Extending Winter With The Longest Ski Season In Canada at Sunshine Village

A Family Ski Weekend At Sunshine

This year is the first time my wife and I have been skiing in nearly 20 years. Despite growing up surrounded by mountains, we both gave up skiing.

It’s curious why I stopped because as soon as I get on a chairlift, feel the crisp breeze and hit a couple of tight turns, I’m in love again. Earlier this winter I took the boys for a weekend to Mount Norquay and was instantly hooked.

This past weekend we headed out to Sunshine Village and again, I took the bait. But it took a while for me to get there.

I do love skiing, but I don’t love all the effort it takes to go skiing. The packing the gear, the changing into ski clothes, the wet gear at the end of the day are all pressure points for me. It was made easier on this trip because we had a Ford Expedition to use for the weekend. It was big enough that everyone had their own row on the way up, and when it came time to get dressed, it was big enough for my wife to stand in the middle and get her gear on.

Big Ford Expedition

And then it came time for the boys to get dressed. And we each thought the other had packed the pants. Ah, yes, the volume of gear that you have to pack to go skiing means something inevitably gets forgotten. Thankfully Sunshine Village rents pants for kids (a little big for Charlie, but they were close enough) and we could still salvage our ski day.

The rental shack is always too warm, and it’s frustrating trying to squeeze into the boots, and then put the kids’ boots on. Then the juggling of poles, and your skis and the kids’ skis, and well .. the first hour of the day never goes well for me.

Ski Rentals at Sunshine

And then the chair. And then the snow. And then the scenery. And then I’m in love again.

top of sunshine village

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sunshine village

We’ve lived in Calgary for 5 yrs, next to some of the best and longest ski seasons in the world, and we never went skiing. We live at the top of the local ski mountain in Calgary, a gentle slope that is perfect for kids, and yet we had never gone skiing. Blame it on the boys’ school to get us hooked again. Each kindergarten class takes a turn with a week of lessons mid-winter and the boys loved it. They wanted to go more.

So that’s how we found ourselves, on the last weekend of spring break at the top of Sunshine Village. It felt like the quintessential Vancouver experience. We had left Calgary in sunshine and 20 degrees. Golf courses were open, shorts and bikes were out, but 90 minutes to the west we found ourselves plunged back into winter atop the Continetal Divide for Jennifer’s first time back on skis since high school.

Jennifer skiing

We took some family lessons and after a couple of quick assessments on the bunny hill, our instructor deemed the boys capable of a chairlift ride and a green run.

Humbelebrag: Apparently Charlie is a natural at this sport. Other staff were remarking at how well he turns, something about young kids not having the muscle strength to be able to do it while holding a “pizza” snow plow at the same time. But there’s Charlie bombing around with a big smile on his face.

Sunshine Village has one of the longest ski seasons in North America. They usually open between Halloween and Remembrance Day and keep it going until the Victoria Day long weekend. Make that nearly 7 months of snow. This year has been lacking in the white stuff. Some resorts closed as early as February, but the snow is still falling at Sunshine and they’ll keep skiing until May.

snow cam at sunshine village

Could we have one more weekend escape in us before year’s end? Maybe, but the golf clubs are looking good too.

Thanks to Sunshine Village for hosting our day on the mountain.

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