Did you know I’m a group exercise junkie? I know, it’s summer, time to be outdoors and such. Don’t get me wrong, I like hiking and I adore the mountains. I’m totally down with getting exercise in the great outdoors. Trouble is, in Banff, you really shouldn’t hike or go off and exercise alone outdoors. Wildlife + safety and all that. So when I found out Sunshine Village was bringing both barre and HIIT classes to Sunshine Meadows, I was like, sign me up!
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Readers of Travels with Baggage know how much our family loves snowboarding at Sunshine Village. To get your legs in ski and snowboard-worthy shape, it’s best if you do some cross training. Since I amped up my weight training, I’ve found that my legs aren’t sore after a full day of snowboarding. For real. No stiffness, no soreness, nada!
This summer Banff Sunshine Village is offering a Fit in the Mountains program with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts taking place:
August 20th, 2022
September 3rd, 2022
Don’t let the high intensity part of HIIT scare you. This 50-minute class is low impact with plenty of stretching. You’ll be using your yoga mat a lot and afterwards there’s a light lunch to give your muscles the fuel it needs.
HIIT classes are always great for producing a light sweat plus those feel good endorphins. But taking in great gulps of fresh mountain air while straddling the Continental Divide is also an endorphin hit like no other.
At 8,000 ft, (2,400 m) above sea level, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world. From your mat, set on the Standish Viewpoint, the views of Banff National Park are simply stunning. There’s British Columbia less than a kilometre away and Mt. Assinibione, the Matterhorn of the Canadian Rockies is in full view.
You don’t need me to tell you how beautiful Banff is all year round. In summer, its lush alpine meadows with colourful bursts of wildflowers, make Sunshine Meadows seem like The Sound of Music sprung to life.
Banff Sunshine Village’s HIIT classes are suitable for all levels and abilities. Get more info here.
Banff Barre Events
Taking it up a notch with their summer event programming, Sunshine has added barre classes to their roster. There’s no dedicated barre studio in Banff, so they’ve partnered with Calgary’s Barre Belle.
Like the HIIT classes, you’ll be exercising from the Standish Lookout and privy to the same epic Rocky Mountain views. These barre classes are probably my favourite of all the Banff events going on this summer.
Admittedly, I was a bit skeptical before taking my first outdoor barre class at Sunshine. I guess I was worried it wouldn’t be the same intense work out I’m used to. Boy, was I wrong.
You’ll be getting a full body, interval training class that you can amp up or down depending on your fitness level. Naturally, I quizzed everyone afterwards on what they thought of the class. All the Barre Belle regulars admitted it was just as legit as their regular studio classes, but with the added benefit of being in nature.
On that front, we were watched by two precious deer and spotted a moose sauntering by. Where else you can you get a group exercise experience like that? The icing on the cake was after both the HIIT and barre class, everyone heads down to the Village together for a post-workout light lunch.
Being into group exercise it’s like being part of a tribe. But when you show up at a new class, you usually don’t know anyone. (Shout out to the group of Calgary firefighter wives who turned their barre workout into a gal’s day.) After lunch, I walked away feeling like I’d made a bunch of new friends.
Find more info on barre classes at Sunshine Village here.
What to know before taking outdoor HIIT or barre in Banff
For both the HIIT and barre classes, you want to arrive a little earlier. The gondola runs a bit slower in summer, so you need to budget 25 minutes for that, plus 10 minutes for the Standish chairlift that whisks you up to Standish Lookout (where classes take place). Both classes start at 11 am, so plan to arrive at the base of Sunshine no later than 10 am.
Your class admission nets you access to Sunshine Meadows for the entire day, so after lunch you can head back up Standish and hike all around Sunshine Meadows, as I did.
What to pack for Banff fitness classes outdoors
When you’re in Banff, you need to know the weather can change quickly in the mountains. Whether you’re doing an outdoor fitness class or going for a hike, you need to take more precautions than you would in other areas. For these yoga and barre fitness classes at Sunshine Village, just outside the town of Banff, you ought to bring:
- Your own yoga mat.
- Layers! Tote a long sleeved workout top and jacket even if the sun is shining.
- Water – obvs. These are real fitness classes!
- Sunscreen and a hat – because, the sun.
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What are your thoughts on group exercise classes outdoors. Have you ever tried it?
This post is presented in partnership with Sunshine Village. They don’t pay me, but I have in the past, greedily accepted ski passes from them. And for sure they don’t edit or review my posts prior to publishing.