Sunshine Village ski resort
|Location||Banff National Park, Alberta
|Vertical||1,070 m (3,510 ft)|
|Top elevation||2,730 m (8,960 ft)|
|Base elevation||1,660 m (5,450 ft)|
|Skiable area||13.6 km2 (3,360.6 acres)|
55% more difficult
25% most difficult
|Lift system||1 gondola (8)
- 6 hi-speed quad
- 2 fixed-grip quad
- 1 double
2 magic carpets
|Lift capacity||20,000 / hr|
|Snowfall||914.4 cm (360.0 in)|
Sunshine Village is a Canadian ski resort, located within Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. It is one of three major ski resorts located in the Banff National Park. The Sunshine base area is located 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) Southwest of the town of Banff, Alberta. By car, it is about one hour and thirty minute drive from the city of Calgary. The Sunshine exit on the Trans Canada Highway is 8 km (5.0 mi) west of the town of Banff.
Sunshine Village ski runs and lifts are accessed via an eight-person high-speed gondola. The gondola takes people from the parking lot (or bus terminal) to Goat's Eye mountain in 10 minutes and to the upper Village area in 18 minutes. There are 10 chairlifts and 107 trails within the alpine valley formed by the three mountains (Mount Standish, Lookout Mountain, and Goat's Eye Mountain) that constitute Sunshine Village.
Bill Peyto may have been the first person to bring tourists through the Sunshine area. The eccentric Peyto was a toughened trapper and prospector. He was also a competent guide, as his rugged life gave him the skills required to face the often harsh realities of nature. In the 1890s Peyto would guide tourists through the Sunshine Meadows to the base of Mt. Assiniboine, the highest peak in the Southern Continental Ranges of the Canadian Rockies.
By the 1920s, Sunshine Meadows had become a popular camping site. Pat Brewster, the youngest son of dairyman John Brewster, was the first to regularly bring tourists for overnight camping at Sunshine Meadows. This area was nicknamed Tee Pee Town on account of the many tents that overnight campers would set there. Upon reaching the top of the Tee Pee Town chair lift today, one is looking over the same Sunshine Meadows that were busy with campers those many decades earlier.
In 1928, the Canadian Pacific Railway built a log cabin lodge for the use of The Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies, a club of horse enthusiasts who were sponsored by the tourist friendly railway. This cabin was certainly not the first lodge built in the region (Bill Peyto’s cabin near Simpson’s pass was built more than 30 years earlier), but it is now the oldest building at Sunshine Village and is known as the Old Sunshine Lodge. Housing Mad Trapper's Saloon and Bruno's Bistro, the OSL is situated at the timberline above what was then known as Wheeler’s Flats and just below a vast expanse of high alpine meadows.
In March 1929, Cliff White and Cyril Paris, two local extreme sports enthusiasts, created a plan to use the CPR cabin as an overnight point in their ski trek over the great divide. Unfortunately they could not find the cabin that night and were forced to sleep in a dug-out in the snow. Upon waking in the morning they discovered that they had only just missed the CPR cabin. These two men were the first to ski what is now known as Sunshine Village.
Many movies and TV specials have been filmed in the Sunshine area. Sunshine Village was utilized as a task destination for the season ending episode of the popular American reality television show The Amazing Race 5 (original broadcast date September, 2004). In the final 13th leg of this race, the three remaining teams took taxicabs from the Calgary International Airport to Banff’s Sunshine Village. After riding the gondola to the base of Lookout Mountain, the contestants donned snowshoes before making the approximate 2,000 vertical foot hike to the top ridge of the Great Divide (elevation 8,900 feet). Sunshine regularly host the Marjoe Gortner Celebrity Sports Invitational charity ski events to raise money for charities such as the Dream Foundation and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.'s Waterkeeper Alliance.
- SkiBanff - Mountain statistics
- Stats & Trail Maps - Sunshine Village - Banff Ski Resort, Canada
- Robert W. Sandford, Sunshine: Its Human and Natural Heritage, 1984