The Only Ski-In, Ski-Out Lodge in Banff

Check into Sunshine Mountain Lodge BanffSunshine Mountain Lodge is the only ski-in, ski-out accommodation in Banff National Park. The easy button starts from the moment you pull up to the base lodge, bypassing all the day visitors who’ve parked a mile away.Sunshine Mountain Lodge base check inInside, there’s a comfy sitting area to organize your luggage. Yes, the leopard-print suitcase is mine. Changing rooms and restrooms are just around the corner. Once you check in at the counter, leave all your bags behind. They will be whisked up to your room at the Lodge.Sunshine Village GondolaYou’ll be smiling on the gondola because the only thing you need to worry about now is your snowboard or skis. However, FYI, you won’t be smiling if you attempt to check in to the hotel after the gondola shuts down at 5pm, since it’s the only way to get up to the Lodge. Don’t be late! Unless it’s a Friday, when you have until 10pm.Heart of Sunshine VillageAfter the 13-minute gondie ride, you’ll arrive at the heart of Sunshine Village. This is where the lifts to the ski runs are, and Mad Trapper’s Saloon, one of my fave mountain lunch stops in the world. The food there isn’t mind-blowing, but damn it tastes good when washed down with a Corona in the middle of a ski-day. If you’re not totally mesmerized by the magic of the unicorn eye on my Gnu base, you’ll see Sunshine Mountain Lodge behind me.Sunshine Mountain LodgeLooking back from the Strawberry high-speed quad, you can see the Lodge is truly nestled in the Canadian Rockies, at 7200 feet.Sunshine Mountain Lodge from Standish LiftThe Standish Lift goes right by the new West Wing of the hotel. From the chair you can see right into the two-story loft rooms, so I’d advise holding back on naked streaking up and down the stairs until the lifts close at 4pm.Kendra Sonia Sunshine VillageFor Kendra Sonia, whose family bought the resort in 1981, Sunshine Village was her playpen growing up. She showed us some of her favorite runs, while kindly going slow enough so I could keep up. The Village is actually three mountains with 12 lifts and more than 3300 acres of skiable terrain. Riding with Kendra made me realize how much of the resort I hadn’t seen before, even though I’ve been here several times.Goat's Eye signKendra even gave me some tips, which gave me the confidence to take the chair up Goat’s Eye for the first time. I offer photographic proof of my arrival to an elevation of 9200 feet.Sunshine Mountain Lodge from trailJust when my thighs and calves were starting to tremble, it was finally time to begin the apres. Next up, Room 105.Besos

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