Sunshine Village

Spring skiing at its finest

LAURA ENGLAND

Spring Skiers at Sunshine Village, Alberta, 2010
The deck tables were full as skiers and riders enjoyed some cool beverages under the hot sun at Sunshine Village on April 17.
LAURA ENGLAND/Special to SnowSeekers

BANFF, AB — It’s mid-April and 24º C. I’m wearing the legal limit for clothing, and drinking my beer as fast as I can so it doesn’t get disgustingly warm. Where am I? Honolulu? Nope. Puerto Vallarta? Nuh uh. Believe it or not, I’m sitting on the deck outside of Mad Trapper’s Saloon at the base of Sunshine Village. 

It’s spring skiing at its finest, and as a sun-starved Albertan, I’m truly loving every minute. (And Mom, if you’re reading this, I wasn’t half naked, I just needed a really good lead in.)

This is a very strange time of year in Alberta. The weather’s even more unstable than usual and even though it may be beautiful outside, everyone’s waiting for that last spring dump of snow. But it’s a great time of year for ski hills. Where else can you enjoy a snow sport in temperatures where snow has no right to be?

Morning corn

I don’t quite understand the physics of it, but I know that spring skiing can be an exercise in chase/avoid the sun. On our most recent trip to Sunshine, we started out on the Angel Express to hit some runs that had been softened up by the early morning rays. (Early being the crack of 11 a.m. for us.) Although there were some slick spots, overall we were not disappointed and continued exploring the area with a few jaunts over to Mt. Standish.

Next up – refueling and relaxing on the deck. Can’t run on empty, plus all that sunshine feels soooo good. We may have stretched lunch out a bit to take in some people watching and to just revel in the great atmosphere.

The meteorologists amongst us deduced that Wawa would be the next best spot to visit. Somewhat shaded, the snow had maintained its consistency and not turned to slush. What a treat! (And I’m not referring to the young, topless male skiers either. 

Ah, spring skiing. It’s my favorite time to be in the mountains. I’d much rather face the challenge of cooling off rather than desperately trying to keep from losing a toe to frostbite. I realize the front lawn needs to be raked and the flowerbeds are calling, but that can wait until next weekend. Jump in the car and treat yourself to a beautiful weekend in the mountains.Our more energetic friends continued on to check out Goat’s Eye and reported back that it was as challenging as usual. My husband, Boyd, and I checked out the beer quality at the Saloon and found it to be exceptional.

Just don’t forget your sunscreen!

For more stories and detail on Sunshine Village check out our SnowSeekers' destination page.

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