Banff Sunshine Opening Day: First ski resort to open in Canada

Travel to Canada - What to Expect

Banff Sunshine Opening Day: First ski resort to open in Canada

The Canadian ski season is officially open! Today, Banff Sunshine became the first ski resort to open in Canada with Lake Louise Ski Resort following close behind, opening Friday, November 4.  

Snowfall prompts resort to open early

Originally scheduled to open next week, Banff Sunshine opened a full week early thanks to recent storms, steady snowfall, and 53cm (21”) of new snow in the last 7 days.

“This is the earliest opening day in my lifetime,” said Kendra Scurfield, Brand and Communications Manager, at Banff Sunshine. She continued, “as we were watching Snowmageddon roll in, and the snow continue to pile up, we decided that it would be possible to open a week early and get our snow cats out on the mountain to open Strawberry Chair.”

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Conditions at Banff Sunshine Opening Day were perfect – soft snow underfoot and dreamy cotton candy clouds. | Photo by Jillian Tester at Banff Sunshine

Two weeks of snow combat warm, dry fall

For a moment, an early November opening seemed uncertain let alone one before the scheduled opening date of Thursday, November 10. According to Environment Canada, it was the eighth warmest and 19th driest September in Banff National Park since they began recording daily weather statistics 130 years ago.  

As Scurfield recalled, “two weeks ago it was still warm and dry, but then around October 18-19 a big 30cm (12″) storm rolled in and it’s been consistent ever since.” 

Now, with more than 126cm (4’) of snowfall recorded, and a deep base of 68cm (27”), those warm temperatures are a distant memory, and it looked like the inside of a snow globe at Banff Sunshine on Opening Day.

Banff Sunshine to remain open for 201 days

Today was the first day of Banff Sunshine’s 201 day season. The resort will now remain open for skiing and snowboarding until its annual Slush Cup on May 22, 2023.

Opening Day on the mountain 

On the mountain, the Strawberry Express Quad was open along with a small terrain park and six popular green and blue runs including The Dell Valley, Strawberry Face, Strawberry Surprise, Boutry’s Bowl, Snowsnake, and Rock Isle Road. Stoke in the crowd was high for first chair and conditions couldn’t have been more perfect with fresh snow falling from the sky, a dreamy pink sunrise, and incredibly soft snow underfoot. 

For those craving a long-awaited apres, Mad Trappers was open serving frosty pints with The Alpine Grill, Creekside Bar + Grill, and Java Lift Coffee Bar also open to satisfy hungry skiers and snowboarders.  

More dining and more terrain are expected to open in the coming weeks. Follow SkiBig3’s social channels (@skibig3) for the latest news on terrain openings and resort developments. 

All SkiBig3 resorts are expected to be open by the end of next week. Lake Louise Ski Resort is confirmed to open on Friday, November 4 and Mt. Norquay is scheduled to open on Thursday, November 10 (weather permitting).

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Stoke was high in the line for first chair! Starting today, Banff Sunshine will be open for 201 days this season. | Photo by Jillian Tester at Banff Sunshine 

All Canadian travel restrictions lifted

As of October 1, 2022, all Canadian COVID-19 restrictions have lifted, meaning this winter it’s easier than ever to book a ski trip to the Canadian Rockies. Border requirements including proof of vaccination, use of the ArriveCAN App, and any testing and quarantine/isolation requirements have ended for all travellers entering Canada whether by land, air or sea.

Book with confidence

Who doesn’t love flexibility? SkiBig3 offers a No Questions Asked Cancellation Policy, allowing for free itinerary changes and full cancellation refund on ski & stay packages up to 14 days from travel. Book now until November 28 and save up to 30% on SkiBig3 Ski & Stay packages

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