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What you need to know about COVID-19: August 7, 2020
Nakiska Ladies Days run Feb 27, March 5 and March 12. The ladies-only event includes bus transportation to the ski area, lift ticket, gourmet lunch, guest speaker and 1.5 hours of ski instruction. Photo by Al Charest/Postmedia.
A skier at Sunshine Village ski resort located on the Continental Divide within Banff National Park. Supplied photo
When the season kicks off at Sunshine Village, they tend to hit the ground running.
Sprinting, really. Or maybe they hit the ground skiing, something like that.
By the time mid-December hits, though, and they’re ushering in the holiday season, it seems like there’s something happening every single day at Sunshine Village.
There are fundraisers, opportunities to get in the Christmas spirit with visits from Santa Claus himself and even a chance to ski for free if you deck yourself out as either Santa or Mrs. Claus on Christmas Day.
“Last year, we had over 150 Santas,” said Kendra Scurfield, the brands and communications director at Sunshine Village. “It was hilarious.”
The fact that winter – or at least winter conditions – hit early in this part of the world was, honestly, a bit of a pain if you were a Calgarian looking to get to and from work every day and maybe hadn’t made an appointment to install winter tires in mid-September.
In the mountains, though, the fact there was snow on the ground by the time the calendar turned to October meant that ski slopes were getting blanketed by the fluffy white stuff way earlier than normal. That’s definitely a good thing.
Sunshine kicked off its season in early November and has steadily been opening new parts of the mountain as conditions allowed. It might not feel like mid-February at the Banff resort right now, but on Wednesday the resort had 11 of 12 lifts operating and 77 of 131 runs open. The fact that the mountain saw 14 cm fall in 24 hours on Tuesday and Wednesday should mean there’s even more opening soon, which is perfect as the events calendar starts to fill up.
And while there are plenty of events scheduled that promise to make it feel like Christmas really is in the air, this year Sunshine is also holding a unique fundraiser to help make sure skiers and snowboarders get in the spirit of giving, too.
“One thing I’m really stoked on is we’re doing an event called ‘Cram the Cabin’ and our goal is to raise enough donations to fill an entire gondola cabin full of food and non-perishable food that we can donate to the Bow Valley and Calgary food banks,” Scurfield said. “There’s more reliance on the food banks than there has been in previous years.”
The basics of the fundraiser are pretty straightforward: Between Dec. 1 and Dec. 20, anyone who brings a non-perishable food item gets a $5 voucher they can use anywhere on the resort.
There are, of course, all the usual Christmas season festivities planned this year, as well.
Santa will be skiing around the mountain on both Dec. 14-15 and Dec. 21-22, and is available for pictures with anyone who wants one.
There’s also a torchlight parade planned for Christmas Eve and, of course, free skiing for anyone who shows up at the mountain decked out in full Santa or Mrs. Claus garb on Christmas Day.
As we said, yeah, they get in the holiday spirit around Sunshine Village and it’s increasingly looking like all the early season snow is going to have even the most Scrooge-like of skiers and snowboarders feeling festive.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019