First time skiing in Banff can make you both nervous and excited, depending on where (and how often) you’ve been skiing before. First time skiing in general, will probably mostly make you nervous. At least if you’re anything like me.
On our way to the ski hill, I was actually not excited at all, just scared. Although it wasn’t my first time skiing, but my second, I just couldn’t feel any excitement. I hate snow, I hate the cold, I hate ski boots… I do love being on top of mountains, a lot, but not going down on a pair of skis. Still, that’s what I promised my boyfriend I’ll do – so, we went to Sunshine Village! I cried all the way from Calgary. (Kidding… Or, not really.)
First time skiing in Banff – where to go
If it’s your very very first time skiing, pretty much just like me, try to find a ski resort with good slopes for beginners (that would be green slopes, possibly blue ones as well). I got recommended to go to Sunshine Village, which was the ski resort Fredrik already had found for us as well. He’s a pro when it comes to skiing, but decided to stay with me during our two days at the ski resort to make sure I had fun (which I only had on the last day, to be honest…) and didn’t crash into something or someone. He did try some of their double black diamond runs (I barely know what that means) when I was done skiing for the day, but there are a lot of moguls at Sunshine which he doesn’t like so he just stayed with me on day two – highly appreciated!
If you don’t want to try out Sunshine Village, I also got some recommendations for Mt Norquay and Lake Louise, both only 30-45 minutes from Sunshine Village. I haven’t tried these ski resorts, but you can have a look on their websites and check the trail maps!
Before you go…
How to get here
Sunshine Village is situated 20 minutes away from Banff, and it’s pretty easy to get to the resort. If you go by car, just follow the Trans Canada Highway and look for a sign saying “Sunshine”. If you’re in Banff already, you could take the shuttle service that runs frequently through the day. Also, if you have a season pass or lift ticket, the shuttle is free!
Parking is free (yay!) and, the earlier you get there, the closer you’ll be to the gondola. Otherwise, prepare for a rather long walk in ski boots!
Rent ski gear
If you’re like me and it’s your first time skiing in Banff (or in general), you might not have any of the gear you’ll need for skiing. Don’t worry, it’s not too expensive to rent some! We rented ours in Calgary before getting to Sunshine Village, but you can also do it directly at the resort if you prefer. If you’re on a budget like us, make sure to compare the prices before you decide!
How to buy a lift ticket
We bought our tickets online when there was a deal, so remember to always check that out on special days! (Boxing Day, Black Friday and so on…) If you don’t want to buy your ticket online, you can also do it directly at Sunshine Village just before you walk up the stairs to get on the gondola.
The gondola is a pretty nice ride with lovely views on a sunny day. It will stop at different places on the way, so make sure you know where you want to get off to start skiing!
Wifi (for some reason?)
I don’t really know why you’d want to have wifi when you’ve paid a lot to go skiing, but if you do need some, you can find it at the different restaurant/cafes and also at some lift sites.
The mountains and the views
The mountains and the views are amazing. For my first time skiing in Banff, and pretty much in general, Sunshine Village was a really good choice. Just look at this view!
So, is Sunshine Village fun for a beginner?
Other than the amazing views, I think Sunshine has quite much to offer for beginners. Although, some of the green slopes were a bit naah both when it comes to steepness but also the opposite, uphill skiing. I only went down the mini slope in the learning area once and then I tried a green slope, and the difference was huge. Also, for a beginner, it’s not that easy when you suddenly have to go up the hill instead – which happened quite often on the green runs!
I said I didn’t have fun on day one, which is true. But on day two, I actually did! Suddenly I saw the beauty of it – the sun was shining, I could get down the hills without falling or crashing (I only fell once during these two days!) and my feet didn’t hurt quite as much as they did during the first day.
To sum it up, I’m really glad I promised Fredrik I’d go skiing with him! Don’t have someone to show you? Consider taking a lesson.
Who knows, maybe I’ll even go skiing again someday. Not within the next few years, but still!
Do you find skiing way too cold or would you like to get warm and relax afterwards? Considering visiting the hot pools in Banff just as Mikaela from Voyageur Tripper did during her visit to Banff National Park.
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