Ski Canada - Alberta

Sunshine Village Resort Reviews

Ski Canada - Alberta

Sunshine Village Resort Reviews

Visitor reviews for Sunshine Village Ski Resort

Sunshine Village Ratings

Overall: 3.4. Based on 59 votes and 101 reviews. Vote

Access: 3.8

(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: 3.6

(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.

Scenery: 4.6

(1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.

Accommodation: 3.5

(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: 2.8

(1) No budget accommodation available, (3) just one or two hostels so book ahead, (5) several cheap hostels and pensions available.

Luxury Hotels: 3.9

(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: 3.5

(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.

Childcare: 3.6

(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.

Snowsure: 4.5

(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.

Snowmaking: 1.7

(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: 3.9

(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.

Shelter: 3.3

(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: 3.1

(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: 4.5

(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.

Crowds/Queues: 3.7

(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: 4.0

(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: 4.1

(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.

Beginners: 4.0

(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.

Intermediates: 4.3

(1) No intermediate terrain at Sunshine Village, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.

Advanced: 4.0

(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: 3.7

(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.

Off-piste: 4.0

(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.

Cross-country: 2.2

(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.

Luge/Toboggan: 1.3

(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: 2.9

(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.

Eating: 3.2

(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.

Apres-Ski: 3.1

(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.

Entertainment: 2.5

(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: 2.7

(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): 3.5

(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.

Show all 35 ratings

May 14, 2006
from Ski Canada Canada
Sunshine is a good resort, but I prefer Lake Louise and the nearby resorts in British Columbia. Sunshine usually has great snow quality and gets more snow than anywhere nearby (except Fernie). However, they have added snowmaking to the ski out and places that get thin. It is no longer 100% natural, but the coverage is better in places that get rocky. On the actual skiing runs, there is still nearly all natual snow, so it hardly ever is icy except on mornings of Spring re-freeze. Terrain is somewhat lacking though. It is more rolly than sustained, steep mountains. For beginners and intermediates, it is a great place because the snow is good and there are few places that you can really get into trouble in. Generally, even the hardest runs are short and should be managable for less experienced skiers who get lost. From an expert's perspective, the best skiing is Delerium Dive, and the Wild Side chutes on Goat's Eye. Both offer steep, alpine-style chute skiing, but Goat's eye does not get as good snow as the rest of the mountain, and Delerium is difficult to access. First, avalanche gear is required to access Delerium. Second, a short hike is required into the Dive, and a skate/walk out. Thirdly, it takes three lifts to do a lap on the dive, and much of the vertical of the lifts is wasted. I do not like the lift arrangement of Sunshine. It is often busy, and Standish Chair, especially, can have bad lineups. The Angel Chair should have been extended higher by about three towers, instead of needing the Devide chair to get that last vertical. One thing to remember is that while Sunshine is closer than Lake Louise, you must take the gondola to reach the ski lifts. If you want first tracks at 9am, plan an extra 20 minutes or so for the gondola.
March 19, 2006
from Ski Canada Canada
Sunshine has by far the best grooming in Canada. The bald old guy who drives the snowcat is very handsome.
March 06, 2006
from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Sunshine is a fantastic resort, and for my first visit to Canada was a completely pleasant surprise after many years of visiting European resorts. I stayed at the Sunshine Inn which is one of about nine buildings in the "village" and can only be reached via the gondola. We were lucky enough to have a day where the gondola was closed for maintenance. Half a metre fell the night before and the ensuing day was sunny, so with less than 150 people in the resort, it was a dream day for boarding. So, plus points: - easy to get to; 2 hours from Calgary in an easy drive through stunning scenery - it is true, they get much more snow than neighbouring resorts - very friendly and excellent value - remarkable terrain - excellent ski school and instructors/guides - no drag lifts or t's The only real downside I can think of is that most of the lifts are quite short, although saying that, there were no queues to speak of and plenty of fun to be had in the gullies and trees. If you want a real challenge, see how fast you can get down the narrow, twisty Eagle Creek run on the Goat's Eye mountain - including jumping the waterfall!
February 06, 2006
from Ski Australia Australia
Yeah, you really can't bag Sunshine. I did a season out of Banff and have a soft spot for it. Firstly it's pretty rare for the snow to be icy there. The natural snow is alway easy to hold an edge on and if it hasn't snowed in a few weeks Lake Louise will DEFINATELY be more icey. Sunshine always has a park (unless there's no snow) but it isn't as big as the one at Lake Louise. Sunshine in general is a pretty flat resort but that doesn't matter if it's snowed less than 15cm as there is heaps of stuff to jump off and some steeps if you know where to go. In my opion if you're on holidays from Europe and an intermediate skier, go to Sunshine (especially if it snows lightly), and Lake Louise if it dumps. But if you're in Banff you must go to Lake Louise for at least one sunny day, it's got a wicked view.
January 31, 2006
from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Anyone worried about post number 5 can simply ignore ALL those comments! I have been to Sunshine 5 times, and it consistently has better snow than Louise, as it's all natural (actually I saw a snow gun firing on the webcam in early November, but I think it was only to fill in the road used in Summer). Very often it dumps up at Sunshine when Banff townsite gets nill. It doesn't get as much as Whitsler but lets face it, it NEVER rains in the village either (at least from Dec to Mar). Banff itself is a wonderful little town, only lacking in some serious nightlife. Loads of shops and restaurants and Calgary is only 1hr 30mins or so away. The scenary doesn't get much better, and you're very likely to see deer, eld, caribou etc outside your hotel, especialy if you're out of the centre. Like previously mentioned, there are only 2 negative points worth mentioning. 1. It can get very cold. 3 out of the 4 times I've been around early January and have seen daytimes highs around -25. But for me this only adds to the experience. 2. And granted it is busy over holidays i.e Xmas, but only the holidays. But rest assured its not near as bad as places I have been in Europe. You may have to queue for 10mins for a lift. Louise gets busier, but only at the base. Maybe the new gondola has fixed that though, I'll just have to go and find out :) In conclusion: My favourite place to ski with by far the most consistent snow conditions I have ever witnessed (including the Colorado Rockies).
January 23, 2006
from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
I have been here twice and this place is great! Plenty of REAL snow (none of its man made), lifts not busy and fast, all chair, no drag lifts. My wife and I are intermediate level and by the end of the holiday had managed runs from every lift there. The scenery is spectacular from where ever you look, it's the Rockies after all! We stayed in Banff, the busses (there are loads) pick you up outside the hotels and drop you at the gondola, dead easy. All the staff are very friendly and really seem pleased to see you there, having fun. There are two or three places to eat (trappers inn was best) and the food/drink is fairly priced with good Canadian sized portions! Drink of the holiday was hot choc & Baileys. Get yourself there...p.s your ski area pass also includes buses and entry to Mount Norquay and Lake Louise. Lake Louise is more of the same and is even bigger than Sunshine. I could go on, but I wont!!!
January 19, 2006
from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
I don't know what the guy is whining at either! I live in the UK and if you think the queues are bad at Sunshine then you have not been to France! I prefer Sunshine to the Lake because the snow quality is much better then the man made ice in the Lake.
December 19, 2005
from Ski Canada Canada
I have lived in Banff the last 11 winters, and love both Sunshine and Louise. But I have no idea what that person is complaining about. Fact: Sunshine gets more snow than Louise. Fact: Sunshine has a terrain park (how can he says it doesn't?) Fact: Sunshine does not close in mid-April (where did he get that; I have never heard of the resort EVER closing in April), rather during the Queen Victoria holiday in May; this year that is May, 22, 2006. Sunshine has some of the best spring skiing anywhere; I challege you to find better skiing in May.
December 12, 2005
from Ski Canada Canada
We ski Sunshine very regularly and prefer it to Lake Louise because it is closer, the snow is usually much better, the season is longer, and the family season pass is much more affordable. Strong points of Sunshine are some good powder days, and a large selection of runs ranging from way too flat to some very good steeps and glade skiing (mostly on Goat's Eye Mt., but the Teepee Town and Standish areas are good too). Have had some wonderful days in April and May, but March is the safest bet for good coverage and weather. Drawbacks include windy days and days with poor visibility above tree line (which includes a lot of the resort), and some days where the slopes are just too busy (lift lines are usually not too horrible on those days, since most of the old lifts have been replaced by quads, many high speed). It can also get cold, for those not used to Canadian winters. Parking lot gets full very quickly on good/busy days so it is worth leaving Calgary by 7:30. Early season skiing can be good, but they tend to open some areas far too soon, and conditions on a lot of the black runs are still pretty marginal in December some years. Lots of rocks, and they often don't get covered until the snow base is well over 100 cm. Still the best skiing close to Calgary. And there is a terrain park, contrary to what the previous poster says.
November 14, 2005
from Ski Canada Canada
Sunshine is a crappy resort thats only good run is The Dive and has a flat and icy run-out from all upper mountain runs. Closes in mid april usually and u need to wait for hours to get to the bottom. Lake Louise on the other hand has way better terrian and awsome big mountain and park skiing. Sunshine village also has no park and lies to all saying they get more or same amout of snow as Whistler (my lawn had more snow than Whistler last year, but I take your point - ed.) Lake Louise all the way.