An under the radar spring break destination worth checking out

Can you feel it? We’re on the precipice of spring. It may not feel like it where you (or I) live, but it’s there – that subtle shift in light with the days getting longer. Those cold snaps aren’t lasting as long.

under the radar spring break
Good drinks. Good friends. Good weather. That’s all I need. (Credit: Noel Hendrickson / Banff Lake Louise Tourism)
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Spring is by far my favourite season. It’s a time of renewal, hope and travel. Too many of us have been cooped up for the past two years, but mark my words, this spring break is going to becrazy time to travel. Flight Centre has already seen a 700% increase in flights departing from Canadian airports in March. A girlfriend of mine just got back from Disney World and said it was nuts. The most crowded she’s ever seen it. A minimum 2-hour wait for the lacklustre rides and far longer for the popular ones. No thanks. 

Travel isn’t just about getting a break from your surroundings, it’s about having a great experience while you’re there. It’s no secret that popular spots can get so crowded on weekends and school holidays that it’s quite likely you’ll return home increasingly stressed and annoyed. Nobody wants that.

As we learn to live with COVID, I’ve realized what I need going forward is pretty simple. I’m looking for destinations that give me easy access to the outdoors. I want fresh air and the opportunity to move my body. I’m looking to retreat and connect with family and friends. I don’t want to be waiting in more lines at airports, feeling stressed about obtaining test results or getting caught somewhere and being unable to make it back home.

So I’ll wait. The majority of sun destinations are too crowded for me to enjoy them properly right now. (And don’t get me started on the exorbitant cost of flights.) What isn’t crowded in March? Ski resorts. The beach will always be there, but fresh powder waits for no one. Sunshine Village has already seen a cumulative total 686 cm of fresh snow this season.

ski sunshine
The skiing’s great, but the snowboarding’s even better at Sunshine. (Credit: Reuben Krabb)

Spring skiing over March break

Personally I think March is the very best time to ski. Truth be told, some seasons I don’t even begin skiing until the end of February and I rack up at least 10 days between March and April. In the Canadian Rockies, there’s still SO MUCH SNOW in March. Often we get crazy dumps of powder right until Easter. What you won’t find at ski resorts in March? Freezing temperatures and crowds.

Up until Tuesday, March 1, Sunshine Village has this amazing sale going on where you can save up 20% – which amounts to $100 off an Adult Spring Season Pass. That means your spring skiing pass is less than the cost of 3 lift tickets. They have spring skiing family passes, student, senior and kid’s passes, too.  These passes grant you access to 64 days of skiing and snowboarding from March 21st until May 23rd – Slush Cup!

Better still, when you purchase a Spring Season Pass, you’ll get the option to also buy purchase full-day lift tickets for only $99+GST. Consider it a Buddy Pass or use those tickets for yourself before your Spring Pass goes into effect.

family skiing in canada
If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a parent, it’s to let the pros teach kids. (Credit: Sunshine Village)

Stay overnight

To make the most of your spring break, book in for a few nights at Sunshine Mountain Lodge. (Book 3 nights and get your 4th night free!) Not only will that guarantee you first tracks in the morning, but it’s the easiest way to have a stress-free spring break. All your ski gear is stored for you in their lockers. You don’t even have to haul your luggage up to your room, they take care of all that for you at the base.

There’s a family room, tons of board games and activities on tap, including tobogganing for a different way to experience the mountain. My favourite has to be their massive outdoor hot tub with drink service. Oh, and Verde Day spa on mountain – that’s pretty sweet, too!

Sunshine Mountain Lodge
Now I want to have a wooden ceiling in my bedroom!

Where to ski at Sunshine Village

The great news about spring break in Alberta and all of Canada is that it’s staggered. The Calgary and Edmonton public school boards’s spring break don’t line up. But at any ski resort there are lifts and runs that are more popular that people to seem to flock to at certain times of the day. Don’t do this!

For the best experience, zig when others zag. That’s why we always hit Goat’s Eye Mountain first and then move up to lifts unfurling from the Village in the afternoon. Check out my Sunshine Village hacks here.

Another way to go is to take advantage of Sunshine’s SnowHosts. These hosts provide free tours of the mountain every day of the week. Tap them for their favourite runs and you’ll find places you didn’t know existed on the mountain.

Find SnowHosts at 11:45 am each day in front of the Old Sunshine Lodge until April 22nd. Tours focus on blue and blue/black levels and wrap up around 3 pm depending on conditions. No need to register in advance, they operate on a walk-in basis.

skiing sunshine
Save those epic runs for posterity by booking in with Sunshine’s professional photographer! (Credit: Reuben Krabbe / SkiBig3)

New terrain park!

There are now 5 terrain parks at Sunshine Village. Newly opened is the first terrain park off Standish Express! Boarderline Park offers small to medium sized features so you can hone your skills before moving on.

What are your plans for spring break? Please let me know in the comment section below.

More information on skiing in Alberta:

What it’s like staying at Sunshine Mountain Lodge

Everything you need to know before skiing Sunshine Village in 2022

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