village is Canada’s most snow-sure resort and, with skiing from from November to May, it boasts Canada’s longest winter season. Sunshine Village offers serious big mountain riding; not only do they actually have big mountains - there are towering jagged peaks as far as the eye can see and Canada’s highest lift-served skiing - but the resort also offers slackcountry terrain that will test even the most experienced shredders. Free-ride zones such as Delirium Dive, Wild West and Silvercity, although patrolled, are double black-diamond areas and entrance is only permitted to buddied-up expert skiers with full avalanche kit. This fact is normally enough to keep the punters out!
Video credit: Sunshine Village resort
And, if you want to explore the real Canadian wilderness, Sunshine Village offers access to some of the country’s best backcountry terrain. Do pop your SnowSkool rep a note to let us know your plans first though!
Fear not... you won’t be sitting your instructor exams in a neck-high-powder no-fall zone! The 3500 acres of skiable terrain at Sunshine Village includes ~120 named runs spread evenly between beginner/ intermediate/ expert and so it has the right piste for every drill: the perfect slope for teaching basic turns, the ideal gradient for carving, plenty of mogul fields, steeps, hits & rollers, natural half-pipes, wide & open groomers and three terrain parks. The biggest of the three parks take up an area of almost fifteen acres with a massive variety of features…from 10ft to 40ft jumps, short and long boxes, 6ft to 40ft rails (up, down, flat-down, down-flat-down, tubes, S, C, tubby tank, mailbox and buoy tap).
Oh and as the name may suggest, it gets more than the average number of days of sunshine!
We can’t deny that Banff does have a reputation. It’s fair to say, it is not your typical, quiet little ski village - it is a world-famous tourist destination and has developed an infrastructure to match!
Avalanche awareness course
Winter first-aid course
Ski & snowboard tuning workshop
Wallowing in the hot springs
Bar crawls / Nightclubs
Football / Dodgeball / Basketball
Ice-skating / hockey
And if you fancy heading a little further afield, your SnowSkool rep can organise:
Trips to other resorts:
NHL (ice hockey) matches
OK, go make yourself a cuppa, find a comfy seat and I’ll try to tell you about the nightlife in Banff without going on and on and on and, hopefully, without getting so excited that I have to ditch the job to get the first flight out there!
Banff has a twinkle in its eye, other ski towns aspire to be like Banff but nowhere does apres-ski better. The town is not even that big - there are more bars and clubs in other resorts- but it’s the concentration of ‘cool’ in a relatively small area that cements Banff’s nightlife reputation. Restaurants, cafés, lounges, English-style pubs, stylish bars and four nightclubs jostle for space on the main drag and compete for your attention until the wee hours. Open-mic nights, comedy gigs, karaoke, live bands and world-famous DJs are regular features in Banff.
Your SnowSkool reps will be there to organise…to get you on the guest list at the start of the night and to get you out of bed and onto the slopes the next morning. Bring energy!