Monday, December 2, 2013

The Hip + Urban Girl's Guide to Sunshine Mountain

With an elevation of 7200 feet, Sunshine Village has the longest non-glacier ski season in Canada! Meaning you can ski from November to May - crazy, I know. I had the chance to visit last April near the end of the season and the conditions were still soft and powdery. 

Located inside Banff National Park, Sunshine sits on the Continental Divide and even has a run that leads you into Alberta and British Columbia. If you're planning a trip to Banff, I recommend reserving a day or two to ski the beautiful Rocky Mountains.

Learning to Ski? The Ski & Ride Workshop is a group class and available at the very affordable price of $129 for a full day from 10:30 AM - 4 PM. If you're looking for something a bit shorter, a half day is available for $99 for two hours in the morning from 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM or in the afternoon from 2-4 PM.
Private Lessons - For one-on-one time a full day private ski lesson runs from 10 AM - 4 PM for $559 and a great way to perfect your technique with a seasoned instructor. A half day option is available for $349. I spent a day with a private coach and he was able to watch all my mistakes, correct them and I improved within a day. All I needed was a lot more practice to build my confidence. I learned to ski less than a year ago and it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be!

If you know how-to ski but just haven't done so in a few years - a one hour tune-up private class will get you back on your feet for only $99. It's great for those who don't want to commit to a full day of ski school. I actually found this incredibly affordable compared to a few of the resorts I skied last season in Colorado. 

Make sure to book your classes at least a month in advance and arrive 90 minutes before your class begins. You'll need about 45 minutes to get fully outfitted in your ski rentals and then about 25 minutes to ride the gondola to the main base and then some time to find your ski class.

Where To Stay - Get nestled right in for the night at Sunshine Mountain Lodge and be the first one on the slopes when the lifts open outside your door in the morning. This boutique hotel is accessible by gondola only, meaning you park your car at the base level and a bell boy will bring your ski equipment and luggage for you. The Gondola ride to the hotel takes about 20 minutes and is Banff's only ski-in, ski-out lodge. 
Our Deluxe Balcony Room featured a pretty view of the mountain and a gas fireplace to cozy up to. The style is very modern and relaxed. The hotel also features a gym, family activity room and complimentary internet. On the night we were visiting, member of the Canadian ski team were also at the resort!

After a long day of skiing make sure to take a soak inside the largest hot tub in Banff National Park for exclusive use of Sunshine Mountain Lodge guests. You'll want to get all those tired muscles relaxed - so you can do it all over again!

Photo by: Snowseekers

Apres-Ski @ Chimney Corner - This cozy lounge is the perfect place to grab lunch or an apres ski drink. The room features floor-to-ceiling windows with mountain views with a modern chalet feel. The restaurant offers casual dining and hearty classics like sandwiches, soups and salads.
Fine Dining @ The Eagle's Nest - Since we were staying at the lodge, there was no leaving after the gondola shuts down for the night. Luckily we were treated to some incredible fine dining at The Eagle's Nest Restaurant with views of Lookout Mountain inside Sunshine Mountain Lodge. Make sure to order some local Alberta beef!

If you're looking for a ski getaway, I highly recommend a visit to Sunshine Village and pair it up with a trip to Banff. You'll easily fill a week full of activities. I used to seek out only beach vacations, but I actually love being active while I'm away and fully embracing the beauty of winter. It's quite lovely when you're outside making the most out of all that snow.

For more information visit: 

Sunshine Village

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