Banff is one of the most beautiful places in the World. People come from across the globe to experience its beauty and its adventures. Jack London once said, “The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” Sunshine Village is a darn good use of your time.
Sunshine Village is one of Banff’s three ski areas. On my GNASA I came North on Route 95 from Fernie to Radium Hot Springs. I then took Route 93 through Banff National Park to Highway 1 and East to Banff. The drive through the Park took about 2 hours to reach Banff. It was some of the most breathtaking scenery I’ve ever seen: literally takes your breath away.
The main skiing area of Sunshine Village is nestled in the mountains 500 meters (1,600 feet) above the parking lots (Gondola Base). You’ll take an 8 passenger high-speed gondola 4,300 meters (14,000 ft) long to reach the main base area. From here, you’ll have access to Sunshine’s main mountains: Standish, Lookout, and Goat’s Eye. Goats Eye is the Mountain you passed on the Gondola.
Sunshine is really the story of three different experiences. Inbound expert skiing on Goat’s Eye. Restricted expert skiing in two Freeride Zones, Delirium, and The Wild West. And the rest of the mountain. If you’re an expert skier, and the extreme terrain is open, hooyah!
Sunshine Village Expert Skiing
When Sunshine Village’s extreme terrain is open, the resort ranks among the world’s best for challenging ski terrain.
The resorts showpiece for extreme skiing is Delerium Dive.
Delirium Dive. Few areas offer their own, in bounds, extreme skier mountain. Sunshine Village was one of the first, and Delirium Dive remains an area on every knowledgeable expert’s bucket list. This fabled Alpine Cirque is a short hike above the Great Divide Express Quad. Many of the first runs have 50 plus degree slopes. There’s a staircase down to some easier access points, but all that’s relative in Delirium. Find a local or guide for this bad boy. Without one, its easy to find yourself over a 20 or 40 foot cliff requiring a hike out or jump.
See these cool shots of Delirium:
Also see here.
The Wild West. Why offer one extreme area when you can offer two. This is a very serious extreme area. The Wild West is part of Goat’s Eye Mountain and is visible from the mid-point of the high-speed gondola. If you like an abundance of terrain features, The Wild West has got them: three rock-walled couloirs, crevices and cliffs. Again, find a local or a guide.
Goats Eye Mountain. If you can’t muster the courage for the extreme areas at Sunshine, Goat’s Eye Mountain will not disappoint. This is a really great Mountain. There are a number of classic lines to ski. These are collectively known as the South Side Chutes. If you stay high on the hike and then traverse under some rock cliffs you can hit Saddledome, Stampede, Renegade and Think Again. Or you can drop in earlier and ski Ewe First, Mother-in-Law, Goat’s Head Soup, Farside, and Wildside. If you like glade skiing, drop a bit below the chair into Cleavage. You can also ski under the Chair for a few hundred yards and then break right to Hell’s Kitchen, stay under the Chair, or left to Freefall. All in all, this is a really fun area.
Sunshine is known for its long season. It’s elevation is relatively high for the Canadian Rockies and there are lots of Northern facing aspects. Stay high and North facing when snow is in limited supply.
They offer guides at Sunshine. If you can, use them if it’s your first time into Freeride Zones.