[R448R, Sunshine Village] opened the new west wing of Sunshine Mountain Lodge in early December, just in time for the holidays. The lodge, which sits at 7,200 feet, is only accessible via Sunshine's gondola.

The lodge's new wing, which opened Dec. 3, includes luxury rooms for families and premium rooms with jetted tubs, cozy in-floor heating, in-wall gas fireplaces, flat panel televisions, and Internet access. Its large, two-bathroom new loft suites can accommodate up to six adults.

Premium suite packages start from $187.50 CAD per person per night including the next day's skiing or riding. The loft suites start at $237.50 CAD per person per night, including skiing.

Little skiers and riders can stop by the Sunshine Mountain Lodge to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus on Dec. 20 from 1 to 3 p.m. Photos taken with Santa can be emailed the following day.

Those staying at the Sunshine Mountain Lodge also get a treat on Christmas Eve when employees put on the Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade. The parade of lights winds down Strawberry Face at 7 p.m. Watching the parade while dining is best done from the Chimney Corner Lounge or Mad Trapper's Saloon. A second torchlight parade is scheduled for New Year's Eve.

Santa Claus shows up again on Christmas Day. He plans to start his day handing out Christmas treats in the base area near the gondola before riding to the village at 10:30 a.m. to visit the daycare for photos. He'll be on the slopes skiing with a short break at noon for cookies and milk.

More information. Or call 87-SKI-BANFF.