Nestled smack dab in the base of Sunshine Village Ski Resort https://www.skibanff.com/ is The Old Sunshine Lodge…a little cozy log cabin built in 1928! Perfect location for a hearty lunch, after a hard morning skiing! …which is my favorite day…any day skiing at Sunshine! The little log cabin sits among giant, gorgeous, modern timber frame lodges with fine dining and spa facilities mountain side. The Old Sunshine Lodge is less formal as it now houses…Mad Trappers Grill & BBQ! Great Eats! The low log ceilings and historic photographs all over the walls tell the story of Sunshine…how she was born and who made it happen. All while you are feeling the hugs of ski ghosts all around you…it feels so rustic, warm and just right to be in this mountain lodge. Such a testament to this place and such a great vibe for a sublime day skiing! The food and drink menu is awesome, lots of hearty lunches, (salads too), mixed with a great drink and wine list. Try some Chili with a Baked Potato…Minestrone Soup and Bread…yum! Wash it all down with a pint…or try a “Reindeer Games” deliciousness…I love it here…I just love it here. I could not help myself, but to share some of Old Sunshine Lodge’s amazing history…
In 1841 Sir George Simpson, a Governor for the Hudson Bay Company trekked through the Continental Divide, (Mount Assiniboine, BC on one side, Banff National Park on the other), what is now known as Sunshine Village Resort. George, originally from Scotland was a respected businessman who was also known for his love of the outdoors and wilderness. Although he looked the part of any English Lord… underneath his polished exterior and exceptional business acumen lied an adventurer. Known for his remarkable strength and endurance he was noted as the first man to ever circumnavigate the earth by land, (and sea in between), an incredible feat for his time. He was the first non aboriginal to see this incredible region…and to note an oddity during his observation of this area…”hole in the wall mountain”…known today as Goat’s Eye!
The famous Palliser expedition followed in his footsteps in the late 1850’s including geographer’s and botanists to map and examine the region for planning the route of the Canadian Pacific Railway, (which was completed in the late 1880’s.) CP Rail sponsored a lot of special interests groups along the line to promote the railroad company. One of them was; “The Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies”. The cabin was built-in 1928 to act as a rest stop for these horse enthusiasts. Then something amazing happened…
In 1934 Jim, Dell and Pat Brewster rented the cabin from CP Rail. Jim and his two brothers as well as Austin Standish had found this perfect location by accident…literally…while exploring in the area, there had been an accident and they had to take refuge in the CP Log Cabin. During their stay in the cabin they noticed how perfect of a location it was for a ski area. They were all avid skiers who had recently got into the sport. They had an idea…to entice Ski Clubs to come to the resort. It worked! Visitors came from all over and would pay $5.00 a day or $30.00 a week for an all-inclusive ski vacation!
Bruno Engler was a handsome, skilled mountaineer. The last of the Swiss Mountain Guides hired by Canadian Pacific Railroad. Bruno arrived in Canada in 1939 at the age of 24 at the beginning of Canadian Mountain Culture. His skills were widely known and soon he was sought after by the Canadian Government to train troops in mountaineering during the time of the Second World War. Later he was hired by the Brewster’s to start-up the Sunshine Village Ski School, he became a legend in the Banff and surrounding area where he lived his life until 2001. Bruno was known for his skiing, guiding and mountaineering skills….he was a pioneer in avalanche safety, as well as world-renowned photographer for high altitude photography. As well as his time acting and story telling… Bruno soon became the Ambassador for Canadian Mountain culture.
Drive 4 1/2 hours due west through the great Canadian Rocky Mountains and you will be skiing at Revelstoke Mountain Resort from Calgary, Alberta. Ah Yes…Revy is a Dream…so completely beautiful and vast. This is the most beautiful mammoth mountain I have every set a ski upon…true bliss. This resort has sprung out of a Back Country Lodge and the reputation just grew and grew about the perfect, sublime, snow conditions Mount MacKenzie boasts is simply amazing. It is a beast! The largest, tallest ski resort North America at 5620 ft, or rather in Canadian; 1713 meters! It is the only resort where a very long gondola ride is the “lift” to unlimited terrain…topped with a quad to the top of the world…the views are stellar! We arrived with socked in, cloudy skies at the base of Revy, (aka Revelstoke Mountain Resort) http://www.revelstokemountainresort.com/, jumped on the gondola and through the clouds we went…to break through to blue bird skies and sunshine! Such a perfect way to start on this incredible mountain. I cannot describe the snow…soft light powder…dry and fluffy, and a TON of it!
Revy is the only resort to offer: Lift, Cat, Heli and Back Country skiing in one resort. The Cat Skiing is particularly popular and books up fast. Cats take you to natural bowls that offer Deep and Steep endless runs. A quick afternoon powder lesson at Revy will prepare you for these great bowls. Cannot be missed!
Back Country Skiing offers a 500,000 acres park of natural terrain. Avalanche Ranch at Revy offers training to prepare for such excursions and offers guided packages as well to those brave, snow fiends. Did you know there is a back pack air bag that will deploy like an air bag in a car? If you are caught in an avalanche, it inflates and the idea is to make a gap around you to breathe…so amazingly cool…even though I will NEVER, EVER need one…It’s a liftie life for me.
Free Mountain Tours are offered to those skiing at Blue and above…great way to learn your way around this enormous resort. If you want to up your game…(I don’t, but Thanks)…you can ride with a pro for a day to push your skills. I am far too old to push any skills…I just need to keep getting out! Yay Me!
The small town of Revelstoke has all the amenities you will ever need and has come a long way in the last ten years from the old, plain rail town it has been for years. They have revitalized the town, spent some money and enhanced the neighborhood close to the mountain with larger timber frame homes, and developments. The mountain village base has a SKI IN/OUT luxury Condominium style Hotel with Day Spa, Cafe and great dining and drinks at the Rockford. There is also the Tavern that offers local micro brews and pub fare that goes down pretty easy after a hard day on the hill! Revy is my ski dream!
Not just one, but three amazing mountains, (Goat’s Eye, Lookout & Mount Standish)…
http://www.sunshine-village.com/sunshine-village/…after a 360 degree wowwy wow view up the mountain in the spacious, comfy, high speed gondola. You can stop and get off at Goat’s Eye to enjoy steep, snowy trails that offer nice longs runs, with a shorter chair ride on the Goat’s Eye Express Quad. Great trail designs on this mountain. The natural terrain on top of “The Goat” offers some of the best natural trail lines in North America. This is elite ski territory.
Next stop is The Village…truly a family resort with adorable kiddies bombing around, while still offering nice variations in terrain from the 5+ main chairs, basically something for everyone. Wide, open gentle slopes to some nice challenging chutes off of all the chairs…not to mention the hair raising Delirium Dive, (bring a shovel, beacon and helmet to get through the security gate), cause this is completely natural terrain, true back country experience…and a ride like no other…anywhere…all the while at a bustling ski resort. AMAZING!
After you get your morning in, you can return to the Day Lodge and enjoy a great lunch! On a nice day, (which at Sunshine there are many as it always the last resort to close for the year), you can work on your winter tan on one of the patios, while the BBQ’s serving up burgers and dogs. Live music events and the annual Slush Cup make it one hell of a party on a ski hill, just a great time in one of the most beautiful places on the planet! My brother and I call it paradise on earth..closest you can get to heaven…we love coming to Sunshine and skiing hard…making friends on the lifts, (like Mick our ski buddy for the day visiting Calgary from the Netherlands…he was on his own, so being the Canadians we are…invited him to ski with us for the day, we rode every chair in the resort that day.) Great times! The best new treat is the incredible new heated Chair Lift. Steep double d’son this chair, so ski it in the am! Sunshine also recently added a new modern sleek Timberframe Lodge on top of the mountain in the village. Only a couple of years ago added the gorgeous base mountain lodge…like Calgary, Sunshine gets better with age. I love Sunshine…cannot be beat!