If you’re looking for things to do over the Canada Day long weekend, how about hitting the ski slopes? Sunshine Village is reopening one chairlift and the surrounding runs for six days, starting Tuesday.
“People are out-of-this-world excited for it,” said Kendra Scurfield, director of brand and communications with Sunshine Village.
“A lot of them are like, ‘Is this a prank? Is this for real? Is this actually happening?’ I personally am like, what’s more Canadian than skiing on Canada Day?”
She explained that a record winter snowfall and cool spring at the ski hill in Banff National Park is the reason it’s possible.
“Nine-hundred centimetres is one of our snowiest winters on record. The last time we had so much snow was actually in the 1956-57 ski and snowboard season. So it was a very, very snowy winter,” Scurfield said on Sunday.
It’s the first time in more than 30 years that the resort has opened this late in the ski season, and only the second time in the resort’s nearly 100 years of operation.
“The last time we did so was in 1991, after an incredibly snowy year just like this one.”
Scurfield said once the decision was made to try and reopen for a few days, the mountain operations team had to see what was feasible.
“We needed to make sure that we could get the snow pack down again. It hasn’t been maintained since Slush Cup Monday — which was on May 23 — and so we also are working to get ropes up, fencing in place and just making sure that the resort is safe to welcome skiers and snowboarders.”
Some runs have been groomed and the Strawberry Express chairlift will open June 28. The hope is to keep operating until July 3.
“We are asking that all skiers and snowboarders stay on the groomed trails as it is imperative for the environmental integrity of our resorts.”
Sunshine Village already welcomes people up the mountain in the summer for hiking and sightseeing, and Scurfield said the Standish Express chairlift will be open for that as well.
Tickets are $59. But anyone who’s pre-purchased their season pass for the 2023 ski season can ski this upcoming week for free.