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

January 03, 2009
from Ski Canada Canada
Most of the poor reviews for Sunshine (Sunshine Village) seem to center on the numerous 'flat spots' on the hill. There is no denying this, but all you need to do is attach yourself to a knowledgeable local for a day, and you will learn everything you need to navigate the hill. Once you know Sunshine, it is the best hill in Alberta by far, with loads of hugely technical chute and terrain skiing, gorgeous powder bowls, and a real lack of Armani-clad Eurotrash poseurs (yeah, I'm looking at you, Louise and whistler). Sunshine gets tons of dry fluffy snow, and on runs like Tipi-town, Standish, and the bowls of Wa-Wa, ten centimeters becomes 2ft of fresh every time. The lack of exposed wind surfaces, and the lack of snow-making equipment means there is almost no icing, even in spring conditions. Grooming is minimal, there is enough corduroy for the greenies to be able to learn, but otherwise the staff spend their time maintaining snow-fences, farming the copious snow, and marking hazards. I have seldom been on a mountain with more varied terrain, and best of all, almost every run has a green path, a blue path, and a black one, so skiers of varying ability can ski together all day and never be bored. The mountain is in the park, which means, thankfully, that it has been spared the Disneyesque marketing fairy-tale ski village treatment. There is an on-hill hotel, with the best hot tub I have ever been in, but otherwise this is your fathers ski-hill: cafeteria trays, friendly bartender in trappers pub, and a good thing too. Who needs lodge lizards and posing bunnies? Aren't we here to ski? Patrol is by some of the friendliest and most knowledgeable skiers I've ever seen...and on slow days it's easy to ski a few runs and get a real feel for the mountain with them. In addition, sunshine has an excellent snow-host program, free, which pairs you up with a guide for a few hours. It's a good way to learn the basics of the mountain an avoid the flat spots everyone has been talking about... I sound like a cheerleader here, so let me give you the flaws as well. Parking here is really bad. You want to be at the hill by 8am, or you will be walking a long way to the base gondola. On days when you don't show up until 11, they have valet parking. It costs 20$, but it's worth it. You avoid a walk that could be 2km, or an hour wait for a shuttle bus. Another big minus for Sunshine is Goats Eye mountain. The skiing there is fantastic, if it has snow (which it has less than half the time.) It's frigidly cold, windswept, and usually rocky (but after a good dump, it's the best in-bounds skiing in the Rockies, bar none (caveat: I have not yet skied Revelstoke) But it's a big teasing pile of rocks, and drives me insane. The final thing I dislike about Sunshine is the prices, not that they are more expensive than anywhere else really; just that skiing in general is overpriced.
January 08, 2009
from Ski Canada Canada
Sunshine (Sunshine Village) is a lot of fun, and is the most consistent mountain for snow in the Calgary area (other than Fernie in Jan & Feb). If you have never been to Sunshine and are there on a busy day try stopping at the mid station on your way up (most people go straight to the top and it gets crowded there to start the day). Both Delerium and the backside of Wawa typically have the best snow on the mountain and both will bring big smiles. The ski out can be a bit nasty almost any time of year so if you like your gear sometimes using the gondola is a good idea. As for accommodations staying on hill is overpriced. For the same cost you can stay at an awesome place like emerald lake and from there you can choose between Louise, Sunshine and Kicking Horse. Happy skiing & riding (Canada's best snow is Powder King).
March 05, 2009
from Ski Canada Canada
Sunshine Village can have its good days but this season and last they have been few and far between. When there is snow it can be fun, with the emphasis on can be. The mountain is flat for the most part. Yeah, there are a few drops at Sunshine Village in Garbage and Headwall but they get tracked fast and then there is nothing left. Do yourself a favour and go to a real mountain like Louise, Fernie or Revelstoke. What use is 2 feet of powder when there is no speed to cruise through it
March 16, 2009
from Ski Canada Canada
It is partly true that there are no steeps at Sunshine Village. The parts included are Satandish, Wawa, and Lookout. But get on Goats Eye and numerous steeps can be found, such as The Chutes, Hells kitchen, Freefall, along with some good glading. The hiking trail to the top of Goats Eye and to The Chutes brings you to fantastic stuff, which is steep and gathers tons of snow. Anywhere on Goats is a significant amount more than the report says, making it fantastic. Delirium dive, is steep, deep and long. If the hill (Sunshine Village) is reporting 10, it's 20 in the dive. Long and steep fall line descents can be found that they can't find anywhere in Cananad. I know I'm sounding like a Sunshine freak, so here is the bad stuff. The lift system at Sunshine Village is awful, as Angel should have just been extended to the top of Lookout. Sunshine Village is windy and barren. I have skied days where the hill has had to close because of wind. Tipi town is awesome, and doesn't get skied because of the nasty chair. If you're willing to sit on wood for ten minutes it is worth it. Great backcountry at Sunshine, especially off Wawa.
December 21, 2009
from Ski Canada Canada
Sunshine is a good hill for beginners and intermediates because except for a very few black runs, that's the only kind of runs they have there. It's all green and blue, in spite of what they claim on their map. The only black runs are one run down teepee town and a couple runs on goats eye. The goats eye run itself is half above the tree line on a wind swept mountain. Even in the height of the season you'll be digging up rocks, they can't keep snow on it even with the permanent snow fences they have up there. The expert runs on the bottom half of goats eye are small and get heavy traffic so the snow on the steep sections always gets pushed away right down to bare earth making it necessary to close them. So many times I've been to Sunshine when they advertise "all runs all lifts open" and you get there to find several runs on Goats eye closed due to "marginal conditions". False advertising in my books. Another bone of contention is the hype they make over the Delirium run. After you walk down the steel staircase with guard rails and hand rails to get to the run, it's just a normal run. Nothing scary, nothing unusual. There are many many steeper runs on the back side of Louise and half the runs at Red mountain are steeper and scarier with no hype and labeled as black runs, not double black. Dileruim starts out moderately steep, but wide open and easy to turn on. After a half dozen turns it mellows right out to the steepness of a good blue run for the rest of the ride down. Then once you're at the bottom you have a 10 to 15 minute hike out, and that's if there is a packed trail. If you have to break trail count on a half hour hike out. They don't mention that little factoid in their marketing hype. All in all a good area if you don't want anything challenging, and you don't mind short runs. Most of the runs are really really short. I think they have the record for the shortest length detachable quad lift on the planet, check out Jackrabbit.
January 23, 2010
from Ski Australia Australia
The bus system at Sunshine Village is the biggest joke I have seen in the world. You have to pay to get to the mountain and there are like 5 buses going up in the morning. We wanted to go up later one day after 11am: bad luck no buses after 11am. So we had to pay 50 dollars to get a taxi there and 10 for the bus back. The lines for the buses back are horrible. So many taxes to pay yet they can't supply a bus to get from Banff to the hill. I just bought a season pass to Sunshine, what a mistake!! They don't even have a lift at the park. You have to get a seperate lift that goes straight past it. I hope the powder days make up for it!!!!
March 08, 2010
from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
I can only presume that all these negative people have never ski'd or boarded in Europe. Next week will be my 4th visit to Sunshine Village and I can not wait! Sunshine is worth every penny and the 9 hour flight to get there. I would suggest that anyone going to a new resort does some investigation before they go, as all the bus times and information on the resort can be found on the internet, so leaving it till you get there and still whinging is no excuse. I would swap the bus system in Banff any day for the hectic sardine cans they call ski buses in Europe. At least you are guaranteed to be taken and not left behind!. Don't get me wrong, when the conditions are good, the Alps are a great place to be, but the people of Canada are just so lucky to have this place on their doorstep. I have never waited more than 2 mins for a lift in either Sunshine (Sunshine Village) or Lake Louise even at the weekend and even when the locals say that the snow is bad, compared to the icy slopes of the Alps at this time of the year, the snow at Sunshine is always great to me! I would suggest that you stop moaning and start enjoying what is one of the most breathtaking and fun places on earth!
March 17, 2010
from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
All of you moaners need to chill out. There is some seriously good stuff to ride at Sunshine (Sunshine Village). It's been a strange season across Canada, but for what we have had the snow has held up amazingly! There is some properly fun stuff to hit on Standish, you just need to to know the routes.....and no...they're not impossible to find, just ride it a couple of times. When there is powder Goats Eye has got some good good runs, steep, fast, open and smashing through the trees with things to hit everywhere. Sounds like the bus pass is a bit of a joke, my best tip for that is just walk to the train line in Banff and hitch a lift. I've never waited more than 15 minutes and a really good way to meet people. Anyways...the more people moan about it the less will come. Sunshine Lifty
March 29, 2010
from Ski Canada Canada
Sunshine Village is an epic ski hill but absolutely disgusting food that is grossly over-priced so bring a packed, healthy lunch and save yourself lots of money. The Goatseye "daylodge" is a bunch of trailers with filthy washrooms that haven't ever been properly cleaned. Good thing the skiing makes up for the other stuff at Sunshine Village.
April 19, 2010
from Ski Canada Canada
Snow: excellent quality & lots of it. Conditions at Sunshine Village are such that it is generally nice for longer than average. Very long season (goes to late May). I spend a lot of time here in the late season. Terrain: highly varied. Something for literally everyone. Terrain park and lots of rocks, cliffs and other features for the park rats. Ultra steeps for the adrenaline junkies. Moguls. Back-country tree runs off Wawa are excellent. Lots of good learner runs too. Flats are no worse than at Louise. The worst flats are in some of the ski-out routes, but these can mostly be avoided. (Hint: For an easier ski-out, go up the Jack-Rabbit lift on your way out.) Beginner boarders who are worn out at the end of their day might want to consider taking the gondola down. Mountain Layout: very broad, but not particularly high. Probably more than 90% of the terrain is above the 2200m mark, or "midpoint" on this site's forecast. The lower mountain is mostly ski-out, which you will probably go over just twice a day. Having most of the terrain at the top of the mountain is probably a big reason why the snow stays nice for such a long time here. Your typical run will be relatively brief, as compared to Kicking Horse, Revelstoke, or even Lake Louise, but lift lineups are usually shorter than any of the above mentioned resorts, especially at out of the way lifts like Teepee Town. Amenities: typical ski hill food. There's cafeteria crud, outdoor grill dogs and burgers, and a couple of sit down restaurants that will taste a lot better but grind upwards of an hour off your day and fill your belly with lead that will only slow you down for the rest of the afternoon. The only thing that seems pricier than other resorts is the drinks (e.g. bottled water prices are murder here!). Haven't stayed at the hotel, but I hear good things. Parking: the lot next to the gondola is very small for a resort that gets this much traffic. There are small places to park along the side of the road coming in and, if you arrive later in the morning, you'll most likely wind up parking a long ways from the gondola. Fortunately, Sunshine Village resort runs fairly frequent shuttle buses that will get you to the gondola in short order. Leaving at the end of the day can be a bit of a fustercluck though. Take it easy and have a coffee. The shuttles will keep running until the lineups are gone. Tips for a perfect day: -Try to arrive early if it's a powder day so you can park close. -Bring sunscreen. On a sunny day you'll need it here because of the altitude. -Bring a water bottle or canteen. Stay hydrated without paying through the nose! -If it's spring and there are freeze-thaw conditions, start your day out on Wawa. It gets the most sun early in the morning. Rotate around to other mountains as they thaw. -Don't be afraid of the Teepee Town chair. It might be an ancient two-seater that's a bit of an adventure getting on to, but it usually has next to no line-up and services some very nice terrain.