Sunshine’s terrain ranges from gentle beginner slopes to the most extreme big mountain tracks. The trails – spread among three mountains – are rated 20% for beginners, 55% for intermediates and 25% for advanced. The resort has 12 lifts, including nine superlifts and a high-speed gondola with unmatched views that take riders to more than 100 trails. The highest peak sits at nearly 9,000 feet and the longest run stretching out for about 5 miles with a healthy vertical drop.
Sun Valley’s three mountains (Goat's Eye, Lookout and Standish) are decently sized and feature many natural hits and drops that riders will enjoy. There are plenty of trails to ride including gladed offshoots and wide open above-tree line expert and intermediate trails, both groomed and not groomed. You can ski and ride in the two provinces of Alberta and British Columbia in the same run.
Expert trails like the infamous Delirium Dive and the newer Wild West are among the top off-piste destinations and will earn you years of bragging rights. Overall, Goat's Eye Mountain produces challenging pitches, steep inclines and jagged edges; Lookout is an intermediate skier’s playground with many blacks to pick from; and Standish houses quite a few green and gentler runs.
You can warm by the fireplace while eating appetizers in the Chimney Corner Lounge or enjoy upscale Canadian eats at the Eagle’s Nest Restaurant at the end of the day. Most people drive 20 minutes to Banff for hundreds of restaurant, shopping, lodging and event venues that span the gamut. Snowshoeing, snowmobiling, caving, dog sledding and other guided sight-seeing tours are popular activities that draw adventurists from around the world.
Families can stay and hang out at the mountain lodge with a game room and movies. The lodge also offers an outdoor hot pool, and family-friendly outdoor adventures that include snowshoeing, tobogganing and bonfire talks. The comprehensive ski school covers all ages and ability levels and includes multi-week coaching for advanced riders with plenty of options for beginners.
The Dell Valley serves up a natural halfpipe, and then if you head to the area between Wawa quad and the Standish Express you'll find a terrain park with natural features such as a quarterpipe, lips, and drops. That will whet your appetite for the massive 15-acre Rogers Terrain Park on Lookout Mountain that offers more than 50 features like kickers, ramps, and rails that span the full range of difficulty levels from S to XL. The other area within Rogers, Grizzly has more advanced L and XL rails, jumps and boxes. Springhill, the last area in the massive terrain park, is a good place to start with its S and M features.
Freefall is a double black with a free Ride Zone down the lower half Goats Eye Mountain, and not for the faint. This run will test you but you get paid in powder. In the Wild West free ride zone, Peytos Gully is another black, double black that will get your heart pumping. For those wanting to get a peak at Goat's Eye, Wildfire is a powdery blure run to try that joins another blue (the Sunshine Coast) down to the base area.
Calm yourself afterwards with an old-lodgey hangout at the Mad Trappers’ Saloon at the base of Strawberry Lift. Banff’s après is hopping with places to drink, watch stuff on screens, play pool, and enjoy some music. You can drive down there in 20 minutes where quite a few pubs like the Aurora have live music and dancing late into the night.
For skiers looking to be more efficient on the hill, the resort offers free tours of the three mountains daily through the winter. No advanced booking is required and ski instruction is separate.