Province/Territory: Alberta

Snowshoe on top of the world

  • 10 meters of snowfall annually
  • 07 months of snowshoeing - North America's longest season
  • 360 degree panoramic Canadian Rocky Mountain views

The silence is broken only by the soft crunch of your snowshoes breaking trail and the squeak of your poles stabbing the fresh snow.  In this pristine alpine environment you’re soon jumping into snowy pillows and diving into deep powder, surrounded by the jagged beauty of the lofty peaks that mark the Continental Divide.
The snow gods provide a crystalline playground as you search for paw prints and try to guess what creature came before you. Following the same paths Canada’s First Nations people took to trade with neighbouring tribes, your guides share stories of first discovery from European explorers.
After helping prepare a gourmet lunch in the snow of Swiss-style cheese fondue with an assortment of fruit and vegetables, you relax in the middle of a wintery meadow.  Today, Mt. Assiniboine, known as the Matterhorn of the Canadian Rockies, is clearly visible in the distance. Tonight, steaming cup of hot chocolate in hand, you’ll warm up beside the fire and reflect on this magical day spent exploring an authentic winter wonderland rich in Canadian history.

Why you should visit

• Trek a place of solitude and silence and some of the best untracked snow in Canada.
• You don't need to follow a path. Just meander through the meadows in all directions.
• You are in the middle of legendary Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and  rich in Canadian history.
• The tour provides exceptional views of Mt. Assiniboine, known as the Matterhorn of the Canadian Rockies.
• The region is blanketed in an abundance of snow, which covers the landscape over seven months of the year.
• Trek across two provinces in one day. Sunshine Village has a footstep in British Columbia as well as Alberta.
• Search for snowshoe hare, moose and wolf tracks while exploring how the landscape is changing and animals are adapting.
• Snowshoeing is a great cardio workout and something you can enjoy in a group and with all ages.

Weather

• The weather in the Canadian Rockies is unpredictable with snow creeping into the forecast any month of the year; be prepared by bringing a variety of layers.
• The sun at these alpine altitudes is strong year-long, sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat for protection from UV exposure is suggested.
• Winter is wonderful in Banff National Park, but cold. December brings frosty air with an average daytime high of -5°C dipping to -14°C at night. Cold spells of -30°C can occur, so heavy coats and warm boots are essential. If a chinook wind blows through expect to see the temperatures rise above 0°C.
• Sunshine Village sees an average of nearly 10 metres of fluffy dry snow to fall over the course of the winter months.
• Discover local weather information.  Research local weather patterns at Environment Canada's Canadian Climate Website.

Visitor information

Sunshine Village base area services and facilities are open 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. every day during the ski and snowboard season. This includes the Rental Shop, Customer Service Desk and Tech Shop.
• Situated at an average elevation of 2,180 metres (7,300 feet), Sunshine Meadows straddles the Continental Divide and the boundary between Alberta and British Columbia.

When to go

• Snowshoe tours are offered from November to May, depending on conditions.

Need to know

• Half day snowshoe tours operate throughout the ski season – from mid-November to end of May.
• Morning or afternoon tours are available from Tuesday through Sunday and must be booked in advance.
• Guests can be picked up from Sunshine Village’s base or via  a shuttle from Banff.  Upon arrival, the high speed gondola whisks you up to Sunshine Village’s base in 15 minutes.
• The package includes professional hiking equipment, gondola and chairlift pass, snowshoes and gourmet hot lunch.
• All tours are fully guided and there are variety of trails to suit all ages and abilities.
• Tours cater to a variety of athletic abilities, but light hiking experience is encouraged because of the deep snow conditions.
• Tours are not suitable for children under 12.

Getting Here

• Sunshine Village is in the heart of the Canadian Rockies in Banff National Park. The drive is an hour-and-a-half west of Calgary on the Trans Canada Highway and just 8 kilometres west of the town of Banff. The access road is clearly signed from the highway.
Banff Airporter offers 10 transfers daily between Calgary International Airport, Canmore and Banff. It also offers private transportation from Canmore and Banff right to Sunshine Village.
Sunshine Coac offers a convenient trip from Calgary and Canmore to Sunshine Village. With daily departures from several locations during the ski season.