Family Guide to Banff Sunshine Village: Insider Local Tips

By Kandace McCorrister

A family ski trip to Banff National Park is one of the best choices for a winter vacation. Banff Sunshine Village is a favourite mountain for families with beginner and intermediate riders, and kids with advanced skills. Although there is plenty of difficult terrain (including a world-class free-ride section called Delirium Dive), there are many shorter and more playful runs your kids (and you) will love at Banff Sunshine Village.

The shorter runs allow your kids to gain confidence and feel successful without tiring out their little legs. Sunshine will have your kids laughing and feeling like they conquered the mountain!

Kids snowboarding at Banff Sunshine Village, Banff National Park.
Photo by Travis Rousseau.

The beautiful and historical town of Banff is just a 20-minute drive to Banff Sunshine Village. Free shuttles from the towns of Banff and Lake Louise make it easy to get your family to and from the mountain without having to navigate mountain roads or parking lots. If you want to skip this altogether for a day (and scoop first tracks!), consider staying overnight at Sunshine Mountain Lodge  – the only on-mountain, ski-in/ski-out hotel within Banff National Park. They have great activities and programs for kids once the chairlifts stop spinning.

A unique feature of Sunshine Village is that you must take a gondola ride from the parking lot to access the lifts. The gondola ride is breathtaking, allowing you to see frozen waterfalls and beautiful views of the Rockies. It’s also a great time to get your gear on and take a few minutes to gather yourself before heading out for the day.

Want to know more about Banff Sunshine Village and what it offers your family? Here are our local tips on favourite features, eateries, and places to ride with kiddos. Plus, check out our extra tips on how to have a seamless day on the hill with kids, no matter what resort you’re at!

Boy riding rail at Banff Sunshine Village, Banff National Park.
Photo by Travis Rousseau.

Favourite Family Features

  • Offers a great variety of terrain
  • Short and playful runs for beginners
  • Snowshoeing and sightseeing tours to mix it up
  • A beautiful gondola ride
  • Ski lessons for kids and adults
  • Week long programs available
  • Daycare
  • Breathtaking views of Mt. Assinboine
  • A long season, offering great spring riding into May

Favourite Places to Ride

Photo by Travis Rousseau.

Strawberry

The perfect beginners run can be found off the Strawberry chair. If your kids have never been up a chair lift before, this is a great place to get used to it! The chair is short and accesses an easy (but fun) green run to learn on. There’s also a terrain park and plenty of fun cliffs and small chutes for those who want something more challenging.

Standish

Although you’ll mainly find blues and greens off of this lift, everyone will find Standish fun to ride. Standish is like a natural “skate park” with little jibs and side hits all over (don’t worry you can avoid them easily too). You can spend the entire day hitting Standish and never get tired of it or take the same route twice.

Wolverine

There are plenty of playful runs off of Wolverine your family will love too. Plus, there is a great beginner terrain park here if your kids are keen to try some easy boxes and maybe even a small jump.

Favourite Places to Refuel

Breakfast

Parents – before getting into the gondola grab a great cup of coffee or a latte at the Java Station. They serve Fratello coffee, it’s definitely a great way to start your morning – you won’t regret it! It’s also a great place to grab freshly baked pastries or house-made panini sandwiches for breakfast on the go.

Lunch

There are some great sit down restaurants at Sunshine like the Chimney Corner and Mad Trappers, but if you just want to grab something kid friendly and quick, The Alpine Grill in the main lodge (Lookout Lodge) has something for everyone including pizza, chicken fingers, pho, pasta and a lot more.

Snacks

Pop by the Java Lift in Sunshine Mountain Lodge for the best hot chocolate topped with marshmallows and whip cream! This is a great place to warm up and take a short break. They also serve more great coffee, beer, drinks for the adults and amazing crepes.

Photo by Travis Rousseau.

If you’re interesetd in booking your next family ski vacation with SkiBig3, talk to their in-destination Vacation Speclialists. They’re experts on the SkiBig3 resorts and know all the recommendations to get you and your kids to the slopes seamlessly.  Reach them at  1-844-754-2443  or plan your Canadian Rockies ski vacation online. Great Ski & Stay Packages available now.

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Skier in Delirium Dive. Photo by Will Lambert.