Breathing in the cool, crisp air I look skyward. Trees draped in thick layers of snow sparkle in brilliant sunlight. My eyes span the horizon where the soaring peaks of the Canadian Rockies seem endless. Ahead, rolling hills of untouched powder await and I suddenly feel tiny amidst the dramatic winter scene.
Our group forges on, silenced by the immense beauty that surrounds us. Each step we take marks our presence, until the next snowfall hits. We’ve momentarily left the thrill of Sunshine Village’s world-class skiing for its slower paced Historical Snowshoe and Fondue Tour. I can’t imagine a better way to connect with nature and experience Banff National Park’s pristine wilderness.
Epic Alpine Skiing
Panoramic views of the Canadian Rockies are a hallmark of Sunshine Village. For the past two days we’ve skied the high alpine – devouring the mountain’s fresh powder and unobstructed vistas. The majestic Mount Assiniboine has provided the ultimate backdrop on most of our runs. Sunshine also holds the bragging rights for Canada’s longest ski season, which means that you can hit the hills from November to May. You’ll find plenty of blue runs here, as well as more challenging terrain if you please. Advanced powder hounds should definitely check out Delirium Dive and Wild West – the mountain’s extreme off-piste ski area. As you’ll need to be comfortable with double black diamond runs, and carry the appropriate avalanche safety equipment, it’s best to speak with the ski and snowboard school ahead of time to ensure you’re up for the challenge.
Backcountry Paradise Found
In Sunshine Meadows, we’re snowshoeing high above the treeline and it feels like a completely different world. Our course mirrors the First Nations’ fur trading route and it’s heartwarming to know that this spectacular scene has been explored for centuries. We trek ahead to Rock Isle Lake, which is said to be breathtaking in summer. I can’t help but think that the frozen landscape is flawless in winter. On our journey back, the soft pillows of snow can no longer be ignored. Our guide takes the first plunge. Diving backwards his laughter breaks the silence. It’s game on after that, as each of us try to outdo the previous performance. By the time we reach the Chimney Corner Lounge and Wine Bar our cheeks are rosy, our appetites are piqued and our smiles just won’t quit. It’s time to tuck in to the traditional Swiss style cheese fondue. Soon my belly is comfortably full and although my legs are tired, our remarkable journey has my spirit soaring.