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
charlie 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.
December 29, 2008
RACR from Ski Canada Canada
Sunshine (Sunshine Village) is ok; closer than lake Louise and not as one-dimensional as Norqay or Nakiska. My main beef with Sunshine is the fact that it is laid out poorly. Most of the blue and black runs are short and some of them even have flat sections in them which makes parts of them look like greens. The reason is that the terrain is mainly rolling - many bowls too - makes you have to stop and take a look before skiing into terrain you can't see from the top of the run. Sunshine also does by far the worst job I have ever seen of grooming its runs - on or after snow days most runs are just heaps of carved up and shoved together snow mounds - terrible. A resort consists of lifts AND runs and they may want to pay some attention to that at Sunshine. On the positive, Sunshine does have a long season, gets lots of good snow and has something for everyone, even if it is geared towards the green/blue crowd.
December 26, 2008
Alberta Skier from Ski Canada Canada
Compared to most other ski hills in the Canadian Rockies, Sunshine (Sunshine Village) has rather unique terrain. The main problem with the place as a whole is that it's almost impossible to find a long, sustained fall-line. The terrain is so sprawling and laid out, with short little pitches of steep terrain, so on one run you can usually only catch one, maybe two short pitches, and the rest is mellow cruising, traversing, even skating or walking. Those short steep pitches that are there however, are quite excellent. Small cliffs, stashes of powder and some steep turns, even if you'll only link a few at a time. Delerium Dive is awesome. Sick, steep, big-mountain-style terrain, and a long fall-line descent. It is the only terrain in the Rockies that really comes close to the expert terrain in places like Whistler. But anyone comparing Sunshine to Whistler is crazy; it's two different leagues. Sunshine doesn't have NEARLY as much expert terrain as Whistler. Delerium is very often closed completely. You need avi gear to get to it. Runs & chutes are poorly marked so it's very hard to find your way around and it takes you forever to lap back there on three chairlifts and a bootpack. The snow that so many people rave about is indeed quite consistent and good if you compare it to other Banff/Bow Valley hills like Louise. But compared to British Columbia (Fernie, Nelson, Revelstoke, etc.), or the coast, (Whistler, Baker, etc.) it doesn't come close. Alberta is just too cold and dry to get the fat powder that BC gets. Much of the mountain is in the open alpine, and there is very limited gladed tree skiing at Sunshine. White-outs at Sunshine are infamous. Still, Sunshine (Sunshine Village) is a "full-size" Canadian ski hill, with some sick terrain to be found, and consistent snowfall. On a blue day, the scenery is stunning. I've had dozens of great, great days skiing there. :)
December 20, 2008
KR from Ski Canada Canada
Sunshine Village is by far the best ski resort in Alberta. Sure, Louise may have better terrain, and a few more steeps but it does not matter when you are skiing on ice. I've had some of my best ski days at Louise, but it has always been on powder days. Sunshine always has good snow on the hard runs. Many people say sunshine has no steeps, well they have plenty if you know where to look. The far side chutes off Goats Eye Express has some of the best fall line skiing in bounds anywhere. Not to mention Delirium Dive that has the most gnarly inbounds terrain anywhere. Sunshine Village has the most consistent snow anywhere in the rockies except maybe Whistler. One of the downfalls at Sunshine Village is the flats, but these can be easily avoided if you know where to go. Some of the best jumps are of the top of Wawa, where you can take the back-country exit and hit some huge jumps landing in pow or just skiing it. Goats Eye is by far the best part of the hill.
December 14, 2008
John Wilcox from Ski Canada Canada
For my money, you simply can't beat the snow at Sunshine Village; right from late November through to May. Show where else you can get consistent natural snow like that? Sure, Fernie has its powder days, and Revelstoke is awesome in its prime. But nobody is seven months gnarly like Sunshine Village.
December 13, 2008
skiguy from Ski Canada Canada
I think it takes some knowledge in where to go at Sunshine Village. Whistler is awesome for sure, easy to know the runs, even to get to the easy hikes and pretty obvious. Delerium is much more intimidating, and requires equipment. I haven't even learned the other hikes myself yet, hoping to figure it out. I agree with the flats that are pretty brutal at Sunshine Village, but I think they can be avoided if you figure it out. Overrated? Probably, just because it's been a legacy hill, doesn't take away from a decent hill though. Decent snow, though I remember many icy days. Whistler gets more snow probably, but usually heavy and wet. Sunshine's been pretty good so far this year, cold right now. Just trade-offs all around I guess. Banff is a great town. Sure, lots of visitors, but still has local hill feeling. Opposed to Whistler where's it feels purely Intrawest. People in Banff are among the friendliest for sure, and don't discriminate against families and beginners. They just enjoy the lifestyle and enjoy sharing it. If you're a beginner/intermediate/family, good spot at Sunshine Village. If you're advanced/expert, I think you need some local/guide advice/partners, then you're fine. Looking for better powder, go cat/heli somewhere I guess.
December 09, 2008
Fallline from Ski Canada Canada
It never ceases to amaze me how negative people are. Get a life people. Sunshine Village is an amazing facility in many respects. It's snowing so get out there and have some fun.
December 05, 2008
Local skier from Ski Canada Canada
Sunshine Village has perhaps the best PR plan but it is overrated and too expensive for what you get: way too much fooling around to even get to the slopes, way too much ski out at bottom of what are short runs (I don't know why snowboarders are content to drag their boards across the ever present flats when they could slide to the lifts at other resorts - maybe its because Sunshine Village has the "best" snow), not to mention the lack of support for family skiing (don't honour snowpass system like almost all other resorts in AB and BC.)
December 01, 2008
Bob from Ski Canada Canada
Very friendly staff, full of kids on snowboards jumping and doing their best to annoy the rest of the skiers. Some green runs are like stairs; very steep down and then you have to take your skis to climb!! Food is not too expensive; snow and views are great!
November 29, 2008
Dinglenuts from Ski Canada Canada
Sunshine Village is awesome if you are looking to go riding in the spring! Also anybody who is challenging the environmental impacts of Sunshine Village should really read all about the fact that they are the most environmentally friendly ski area in North America and by their own initiative and not federal legislation. Regardless, don't expect anything too gnarly unless you are looking at rocket pocket and also expect not to see much sunshine!