Sunshine Village Resort Reviews
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Visitor reviews for Sunshine Village Ski Resort
March 27, 2015
Vicki from Australia
Feb - March 2015.
My husband and I have just returned to Australia after 4 weeks skiing SSV. We have been coming every year for a month for the last 8 years. Obviously, we would not keep coming back if we didn't enjoy the skiing here. Love the open spaces it offers and lack of crowds and less snowboarders than other resorts. Sadly, the owners of this resort seem very indifferent to many issues here. The restaurant and food quality leaves something to be desired. I don't think they know the meaning of groomed runs. If people are skiing on the piste they expect a little more grooming than SSV has been giving. Many safety issues we have come across. Please listen owners or people will stop coming. Over the past 8 years we have seen the tourist numbers dwindle as many have been thinking the same as us. The place need to tidy up its act or it will loose us too. Major PR problems.
Sunshine Village Ratings
Overall: 3.4. Based on 42 votes and 91 reviews. Vote
(1) At least one overnight stop, (2) requires a whole day, (3) requires more than half a day – you may have time for a few turns (4) arrive by lunchtime and ski all afternoon, (5) there is a main airport within an hour of Sunshine Village.
Public Transport: 3.4
(1) There are no buses or taxis to Sunshine Village, (3) there are slow or infrequent buses / trains available, (5) getting to the resort is easy with frequent bus / train connections.
(1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.
(1) No places to stay in/near Sunshine Village, (3) a few places to stay in the resort, (5) a wide variety of accommodation suitable to suit all budgets.
Cheap Rooms: 2.7
(1) No budget accommodation available, (3) just one or two hostels so book ahead, (5) several cheap hostels and pensions available.
Luxury Hotels: 3.8
(1) No luxury accommodation available, (3) just one or two luxury hotels so book ahead, (5) several up-market hotels in Sunshine Village.
Ski in/Ski out: 3.4
(1) The ski area is located far from any accommodation, (3) a free ski bus takes you to the ski area in a short trip, (5) Ski-in ski-out accommodation is available.
(1) There are no child care facilities at Sunshine Village, (5) the resort has excellent child-care facilities including at least one reasonably priced creche.
(1) Occasionally gets enough snow for skiing, (2) is often closed due to a lack of snow, (3) occasionally suffers from a lack of snow, (4) rarely suffers from a lack of snow, (5) Sunshine Village is snowsure even in the poorest seasons.
(1) Sunshine Village relies entirely on natural snow, (3) there are just a few snow cannons, (5) there are snowmaking facilities on all pistes.
Snow Grooming: 3.7
(1) There are no snow groomers at Sunshine Village, (3) occasionally some pistes are left ungroomed and in a poor state, (5) all the runs at Sunshine Village are groomed daily.
(1) there is nowhere to ski when it is windy or visibility is bad and lifts often shut, (3) there are some trees for poor visibility but main lifts sometimes close, (5) Sunshine Village is mostly in forest where you can ski in flat-light and windy days, lifts rarely close.
Nearby options: 3.0
(1) If snow conditions are poor at Sunshine Village, it will be poor everywhere nearby, (3) there are good alternatives within an hours drive, (5) other locations on the same lift pass provide a rich variety of snowsure ski conditions.
Regional rating: 4.4
(1) Sunshine Village usually has poor snow conditions compared to other resorts in region, (3) has average conditions for the region, (5) usually has the best snow conditions in the region.
Lift Staff: 4.0
(1) The staff at Sunshine Village are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Sunshine Village are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.
(1) the resort is always busy and there are usually long lift queues, (3) it is quiet apart from occasional weekends and school holidays, (5) it is uncrowded and lift queues are very rare.
Ski Schools: 3.8
(1) No ski schools available, (2) one or two ski schools but local language only, (3) a few ski schools but book early for multi-lingual instructors, (4) plenty of ski schools and multi-lingual instructors available, (5) excellent ski schools with friendly multi-lingual ski instructors.
Hire and Repairs: 3.8
(1) Nothing can be sourced, not even ski-wax or ptex. (3) there are some ski shops but rentals need to be booked in advance, (5) good quality ski equipment can be purchased or hired and overnight repairs are possible.
Variety of pistes: 4.2
(1) The ski runs are featureless and unvaried, (3) the ski runs are varied but not extensive enough for a week, (5) Sunshine Village has diverse and interesting pistes including forests and high alpine terrain.
(1) Beginners can only watch others ski and snowboard, (3) a few gentle slopes but beginners will get bored in less than a week, (3) Vast areas of gentle terrain.
(1) No intermediate terrain at Sunshine Village, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.
(1) Nothing for advanced skiers and snowboarders, (3) enough steep terrain for a few days with some good offpiste, (5) Enough steep terrain and offpiste areas to entertain advanced skiers for at least a week.
Snow Park: 3.4
(1) Not even a kicker at Sunshine Village, (3) average sized park quite well looked after, (5) huge park area and expertly crafted pipes, jumps and boardercross trails.
(1) No off-piste worth mentioning, (2) off piste is out-of-bounds, (3) some varied offpiste that stays fresh for one or two days, (5) a vast array of off-piste routes that can stay untracked for several days.
(1) There is nowhere to go for cross-country skiing around Sunshine Village, (3) there are some cross country trails available, (5) the area features many spectacular and well maintained cross-country trails.
(1) No designated luge or toboggan runs, (3) there are toboggan runs that open quite often, (5) Sunshine Village has long and well maintained luge / toboggan facilities suitable for all ages.
Mountain Dining: 2.8
(1) Nowhere to buy food by the pistes, (3) some places to eat up on the mountain but they are often busy and expensive, (5) there is a variety of excellent mountain eateries right next to the slopes to suit all budgets.
(1) Bring your own food, there isn't even a shop. (5) A wide variety of places to eat and drink in the resort, from fast food to fancy restaurants.
(1) Nothing to do, not even a bar, (3) there are a few bars in the resort but nothing special, (5) clubs and bars stay open until very late and have a friendly atmosphere.
Other Sports: 2.0
(1) No sports facilities at all apart from ski lifts, (3) resort has just a small public swimming pool, (5) resort has all kinds of sports facilities, including a full-size swimming pool.
(1) Besides the snow and walking there is nothing to do here, (3) the non-skier will find things to do for few days but may become bored after a week, (5) the resort area is a fascinating place to visit, regardless of winter sports.
Winter Walks: 2.8
(1) Very limited walking and no snowshoe trails, (3) a couple of designated scenic walking/snowshoe trails, (5) extensive and diverse winter walking trails for all abilities.
Ski Pass Value: 3.3
(1) A 1 week ski pass is overpriced compared to the number of lifts available, (3) the ski pass is averagely priced and covers a reasonable number of lifts, (5) ski passes are excellent value for money and cover a lot of lifts spanning a big area.
Value (National): 3.5
(1) Overall, Sunshine Village is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the country and not worth the money, (3) overall represents average value for money, (5) overall offers the best value resort in the country.
Value (Global): 3.4
(1) Overall, Sunshine Village is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, (3) overall it offers pretty average value for money compared to resorts from other countries, (5) internationally the resort offers excellent value for money.
January 25, 2015
discusser from Canada
I've skied Sunshine a bunch of times; always going back hoping that the snow reports and yearly snow stats are true. I'm not sure how this happened but it seems like every ski website I come across lists Sunshine as averaging 360" (10m) of snow a year. Everyone knows ski resorts lie about their snow stats but even the resort, itself, lists its yearly snowfall as "up to 10m". From what I dig up from all sources, the actual average seems to fall somewhere in the 5m range.
Oh, and in searching for data about the resort it seems like Sunshine has suffered some serious reputation and PR problems in the past. It's a really interesting read. Search for yourself if you like a soap opera.
March 25, 2014
Corey Hollins from Canada
First off, I need to clear the air here. I can guarantee that 95% of the city schmucks that have given reviews of SSV have absolutely no idea what they are talking about, and take it from me, as I have skied 45 days so far this season @ SSV. This place just never gets old; there are limitless options and different types of terrain to ride. Standish has more than enough side hits and hips, jibs and small cliffs and chutes to keep you busy for a couple days; only takes about 3 minutes to go up the chair, so hot laps!.. Wawa has the same type of terrain as Standish, but with some trees, and a long varied sized cornice cliff to huck (on good days) Wawa also gives access to the Backdoor/backcountry area over in the meadows to the right of Wawa. Enough said there; it's amazing and has limitless line options and usually good snow long after storms (keep in mind this is a backcountry area and you should know for sure where you are going before you go or ask to follow a local!) Angel and Divide are amazing especially on those Sunshiny days! You can get up to 80 kmh and just cruise across the "Flat Spots" no problem if your not a goon. There is enough room on Angel and Divide to make up a small ski area and yes, you can ride all of it! Just watch for rocks in the bowl lookers (?ed) right on Divide! TeePee Town is great, just look at it and you will see why. It gives access to some huge cliffs and has some great steep moguls and also accesses The Shoulder to Goat's Eye, a great other way around than the flats into JackRabbit. Goat's Eye, man what more can be said? 9000 ft in elev the highest of anywhere around and gives access to some seriously rowdy terrain! South Side chutes are amazing, especially if you grind your way up the bootpack to the top of them! Tons of tree skiing options on Goats Eye as well, and will definitely burn your legs! The Lower lifts: Wolverine and Jackrabbit speak for themselves; they are short and sheltered runs that basically act as an access back to the gondola. I have no bad words for Sunshine, this place is amazing! If you think the food sucks then maybe you should reconsider why you got into skiing or boarding in the first place?! Go to Lake Louise, please, please! That leaves more great snow for the rest of us that love SSV!
November 29, 2013
John from Canmore from Canada
There is a reason why Sunshine Village is legendary: 7 months a year of skiing in the alpine. If you like long carving runs, on piste, below tree line this is not the resort for your season pass. You could still come mid winter if Goats Eye Mountain is open. Otherwise, let those of us who like to play on natural terrain features in the alpine play here.
A few important things about Sunshine:
1) if the snow is good at Lake Louise, the snow is great at Sunshine. This is why I rarely go to Louise anymore. Yes, Louise is also a great resort, but Sunshine almost always has better snow. Sunshine is high up and has very few south-facing slopes that melt out on the warm days, and it collects the snow as it blows up and over from BC.
2) there are flat sections. It's on the great divide, but all the facilities and the base of every lift is in Alberta. If you ski into BC dozens of times per day, you're going to have to traverse (or walk) out dozens of times per day. The signs steer you towards the traverses. If you duck those ropes and are willing to walk just a few minutes from the bottom of the run to get back to Alberta, you can find some great powder runs even 5 days after the dump.
3) Delirium Dive is absolutely amazing, but you need avalanche gear and you should have some training about how to use your beacon, probe and shovel before you go in. And it's steep and double-black at the top. If you are an expert (black) skier or boarder but don't do double-blacks and don't have (or know how to use) avy gear, you might be disappointed at Sunshine, because there are a lot of blue and green runs in the rest of the resort. (You are allowed to go look at Delirium Dive without avy gear, just don't take your skis/board up the boot-pack if you don't have the gear.)
4) Bring your skins and touring gear, especially if the avalanche conditions are good. The resort is straddles the boundary of Banff National park and a BC provincial park, there are endless opportunities out there.
5) Think of the terrain off Standish Chair as a big natural terrain park, use the features and have fun. It doesn't have a lot of vertical but it's a fast chair and rarely has long lift lines, so just keep lapping it.
6) Get there early. On a good day, get there even earlier. The parking lot is too small and there's no room to make it bigger.
7) On a busy day, eat lunch early, or late, or eat in the hotel restaurant instead of the main day lodge. The day lodge is too small (a new day lodge is apparently coming in 2014/2015.)
November 15, 2013
matt from Canada
I live in Calgary and have been skiing Sunshine, Nakiska, Lake Louise, Fernie, Whitefish, and Kicking Horse for the last 10 years basically. Besides Kicking Horse, Sunshine is my favourite. While the food sucks, and is super expensive, the hill is great. I love how you can take long lifts (Goats Eyes, Continental and Angle) but also take many short lifts like Standish and Wawa. This gives you more options of how you want to utilize your time on the hill. Also, they usually get some of most snow in the area in comparison to Lake Louise, Nakiska, and Norquay. Also, there are lots of easily accessible great runs with many awesome natural features like cliffs and shoots. Lots of easy hiking to find powder when it hasn't snowed. Staff are always friendly too. And for the icing on top, it's only an hour and a half from Calgary on a bad day. But, if I could recommend anywhere in the world on a powder day, go to Kicking Horse: the best hill in North America. Used to be a heli skiing destination and recently has been turned into a ski hill. Some of the craziest in bound skiing in the world.
November 15, 2013
Rich from Canada
I saw a review at the top of the page and couldn't believe the guy was at the same Sunshine Village where I ride. Sunshine has terrific, predictable snow I've ridden there every month from November through May. I have a green runner, 3 blue runners and 1 black runner in the family. All of us have a great time.
We think Sunshine is beautiful, though we wouldn't disagree that there are other resorts that are just as beautiful or more so. We come for the snow!
Regarding flat spots, yup there are some. There are flat spots everywhere I've ever ridden and that includes, Winter Park, Whistler, Breckenridge, Lake Louise, Nakiska and Sunshine. Ya have to get to know the place, just like every other resort on the planet.
Food is good, not great, perfectly acceptable for a day on the hill. If you want high end cuisine, make the drive into Banff. There are several high end restaurants that will satisfy the foodies in your family. (I have not eaten in the Resort - and can't speak to the quality of the food there.)
We go to Sunshine because it is a slightly more than an hour from Calgary and we find the conditions consistently better than Lake Louise - which we also love.
If you're seeking picturesque with unpredictable conditions - then go to Lake Louise - awesome hill after a big dump. Be prepared to stand in line if you are riding the front side of the mountain. (We stay on the backside.)
If you want short lines and long open runs.....Sunshine wins for us.
Here's wishing all of you an amazing season filled with lots of powder and beautiful days.
November 15, 2013
Mike from Canada
Skip it and head to the Kootenays. Whitewater, Red Mountain and Fernie are a shit ton better with way more snow, better terrain and no crowds. If your thing is to spend the day dodging rich douchebags then head to Sunshine; there's definitely no lack of those around.
April 11, 2013
Zach from Canada
Definitely not my favourite hill. I'm not here to complain about management and such, but the hill isn't great either. Many flat spots and all of the good runs take forever to hike out of. Although the snow can be pretty good at times, there aren't any good runs that have enough vertical to enjoy it. You'll get to the top of a chair, ski along some flat, go down 20 m of actual vertical, ski flat to the chair and do it again. I would not recommend this mountain to anyone. Although the turn off is before Lake Louise, you still have to go up the access road to a usually packed parking lot where you still have to go up a 5-10 min gondola ride. By then you could already be Louise. Waste of money.
March 24, 2013
Charlie from Canada
This hill has the worst, and some of the most expensive food and beverage service on earth. The people who complain about the food here are spot on, and the best possible thing you can buy once in the village is probably a power bar. Bring your own lunch.
The visibility is often poor here, there are flat spots on the hill that mean you must spend at least a day learning where you can and cannot slow down, or you will spend a lot of time walking.
The management and ownership of the hill seem to spend what little investment they have in pointless infrastructure. They prettified the hotel a couple of years ago without actually recruiting (and treating well enough to retain) any competent staff. The patrol do not seem able to consistently open much of the mountain, yet ten years ago closures were rare.
Given all that, you might wonder why anyone goes here. The answer is simple. The very best snow, and the longest season in the entire world. You can ski here for seven months of the year, and find deep powder days in five or six of those months. The terrain is varied, with drops, cliffs, chutes, challenging trees and gorgeous powder bowls. People in the know fly here from France, Germany and Switzerland. You might wonder why people who can hop a bus to the Alps are flying here and putting up with crap service? Because it's one of the finest places to ski on earth.
Don't get me wrong. The current owners should have their lease revoked by the parks, and the hill awarded to someone who might actually treat it with the respect it deserves. Pack a lunch, because you would rather eat prison food in Somalia than choke down a burger in their pub (how the hell do you even cook ground beef without any browning at all?) for god's sake do whatever it takes, up to pitching an RV camp in the parking lot to avoid the on hill debacle of a hotel.
And ski your guts out. All the mismanagement and incompetence displayed on a daily basis by the management of this hill cannot destroy one of the finest playgrounds ever sculpted by nature.
March 21, 2013
Skithedivide from Canada
Awesome snow - best in Rockies - most important attribute. Lots of room - rarely crowded except in parking lot on weekends. Food is horrible - best bet is coffee shop. Wide open runs. Could choose to go elsewhere, but almost never do. Maintenance of equipment is above other ski hills.