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Sunshine Opening Day - 11/15/07

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Sunshine Village (Alberta) opened today, with 4 out of 12 chairs open; Strawberry, Standish, Wolverine, Wawa and Jack rabbit. They had been slated to open a week ago but pushed the date back to wait for more snow.

We had a nice dump of about 20cms 4 days ago, and I cant imagine what the hill would of been like without it, it still rocky in lots of places.

This is what Banff's main avenue looked like yesterday, the snow hasn't been cleared from the road because they are still doing something that they seem to have been doing for the last six months. Something about lampposts and benches, hardcore.

Sunshine was pretty quiet for an opening day. I kinda expected a few more crowds, but I guess most people know its only 1/2 open and are waiting for the weekend/fresh snow. The parking lot was maybe 1/4 full:

Which was good because it meant I could ride the gondola alone and not have to share my pizza:

The Angel Express is closed, which meant I had to push myself over to the Mount Standish side of the base area, I cant wait for the Angel to open. Pushing a sitski uphill is a pain in the butt, and s-l-o-w.

The snow coverage maybe wasnt terrible over the majority of the hill, still lots of rocks and plants poking through in places but most of the runs had good coverage.

There was still some freshies for those hunting it, but by the afternoon everything was well flattened out.

Mount Lookout was completely closed, and from the looks of it wont be open unless it starts puking soon. I did notice them running the lift and patrol skiing down to inspect a couple time, I think they want to have it open for the weekend to take some pressure off the other lifts, but it will just be south divide and the cat track back to the village.

This is Lookout viewed from midway up Standish:

GoatsEye has even less coverage and really needs a couple dumps before they will even think about opening it I would think. This is GoatsEye from Standish again:

The Ski Out looked pretty good, but it's closed at the moment, they are letting people ski as far down as the GoatsEye gondola terminal but no further.

I dint get any pics of me skiing as I was by myself and seemed to be spending most of my time pushing up hill rather than skiing anyway.

I guess the pictures that sum up the day best are from my ski:


Thats an 'old' Racetiger from last season, probably not the best choice of ski for opening day, but I was trying to dial in my new shock absorber and wanted to be skiing on something familiar. I think I'll use a twin tip tomorrow and save the race stock for better snow.

Sunshine - The place ski's go to die.
post #2 of 22
Nice pics!
post #3 of 22
Great report and thanks for all the pics!!!
Please tell me you hacked those up venturing off the beaten path?

I am heading up with my kids next weekend and will likely stick to Strawberry (oh the agony) as I just got them new skis and don't want to hack them up.
post #4 of 22
Great TR!

I went out yesterday. While it was great to be back on skis, it was a real rock garden out there. Skiing the standish headwall was especially "noisy". Strawberry should be okay though.

Sunshine was super busy on Saturday. I left at 2:30 and the parking lot was full with cars lined up on the road. Without the big lifts going, the hill felt crowded.
post #5 of 22

Your poor ski!!

Nice pics though
post #6 of 22
Great pics!

I'm curious, did you get those scratches off the beaten path, or was that on an officially opened trail? :O
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
No that was on an officially opened run, and a green at that! There has been limited snowfall since opening day, but the hill is pretty much in the same condition.
There doesn't seem to be any snow expected in the next week or so either, at least it is cold enough to preserve the current base.
post #8 of 22
Originally Posted by SitSkiAndy View Post
No that was on an officially opened run, and a green at that! .
Crap.....I was afraid of that.
That must have been on the top of Standish ......right?
That is notoriously blown off.
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
Yeah, the top of Standish is..................pathetic right now.
post #10 of 22
Thanks for the report/warning. I was thinking about sneaking out on Thursday to get some runs in, but I guess I'll be waiting for more snow before I sacrifice the boards.
post #11 of 22
Even with the damge to the boards, the conditions are a lot better than here! Thanks for the TR and pics.
post #12 of 22

Well I guess I will have to wait a few weeks before making the trek out to Sunshine.
post #13 of 22
Well, the skis testify that...You don't sideslip. Way to track the core shot!

I'd be grateful if we had that much snow, but I don't think I have ever trashed my bases like that.
post #14 of 22
I was out on Sunday and was able to find a few good spots. As this was the first day of the season (and I have not been very good about working out in preparation) I did a few green runs down Dell Valley, dodging the ski school classes and tentative boarders. I then went down Strawberry Face and discovered to my delight that the snow was pretty deep (mid-calf) and remarkably uncutup (if that's a word) for the fourth day of the season. After a couple of hours (due more to the agonizingly slow Strawberry chair than the short run down to the lift) it was off to try Standish. I did one run, dodging the big rocks and scraping over the small ones and decided it was time for me and my wounded skis to take lunch.

After lunch I bypassed the humungous lines at Wawa and skated down to Jackrabbit for a couple of runs in the trees. My thighs were starting to tell me this was enough for the first day, and it was time for ibuprofen and a dip in the hotsprings, but I did do one run down Goat Chicken Gully to see if my muscle memory was able to navigate the bumps. Overall, there was enough good snow to make it worthwhile, but you did not want to be doing these runs at speed (certainly not the first time you went on them and hadn't sussed out the bare spots yet). At 2:00, when I left, the parking lots were full and there was a line of about 15 cars parked along the access road out to town.

I've just checked on the website and the skiout will be open this weekend. I may make it up on Friday, but it might be better to wait until after the snow hits on Sunday.
post #15 of 22
Looks like Brewster/Divide chair is open based on the cam today.
If any Bears have an update it would be appreciated.
post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 
I was back up at Sunshine yesterday and today. Pretty much the same conditions, although the have worked on the top of Standish to give it more cover and make it less rocky.

Better pictures:

GoatsEye is still closed and looking grim:

A closer look at the top of GoatsEye:

Delirium Dive is obviously closed too:

Lookout Mountain is still closed too, as are the Angel Express and Continental Divide Chairs. This is the Continental Divide Chair which goes to the top of Lookout Mountain:

I saw both lifts moving at different times of the day, but they were just testing them.

A closer look at the the area around the bottom station of the Continental Divide chair.

The area slightly upper right of center is the terrain park, they seem to be working on it at the moment and have down some grooming in the area too.

The weather was awesome, apart from the lack of snow bearing clouds. A clear blue sky and its been pretty cold the last couple of days. The snow is actually fairly decent despite no snow for almost a week, a few patches of ice and the obligatory rocks, but it was a good day.

The ski out opened at the weekend so you can now ski down to the car park, but its pretty damn icy in places and I saw some young kids wiping out more than once.
post #17 of 22
Appreciate the effort....kepp 'em coming Andy
post #18 of 22
Thanks for the pics; wish they showed a LOT more snow; it looks like the good part of the season is getting pushed back further and further.
post #19 of 22
Yea....I am not liking the way it is shaping up so far.
Lot's of bluebird days in the last 2 weeks which isn't what we need when there isn't much snow accumulated.
Heading up tomorrow so hopefully I can add to this when I get back.
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Back up at Sunshine again today, they have opened the Angel Express chair at last.

Just one run on Lookout is open though, the Green Run.

A few pics from the chair on the way up (none of the terrain in the pictures is open for skiing, any tracks are from patrol):

The Green Run has decent hard packed cover, and there are obviously a few little options to get down, but the vast majority of the runs on Lookout are VERY rocky and still closed.

Even today the run was annoying busy, especially at the choke point created by the flats near the (closed) terrain park. It's going to be packed tomorrow.
post #21 of 22

Sunday 11/25 Conditions

The Green Run was actually in pretty good shape today in comparison with some of the others. Once again I spent a lot of time on Strawberry (yes the runs are boring, the lift is slow, but the snow is actually pretty good).

Jerry's Run on Standish required a bit of rock dodging. I inspected WaWa bowl from the chair and opted to do Tin Can Alley instead which turned out to be in reasonable shape. Fireweed (the short black under the Jackrabbit chair) had been groomed, and by the time I got around to it there was still pretty good coverage if you stayed left and close to the lift tower (six runs at speed ).

I checked out Bluebell which had also been freshly groomed, but found to my regret that Forget Me Not was a very bumpy ride : out to the gardens. Upper Goat Chicken had developed some sizeable bumps and the gully had enough that my thighs knew they had a workout. The skiout was open, but is posted as marginal, so I downloaded on the gondola and had an eagle's eye view of the bare patches on the hairpin turn. There's a chance we might get some snow tonight, and we certainly need it. Some Brits were complaining in the hot springs pool about the lack of snow, certainly compared to last year it is rather dismal.
post #22 of 22
Yes, the green run off Angel was in decent shape (stick close to the snow fence) likely due to good grooming and robbing from surrounding areas.
Way too busy on Saturday but not bad Sunday.
Too many mixed skill levels....dodging rocks....dodging pizza carvers...dodging boarders.....on Saturday.

Grey Cup effect on Sunday and small line ups.

Hate to admit it but Strawberry was the best...especially Strawberry Face coming down the right next to the tree line.

Good to meet you Andy and we will miss the great reports!

Good luck in Colorado.

Banff needs snow like Mars needs women.
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