Everything you need to know about skiing at Sunshine this winter

If there’s one thing I’ve learned during this pandemic, it’s the importance of having something to look forward to. With the excitement of having kids out of the house back to school wearing off, many of us have set our sights on winter, and skiing at Sunshine Village is at the top of my list.

Skiing at Sunshine
I like corduroy in winter just as much as I do in fall! (Credit: Sunshine Village Resort)
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Skiing at Sunshine

Winter is made so much more bearable by getting outdoors. Being outdoors in the fresh air makes everyone feel better – which is exactly what happens when I go skiing at Sunshine Village.

But just like pretty much everything else, our ski season is going to look a little bit different this year. Here’s my insider tips on what you need to know so you can appropriately plan out your ski season or snow holiday.

Sunshine Village terrain
I love how you cross between the borders of BC and Alberta when skiing at Sunshine.(Credit: Kyle Mulder/Banff Sunshine Village)

Limited capacity at restaurants means….

The biggest trend I see happening is that more folks are going to want on-hill accommodation. Think about it. On-mountain dining facilities are forced to be at 50% capacity in many parts of Canada. If you’re skiing in a group or with your family, it’ll be so much more convenient to pop into your room for a quick snack, room service or better yet, après ski.

The good news is that Sunshine Village has the only on-mountain accommodation in Banff National Park. Not only is Sunshine Mountain Lodge a dream place to stay (incredible loft rooms, floor to ceiling windows, access to first tracks, etc…) but their hot tub will be OPEN this winter. Score!

Plus they have all kinds of other amenities like a gym, family room kitted out with games, plus toboggans at the ready. The icing on the cake is that if you get a season’s pass you’ll receive 15% off the best available room rate for your Sunshine Mountain Lodge stay.

sunshine village hotel
Check out the only ski-in, ski-out accommodation in Banff National Park.(Credit: Sunshine Village)

New spaces to warm up in

Don’t let the mandated 50% capacity in dining facilities scare you off. Sunshine’s got two new massive tents that’ll serve as temporary lodging facilities. That’s 9,000 additional square footage for your crew to warm up in. 

Additionally, they’ve transformed the top floor of the Old Village Gondola Station (where the big clock is in the Village) into a picnic area for guests. They’ll provide the heat, tables and chairs and you bring your own picnic. They’ll be more grab and go options throughout the resort too, so don’t stress if you forget to pack a sandwich.

Sunshine Village outdoor patio
I’m happy to eat outside at either Trappers or the cafe at Goat’s Eye. (Credit: Noel Hendrickson / Banff & Lake Louise Tourism)

Are reservations needed?

Some ski resorts require reservations to access their slopes for the 2020-21 season. Luckily, Sunshine Village isn’t requiring this, but they do recommend you arrive with either a season’s pass, pre-paid lift ticket or Sunshine Super Card.

The great news is that Season Passes are on sale until October 15th. I’ve never seen them on sale this late in the season before. Besides unlimited access to the slopes, you’ll also receive perks like discounts on ski and snowboard school programs, plus stays at Sunshine Mountain Lodge.

They’ve instituted a No Questions Asked Refund Policy, which offers peace of mind should you purchase a pass.

skiing in canada
Nothing comes close to that feeling of being on top of the world. (Credit: Reuben Krabbe / SkiBig3)

Ski school will be a hot commodity

Just like we saw with campgrounds this summer, I predict ski schools are going to book out – fast. NOW is the time to register your kids for ski school.

Sunshine Daycare is closed until further notice, but you could enrol children 2-6 years in Tiny Tigers Private Lessons. Additionally, they’ll be offering group lesson for teens, and Kids Kampus classes for the elementary school set.

Yellow pinnies make it easy to spot ski school participants. I try my best to avoid them.

Why now is the time

With Canada’s mandatory two week quarantine for anyone returning from out of the country, all those families who typically take a winter break in Mexico or Hawaii are going to be looking elsewhere to spend their vacation. They’re going to be looking at ski resorts, so you’ll want to book in before everything is sold out.

Pro tip: The week after Canadian Thanksgiving is when we in the travel industry see a surge in booking winter vacations. Try to firm up your plans before mid-October for the best deals and availability.

I don’t know about you, but the thought of skiing, OK snowboarding in my case,  is one of the few things I’ve got to look forward to this winter. I’ve never returned home from a day on the slopes in a foul mood – and that’s not solely because of après ski. Finger’s crossed Sunshine Village is the first resort to open in Canada, in mid November like they usually do. 

banff powder skiing
I don’t even come close to skiing this pretty, but what I lack on the hill I make up for on the patio. (Credit: Reuben Krabbe / SkiBig3)

To learn more about Sunshine’s operational guidelines for the 2020-21 season, click here.

Save these tips

Skiing Sunshine Village Banff

Keep these tips for skiing Sunshine Village for future reference. Simply pin the image above to Pinterest. I hope you’ll follow Travels with Baggage on Pinterest while you’re at it.


A local’s guide to eating in Banff

What to expect when you put your kids into ski lessons

A review of Sunshine Mountain Lodge

Snowshoeing at Sunshine Village

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