Skiing at Sunshine

We haven’t been skiing out here since we bought the condo. We are usually out at the wrong time of year, busy with updates to the condo, visiting friends or taking guests sightseeing. This trip we took a half day to go skiing at Sunshine Village in Banff.

We were going to pack our skis but a search of the Air Canada website showed that you are supposed to pack them in rigid containers. After about 1 hour of trying to get someone at Air Canada to confirm this I was unsuccessful. The baggage line told me to call customer service, customer service could only re-iterate what was on their site before telling me to call baggage. You know the drill.

It turns out that if you are only going for a half day of skiing that you are better off (from a price and hassle perspective) to rent ski equipment. So we packed our helmets and rented everything else.

Once we arrived at the airport the family in front of us was checking in soft ski bags. Exactly what we would have taken had I not been proactive enough to pre-check the Air Canada website. Turns out you are just fine taking clothe ski bags. I’m not sure whether Air Canada will cover any damages but they definitely will charge you and take them. There are plenty of articles online on how to pack soft-sided bags to avoid damage when flying.

In any event, it was April 12 when we decided to make it to the hill for noon and spend the morning in Banff showing our friends around. The weather was all over the place the Friday before leaving it was to be -1C and nothing but sun on the hill. In Canmore that same day was to be at least 8C. Well, the weather in Canmore changed a couple times and the weather on the mountain was all over the place. Welcome to life in the mountains.

Those of us who packed complete ski gear where the happiest. Others opted to leave big gloves, or goggles at home. Turns out that the weather changed based on which mountain and side we were on. I’m used to the small ski resorts that are in Ontario so this was totally new to me. Hindsight being 20/20 I’ve since found this insider tip page as to what lifts to ski at what time of day.

We had some runs in complete sunshine where we had to undo jackets. Skiing a long blue run, to the right off of the Goat’s Eye chair lift it was bitter cold, with white out conditions and icy patches. It was so bad had we never done the run before we may have stopped and walked back up the hill to where we could see as at points we couldn’t see much more than 10 feet ahead. We knew thought that about a hundred metres of this would bring us to a big bend that was well marked and the wind would disappear.

Turns out a half-day was perfect for our little group. We got to experience skiing at Sunshine and runs that seemed 20 times longer than anything in Ontario.

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