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
graeham douglas 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.
November 01, 2006
Wanda Burnrooter from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
I too think my Dad who drives the snowcat is very handsome.
November 23, 2006
Lee from Ski Canada Canada
The fact is Sunshine is over-hyped rubbish. As the closest big hill to Calgary you can expect it to be busier than other resorts further down the road. I have witnessed traffic queuing on the access road all the way back to Highway 1. Once you have negotiated the traffic, parking and gondola you are greeted with a desolate, almost post-apocolyptic world. It must be the ugliest resort in the Canadian Rockies and it certainly lacks the atmosphere of smaller resorts. Yes Sunshine does get snow and there is little need for snowmaking and listening to some people bang on about this you'd think it was the only resort in the WORLD where this happens. I can think of two others just in the Rockies that don't make snow. What's the point in all this snow when the runs are boring and lifeless? The Delirium Dive and Goats Eye Mountain are obvious exceptions but that's what Sunshine lacks - consistently good runs. There is a real lack of the steep and the challenging and fun cruising runs. On a snowboard? Be prepared to clip off and walk uphill every 200 metres on the green runs. Lifts are arranged poorly and the whole place could do with going back to the drawing board. Save your time and money and check out the rest of the Rockies.
January 12, 2007
Derek from Ski Canada Canada
I couldn't disagree more with Lee and his review below. I've skied Sunshine for 25 years. It consistantly has the best snow in the Rockies (Fernie gets more, but it gets rain, so conditions are more variable; Louise gets less and pours ice all over the front faces; Kicking Horse gets lots but is a much smaller resort). There's lots of terrain at Sunshine, with awsome blacks and double blacks off Goats Eye and TP Town, and a sweet blue collection. Yes, the greens are flat, but they're supposed to be (they're green). Us locals wish the Government would permit a spruce up of the Village, but it's a National Park, and they are all heritage buildings. For instance, Mad Trappers has been there since the 1920's, and was the first ski cabin in the Rockies. Lee is also incorrect in that Sunshine isn't busier; skier visits are less than Louise each year, and Louise is 45 minutes down the road. Only once in 25 years I have seen the queue back to Hwy 1 (due to a road closure for avalanche control); get there at 9 and it's drive right into the main parking lot, and the Gondola line with the new high speed is non existant. Ski Goats Eye till noon, and even on the busiest days, it's step right on the lift with no lines. Tourists I meet from Britan love Banff and its surrounds; Sunshine's stunning views and great snow are a big favourite. Folks complain about the Gondola, but what goes up is a great ski out at the end of the day. It can get very cold here at all the Rockies resorts, but normally only in January, and only for a few days at a time. The combination of Louise, Sunshine, Norquay, with out-trips to Panorama and Kicking Horse means there's more incredible skiiing in the Banff area than you can imagine.
December 02, 2007
Rider from Ski Canada Canada
Ya. The place sucks. Go somewhere else, especially on weekends. On powder days it's so flat that you get stuck, even boarding at 20km/hr, right Lee. As for it going back to the drawing-board... Yes National Parks are still on a no bulldozer policy as far as I know. I hear there's some sick lines at COP.
December 07, 2007
John from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Yes, Sunshine does have some flat spots but after a couple of runs you should have figured out how to avoid them. If you are riding any of the challenging terrain you shouldn't have to worry about the flats anyway. As for the lift lines, on the weekdays you will never have to wait and on the weekends you might have to wait 5 or 10 minutes. If you don't want to wait at all on the weekends just go in the singles line or go to Goat's Eye.
December 21, 2007
Thiago from Ski Brazil Brazil
Very Good Resort, one of the best snow in the world, soft, abundant and dry!!! It's not as beautiful as Lake Louise, but it gets twice the snow. Its really interesting, Banff, Lake Louise and Sunshine are quite close each other, but Sunshine ALWAYS GET MUCH MORE SNOW then the other two... There is something for everyone, steeps, beginners... And Banff National Park is one of the most beautiful places in the world, it's certainly worth the experience!!!!
January 04, 2008
GibbersSUCK! from Ski Canada Canada
Sunshine really, really sucks if you're a snowboarder. Snowboarders should go ride at the Lake or anywhere else - in fact PLEASE go somewhere (anywhere) else ya freaks!
January 18, 2008
Janet Evans from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
My family (2 adults, one 16 year old and one 14 year old) went skiing from 22nd December to 2nd January 2007/8 and just had the best time. There are runs for all abilities. Yes, the lifts were busy at weekends and during the New Year holidays - but where isn't! As we are all good intermediates it was possible to ski away from the crowds. We got off at Goats Eye at Sunshine and that area was really quiet until about 11am and then it was not overly busy. We prefered Sunshine to Lake Louise - more options at Sunshine. All lift attendants very friendly and helpful. We all had a fantastic holiday. Stayed at the Banff Park Lodge - again brilliant. Canadian people are so polite and helpful - nothing ever too much trouble. Will be back one day.
February 14, 2008
Joe from Ski Canada Canada
Sunshine should be renamed. I propose Sunshine Cross Country Ski Area. The good hard runs are short and the "huge vertical" is not big at all. I have never seen a ski hill warp the truth and down right lie so much. The real vert is no more then 588 meters off of goats eye. They include the ski out in their stats which is certainly not a run. A bill-board on the way from Calgary proclaims " Closer, only 8km west of Banff" The turn off is 8km west of Banff, then another 6km down a twisty, poorly maintained road. Ya! your at the ski hill! O wait, five or ten minute walk to "the worlds fastest gondola" wait in line, then twenty more minutes stuffed in the gondola cabin with 7 other people till you're finally at the ski lifts. Sure, the snow is often better then other hills, but is it really worth it for tiny vertical, awful fall lines and huge line ups? I think not. Check out Louise or Norquay.