There’s only one sure way to nab first tracks in Banff: spend the night at Sunshine Mountain Lodge. None of the Banff ski areas offer ski in-ski out accommodations, except for Sunshine Village. That’s where to go if you want the first turns through virgin powder or slicing up the corduroy.
Here’s how to do it. Make reservations at Sunshine Mountain Lodge at Sunshine Village. You’ll check in at the Creekside Lodge adjacent to the Sunshine Village Gondola where you leave your luggage to be sent up to the lodge. Meanwhile, you can go ski.
After the lifts shut down for the day, the slopes at Sunshine vacate for the night. Check into your room at the Sunshine Mountain Lodge, located in Sunshine Village at the top of the gondola. Rooms and suites come in five configurations including lofts, but the upscale West Wing rooms include gas fireplaces, in-floor heating, huge floor-to-ceiling windows with views of Lookout Mountain, flat screen televisions, private decks, and an eco-conscious footprint.
Start your après in Mad Trapper’s Saloon with a local beer and chorizo sausage potato skins. Follow that with a soak in Sunshine Mountain Lodge’s giant outdoor hot pool that can fit 30 people.
For dinner, you don’t have to bundle up to go outdoors as dining is available right in the lodge. Settle in to the Eagle’s Nest Dining Room for a dinner of Alberta Beef Tenderloin with a Cabernet Sauce. The restaurant specializes in sustainable, locally sourced organic products.
In the morning, pack up your gear and let the lodge send it back down to the base area while you ski. Hit the Chimney Corner early for breakfast in time to be first at the lifts. That’s when you get the payoff with sweet turns before the bulk of the crowds even get up the 18-minute gondola.
Sunshine Mountain Lodge rooms generally run $140-530 per night with lower rates available midweek, non-holidays, and non-peak periods. Lift tickets are added on at a packaged rate, giving you a break on the ticket window price. Special lodging packages that include a lift ticket for the following day are often available; inquire about these. Skiers and snowboarders who stay three nights can get the fourth night for free.
Sunshine Village along with Sunshine Mountain Lodge stays open for skiing and snowboarding through May 20, 2013. The spring concert series runs the last four weekends of the season, and the final day culminates with the annual slush cup.
For reservations, call 877-754-7087 or go online. For availability, booking, and more information, look here.
Sunshine Village, Alberta
11th February 2013 - 20th May 2013
those who pay for three nights