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: 3.5. Based on 62 votes and 102 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: 3.4

(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.

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: 4.6

(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: 1.8

(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: 4.0

(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: 3.4

(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: 3.2

(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: 4.3

(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: 2.3

(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: 3.0

(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: 2.1

(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

November 29, 2013
John from Canmore from Ski Canada 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.)
April 26, 2019
David - Wizey from Ski Canada Canada
With Fortress out of order, who really cares!? But, Sunshine has the views, sun and w/Goats eye. There are many hidden spots with challenges. Try Castle for a fun day but, similar to Fortress, it can see windy days. Chutes are fun!
March 29, 2010
Brian 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.
March 15, 2011
Bob S from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
I love skiing in Canada but I've found this year's experience at Sunshine deeply disappointing. If I'd known I would have to walk across town to catch the ski bus I would have gone elsewhere. I've been tracking the snow safety/ski patrol debate with interest but the simple fact of the matter is that the best terrain at Sunshine is closed and doesn't look like opening this season. Lake Louise, whilst often having poorer, more weather affected snow, is a much better bet this season. Come on guys, stop treating your customers poorly. I hate the thought of going through US immigration but at this rate I'll be visiting Utah or Colorado before I come back to Banff.
May 11, 2011
kelly williams from Ski Canada Canada
Sunshine has the best spring skiing in the Rockies. Located only a few miles from Banff, Sunshine Village is beautiful. May 10th and I just skied powder. 3 Incredible mountains, my favorite is Goat's Eye. Daycare is excellent and my kids had fun. Delirium Dive is the most amazing run ever (need a peeps and shovel). I will be back for Slush Cup on May long weekend.
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.
April 11, 2013
Zach from Ski Canada 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.
February 06, 2006
Boarder 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.
May 14, 2011
Pete from Ski Canada Canada
This season has been amazing everywhere. It's hard to knock anything about any of the ski hills this year. Firstly, the patrol matter. I don't really care about it but it's understandable that they've blasted the hell out of the Dive this year. What would have happened if they hadn't done it enough and something happened. Screwed either way. To SSV (Sunshine Village): Advertising 9 super lifts is pushing it. Wawa may have the potential to be a superlift but it's always running slow, it would be lots better if it ran quicker. TeePee isn't a super lift! Jack rabbit? Strawberry? hmm... Need a drag/small lift to service the terrain park for the park rats, Divide chair is a pain in the arse if all you wanna do is lap both parts of the park (Lake Louise had you hands down on the terrain park this year). Also look after your seasons pass holders a bit better. I'd definitely go for the big 3 pass next year so I can go to Lake Louise more often (25c large drinks plus better, cheaper food & beer). SSV does have The Beef Burrito at Goats Eye which is the best value meal for season pass holders discount. However, the back-country at Sunshine was amazing this year and I certainly had a great time this season. Like I said before, I would buy the BIG3 next time so I can still ride Sunshine as well as Louise and Norquay on hangover days. Recommended but improvements need to be made to be a first class resort.
March 19, 2006
edna bumrooter from Ski Canada Canada
Sunshine has by far the best grooming in Canada. The bald old guy who drives the snowcat is very handsome.