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The Sunshine Village Snowshoeing Experience

The Sunshine Village Snowshoeing Experience

Recently John and I were guests of Sunshine Village, a ski resort in Banff National Park. While most people head to the resort for downhill skiing – just as we did on one of the days, there is the option to take a Sunshine Village snowshoeing tour. This isn’t just any snowshoeing tour – but one called a Canadian Signature Experience.

What sets the Sunshine Village snowshoeing tour apart from your average  tour?

The tour takes you through masses of white, fluffy, virgin powder snow high in the Canadian Rockies on the Alberta/British Columbia border – with nary a soul in sight. You can make your own tracks for the entire tour.

Starting at the top of the Standish Chairlift – which you’ve taken up whilst carrying your snowshoes – you head off towards the Sunshine Meadows Lookout. On a clear day you’d be able to see Mt. Assiniboine, though we weren’t so fortunate.

Start the snowshoeing part of the adventure at the top of the Standish Chairlift
Start the snowshoeing part of the adventure at the top of the Standish Chairlift
Heading off towards the Sunshine Meadows Overlook
Heading off towards the Sunshine Meadows Overlook
Sunshine Village snowshoeing and the view on a sunny day
Sunshine Village snowshoeing and the view on a sunny day

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The tour is a combination of snowshoeing and looking for fun 

And by fun, I mean jumping off cliffs and sliding down snowbanks. This area gets 10 metres of snow on average per year, so there’s never any shortage of it. In fact the snowshoeing season lasts for seven months!

Our guide, Adrienne from White Mountain Adventures led us through a white on white world (we’d hoped for a blue sky day but it only materialized towards the end of the tour), always on the lookout for cliffs with deep snow at the base and hills to slide down. She made a point of keeping us away from any slopes with avalanche danger.

Scenery on a blue sky day while Sunshine Village snowshoeing
View on a gorgeous day while snowshoeing

During the tour, animal tracks including pine marten, snowshoe hare and coyote were pointed out. She also shared some of the Native history of the area.

My friend Jody just before she crashes
My friend Jody just before she crashes
Sunshine Village snowshoeing and a fallen snowshoer
And she’s down
Our White Mountain Adventures guide - Adrienne taking us out on our Sunshine Village snowshoeing adventure
Our White Mountain Adventures guide – Adrienne is also down
The Sunshine Meadows area is truly a winter wonderland
The Sunshine Meadows area is truly a winter wonderland
Small cliff jumping on snowshoes on our Sunshine Village snowshoeing adventure
Small cliff jumping on snowshoes
All smiles after landing in soft snow
All smiles after landing in soft snow
Looking for more sliding hills
Looking for more sliding hills
Looking out over Rock Isle Lake
The view out over Rock Isle Lake
Rock Isle Lake in the summer
Rock Isle Lake in the summer
Heading back towards Sunshine Village
Heading back towards Sunshine Village

On this snowshoeing tour you never need poles and in the deep powder they’d actually be more hindrance than help. The tour is roughly three kilometres in length and typically takes about two hours. Except for a short section just past Rock Isle Lake, it’s all downhill.

delightful snowshoeing near Sunshine Village
Delightful snowshoeing through the trees en route to the hotel

Fondue time is next

This is one tour that doesn’t end when you take your snowshoes off. Up next is a cheese fondue served in front of the fire at the Sunshine Mountain Lodge. When the weather is warmer, the fondue may end up being served outside, but on a January day, it’s nicer by the fire.

It’s not until you’ve scraped the bottom of the fondue pot whilst sharing the highlights of the day that the tour officially ends. This is one snowshoeing tour that would be perfect for people of all ages – and even if it’s a cold day, you’ll be able to stay warm.

For information on how to book the tour, click here.

To book a stay in Sunshine Mountain Lodge (and I highly recommend it) click on this link.

Further reading on things to do in Banff 

The outing ends with cheese fondue by the fire in the Sunshine Village Hotel
The Sunshine Village snowshoeing outing ends with cheese fondue by the fire in Sunshine Mountain Lodge

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.Sunshine Village snowshoeing, Banff National ParkThank you to Sunshine Village for inviting me on the tour. All opinions expressed are my own.

 

 

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 61,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 17 Comments
  1. Adrienne did quite the job! Pine marten, eh? That’s pretty neat as I imagine such creatures are on the rare side…..maybe not though. Really amazing experience you had and what playful images. I’ve not showshoed ever but after reading your post I am pondering it.

    Thanks!

    Ryan

  2. You sure do know how to have fun in the snow. I’d love to snowshoe, but haven’t done it yet. What a great place Sunshine Meadows looks like to give it a try. Although jumping off a cliff might not be quite the thing for me, sliding down a snowbank suits me just fine. Gorgeous country there. Love the pic of you all smiles!

  3. What a fun experience! I’m looking forward to trying this during our trip in a few weeks. Can you provide pointers on what to wear to keep warm? I’m from Texas and this will be my first time skiing/snowshoeing. Thank you!

    1. @Stefani The big thing is to wear layers. Merino wool works great as a base layer – then perhaps a fleece. i’ll wear a down vest on cold days. I find a neck warmer is key to the very cold days. I hope that helps. Oh and buy sine hand and toe warmers when you get here just in case.

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