Renowned for its incredible amount of natural snowfall, Sunshine Village is one of the best ski resorts in Banff National Park. Sunshine Village is a huge Banff ski resort, with 9 chairlifts and ski runs spread over 3 mountain faces.
For people just learning to ski, it may be intimidating visiting a world-class Banff ski resort, but fear not as there are plenty of runs at Sunshine Village for beginners. As with all ski resorts, some ski runs are better than others, so to help you make the most of your visit to Sunshine Village and skiing in Banff, here are the best ski runs at Sunshine Village for beginners.
What You’ll Find in This Article on the Best Easy Runs at Sunshine Village
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2 Best Runs at Sunshine Village for First Time Skiers
If you are just learning to ski, try these two super-easy Sunshine Village green runs. While skiing these two easy ski runs at the Sunshine ski resort, you will be around other beginner skiers, with little-to-no-pressure.
1. Mighty Mite Carpet Lift
If this is your first time skiing or your feel you need a safe refresher, your best bet would be to spend some time on the Mighty Mite magic carpet lift. Essentially the magic carpet is a slow-moving sidewalk which slowly moves skiers and snowboarders up the short Sunshine Village bunny hill. Getting on the magic carpet requires no special skill, just a bit of balance.
Once at the top of the Sunshine Village magic carpet, you turn left and make you way to a spot at the top of the bunny hill to begin your journey down. The Mighty Mite magic carpet bunny hill is very short with a gentle downhill slope – a perfect ski run for beginners at sunshine.
If you are an adult who is new to skiing, don’t think the Sunshine Village magic carpet is just for kids – it’s used by adults all the time. In fact, many Sunshine Village ski lessons start here, with beginner skiers learning to ski.
2. Rock Isle Road (Strawberry Chairlift)
If you are just graduating from the bunny hill, we recommend Rock Isle Road as your first green run at Sunshine Village. Turn left when you get off the Strawberry Express Quad Chair and follow the series of signposts with large Green circles on them.
Beginner Tip: No matter where you are in the Sunshine ski resort, the signposts with green circles will denote the easiest way down.
The Rock Isle Road green run is almost always groomed, is very wide and has a gentle downhill slope – the perfect combination for newcomers to downhill skiing.
Another benefit of skiing Rock Isle Road is that it is almost always empty – likely because it is too easy, and therefore not much fun for a seasoned skier. There’s also a slight uphill section in the middle which may require you to use your poles, but hey, you need to practice that too, right?
I would only recommend this Sunshine Village green run if you are brand new to downhill skiing. If this isn’t your first time downhill skiing, I’d recommend skipping the Rock Isle Road green run and leave it for the absolute beginners.
10 Best Runs at Sunshine Village for Beginners
Once you’ve progressed beyond the best green runs at Sunshine Village for first-time skiers, you can start to explore the rest of the easy runs at this incredible Banff ski resort. Based on our experiences, here are the top 8 Sunshine Village green runs:
1. Larch Glade
In our opinion, the Larch Glade run is the best green run at Sunshine Village. You can access Larch Glade run from either the Jackrabbit chairlift or the Wolverine chairlift. Start skiing down the gentle slopes of the nice & wide Miss Gratz green run (which ultimately takes you to the Tee Pee Town heated chairlift).
Rather than ski all the way to the Tee Pee Town chairlift, watch for the Larch Glade trail sign halfway down Miss Gratz. It’ll be a right-hand turn.
Larch Glade is one of the shortest green runs at Sunshine Village. It has a really good downhill slope for a beginner ski run – it’s not too steep, but not too flat either. Larch Glade runs through a large patch of larch trees, which will have lost all their needles in fall. You can identify the larch trees by the many nipples which dot their branches.
Note, there’s a bit of an uphill section just before the Jackrabbit chairlift at the very end of the Larch Glade run. To reduce the amount of poling involved, once you see the Jackrabbit chairlift, go as fast as you are comfortable going.
2. Dell Valley (Strawberry Chairlift)
The best green run off the Strawberry chairlift is Dell Valley. This is likely the most popular green run Sunshine Village for beginners. When I was a kid learning to ski at Sunshine Village, I would ski Dell Valley over and over again.
Turn right as you get off the Strawberry chairlift to start this easy green run. Dell Valley starts off nice and easy with a very gentle downward slope. Eventually you’ll reach a steeper hill as you descend into the valley. Don’t be afraid of this steeper slope – just go as slow as you need to. Almost all the skiers on this Sunshine Village green run will be doing the same.
The steeper hill is pretty short and soon you’ll find yourself in the Dell Valley. The skiing in this part of the Dell Valley green run is super fun, going up the valley slope on one side, then down and up the other side, and so on.
The one downside with Dell Valley is that you’ll get expert skiers entering Dell Valley off the Black Diamond runs from the Standish Chair. These skiers are often very fast and can be intimidating to people just learning to ski.
As you ski this leg of Dell Valley, remind yourself that these are generally expert skiers – they see you and will take care to go around you. Just do your thing and they will avoid you.
3. Kids Play (Wolverine Chairlift or Jackrabbit Chairlift)
Kids Play is a long, enjoyable Sunshine Village green run. You get to Kids Play from either the Wolverine chairlift or the Jackrabbit chairlift. Begin by skiing down Banff Avenue for a little while and then take your second left onto Kids Play.
Kids Play is actually two runs in one: one half is a terrain park, while the other side is a very enjoyable green run. You can watch skiers and snowboarders doing their amazing jumps and tricks on the Kids Play terrain park from the ski run, which is a lot of fun. Our kids love watching the other skiers doing their tricks!
A “C” shaped green run, Kids Play has a great slope for a beginner ski run. It’s not too steep, but it’s steep enough to get as much speed as you want.
Note that the Sunshine Village map makes it look like Kids Play ski run ends at the Jackrabbit chair. This is not true… the Kids Play terrain park ends at the Jackrabbit chair, while the Kids Play ski run takes a turn away from Jackrabbit right at the very end.
Here you’ll merge onto an unnamed green run which takes you to the Goat’s Eye gondola terminal. If you’d like to get to the Wolverine Quad chairlift again, simply look for the Juniper green ski run on the left, just before the Goat’s Eye gondola terminal.
4. Creek Run to Prune Pickers Pass (Standish Chairlift)
The Creek Run is one of our kids’ favorite Sunshine Village green runs. This beginner ski run is off the Standish Express Quad chairlift, which is known more for black diamond ski runs. But fear not, the Creek Run trail is very well marked and is easy to follow along.
Begin the Creek Run by turning right off the Standish chairlift. You’ll see a series of poles in the snow with big green circles on them – follow these all the way down this fun green ski run.
The upper leg of the Creek Run trail is our kids’ favorite part of this beginner ski trail at the Sunshine ski resort. Here, the Creek Run trail has two parts: to the left, you’ll enjoy a nice, gentle slope while to the right, there’s a series of little hills back-to-back – kind of like waves. The kids love skiing over these little bumps – it’s a fun way for beginner skiers to get a little braver with the terrain they are comfortable skiing on.
As the long stretch of gentle ski slope comes to an end, the Creek Run trail will turn sharply to the right. Be a little careful here – stay on the left side of the trail. If you are too far right, you’ll find yourself at the top of a short, but very steep little hill. Stay left and you’ll be fine.
Once you navigate this corner, the Creek Run trail officially becomes the Prune Pickers Pass – another Sunshine Village green run. To you, it’ll be a seamless transition and you won’t feel like you’ve changed ski runs at all.
The Prune Pickers Pass green run begins with a long, straight downhill. Go as fast as you are comfortable going here as there is a slight uphill to manage at the bottom of the hill. Skiers who don’t get enough speed will find themselves using their ski poles to get to the top (it’s not too bad, so don’t push yourself beyond your comfort zone).
Beyond the little uphill, it’s a short distance until the Prune Pickers Pass run meets up with the final stretch of the Dell Valley green run.
5. Banff Avenue (Jackrabbit Chairlift or Wolverine Chairlift)
The main green ski run off the Jackrabbit and Wolverine chairlifts is Banff Avenue, which runs all the way down to the Goat’s Eye gondola terminal or the Wolverine chairlift. Note that this green run is the middle leg of the Sunshine Village ski-out trail.
Banff Avenue is one of the widest ski runs at Sunshine Village, ensuring lots of room for everyone. You’ll enjoy a good downhill slope for beginners on the first leg of this green run. Go as fast as you are comfortable going on this stretch as the middle section of Banff Avenue is a little flat. You’ll likely need to use your poles a bit on this stretch.
The final leg of the Banff Avenue ski run is one of my favorite stretches of green ski trail at Sunshine Village. The ski trail remains nice and wide, and I love the feeling of space it gives me while I ski. The final leg of Banff Avenue has the perfect downhill slope for beginner skiers – it’s steep enough to enable you to go as fast as you want, but not so steep as to be scary for beginner skiers.
6. Sunshine Ski-Out (also called Banff Avenue)
One of the most fun green runs at Sunshine Village is the ski-out. Officially called Banff Avenue, the Sunshine Village ski-out is a 5km long green run from the upper village all the way down to the parking lot.
The full length of Banff Avenue starts at the upper village at the Sunshine ski resort. Start skiing down towards the Wawa chairlift and just keep going. Focus on your speed here as the trail gets a little flat ahead of the Jackrabbit chairlift. This initial leg of the Banff Avenue ski-out trail is nothing special, but more of a means-to-an-end.
To continue skiing the Banff Avenue ski-out, take the Jackrabbit chairlift to the top and ski the Banff Avenue trail described as the #5 green run at Sunshine Village above.
One you reach the Goat’s Eye gondola terminal, take a right-hand turn and keep on skiing. From this stage, you’ll enjoy a super-long green run all the way to the Sunshine Village lower gondola terminal and parking lot.
The Sunshine Village ski-out trail is a unique and enjoyable experience. The ski-out trail is easy all the way down, just as long as you watch the trail signs and avoid turning onto some of the harder shortcut ski runs.
Keep in mind that your Sunshine Village lift ticket entitles you to multiple gondola rides in one day, so you don’t need to save the ski-out for the end of the day. In fact, it’s often a more enjoyable ski run early in the day when no one else is on it. When you get to the bottom, simply hop back on the gondola and go back up.
7. Green Run (Angel Chairlift or Tee Pee Town LX Chairlift)
The guy who names the ski runs at Sunshine Village must have called in sick the day they named the Green Run. Despite the having the most unimaginative name of all the Sunshine Village green runs, the Green Run is a fun ski trail for beginner skiers.
You can access the Green Run from either the Angel Express Quad chairlift or the Tee Pee Town LX chairlift (Canada’s only heated chairlift). The first half of the Green Run runs across the slope of Lookout Mountain (2,730m).
The Green Run is a little hectic at the start as you’ll have skiers coming off the South Divide Trail (above you on your left) and also skiers leaving the Green Run to ski the expert black diamond runs which begin to the right. (The black diamond runs are fenced off and very well marked).
Running across the slope of a mountain means the ski run will be tilted somewhat – your right leg will be lower than your left a little bit. The downhill slope on the Green Run is nice and gentle though.
This may sound a little intimidating, and for some it may be, but it’s really not that bad. Keep in mind, most of the skiers who are going faster than you are skilled and will go around you.
If it’s a clear day, as you ski the upper slopes of the Green Run take the time to soak in the views of Mt. Assiniboine (3,620m) straight in front of you – they are breathtaking!
The Green Run eventually comes to a corner where you’ll make a right-hand turn. At this stage, I recommend you ski as fast as you are comfortable because there is a stretch of slight uphill ahead. It’s common to see people who are just learning to ski poling their way up this hill, so don’t sweat it if you find yourself among them.
After the slight uphill stretch on the Green Run, you’ll be on your way to finishing this long beginner run at Sunshine Village. The final stretch of the Green Run has a lot of other trails feeding into it, so it can seem congested at times. Just relax and do your thing – ski predictably and the more experienced skiers will go around you.
8. Meadow Park
The Meadow Park ski trail is the only green run at Sunshine Village off the Wawa chairlift, which otherwise has a mixture of blue and black ski runs.
Turn to the right as you get off the Wawa chairlift and follow the posts with green dots on them. The Meadow Park green run starts off very gently, with only a minor downhill slope. Skiers who are just learning to ski will really enjoy this leg of Meadow Park.
Before long, the slope on Meadow Park gets a little steeper and you’ll see a stately dead tree in the middle of the ski run. Go as fast as you are comfortable along this leg of Meadow Park as it gets quite flat beyond the downhill. You may end up poling a little bit, but that’s not a big deal.
At the end of the flat section, the Meadow Park trail turns right and becomes one of my favorite legs on any green run in Sunshine Village. The ski trail is nice and wide with a decent downhill slope (but not too scary). It’s just a really enjoyable leg of beginner skiing at Sunshine Village.
Funny enough, while Meadow Park is a perfectly normal and pleasant green run at Sunshine Village, it’s the Wawa chairlift itself which may be scary for beginner skiers. See below for more details.
9. Forget-Me-Not Run (Wolverine Chairlift or Jackrabbit Chairlift)
Forget-Me-Not is a long Sunshine Village green run which extends from the Wolverine or Jackrabbit chairlifts all the way back down to the Goat’s Eye gondola terminal or beyond to the Wolverine chairlift.
To get to the Forget-Me-Not ski run, start skiing down Banff Avenue and take your first right. This section of Forget-Me-Not is pretty steep for a green run, but it’s short. We recommend you ski as fast as you are comfortable down this stretch as there is a short uphill portion of ski trail ahead of you, which will likely result in some poling.
Once you are past the poling section, Forget-Me-Not is a very enjoyable green run. The ski trail is quite narrow in spots, but it has a gentle slope which means you won’t end up going too fast. You may get buzzed occasionally from faster skiers coming off the Bluebell run (a blue run) and/or Trappers (a black diamond run).
Our kids love skiing Forget-Me-Not – not for the ski run itself, but for the countless little trails through the trees just off the trail. These little trails are incredibly fun for kids, if you trust their skills enough to let them try.
The Powerline is probably the hardest green run at Sunshine Village to find. After seeing it on the Sunshine Village trail map, we looked for it for almost a full ski season before we found it. The good news is that once you find this elusive Sunshine Village green run, you should have it almost all to yourself.
To find the Powerline green run at Sunshine Ski Resort, start with the Meadow Park run off the Wawa chairlift. Near the bottom of the run, follow the ski trail signs to the Coral Cut Off run.
Halfway down this short ski run, you’ll pass under a small power line – turn left here! The Powerline ski run does not have a trail marker, which is why we kept skiing past it, but once I (finally) used my brain, I realized that the Powerline follows the power line! Duh!
The Powerline green run is a fun way to get from the Wawa chairlift all the way down to the Wolverine chairlift. Powerline starts reasonably flat, but eventually gets a nice moderate downhill slope going. There’s nothing terribly exciting about this Sunshine Village green run, but it’s nice and long, easy and not crowded – a great combination for people just learning how to ski at Sunshine.
7 Best Chairlifts at Sunshine Village for Beginners
1. Strawberry Express Quad Chairlift – 2 Green Runs
The Strawberry chairlift is the most popular chairlift for beginner skiers at Sunshine Village. Strawberry is the chairlift where I learned how to ski as a kid; I still love skiing on the Strawberry chairlift as it brings back so many fond memories of learning to ski at the Sunshine Ski Resort.
The Strawberry chairlift offers beginner skiers two Sunshine Village green runs to choose from: Rock Isle Road and Dell Valley. Rock Isle Road is for those just learning to ski, while Dell Valley is one of the most popular Sunshine Village green runs.
If you are starting to feel brave and are looking for an easy Sunshine Village blue run, the Strawberry Face run is a good blue run for first-timers. It’s short, not too steep and you’ll hardly ever see another skier on it. Perfect conditions for trying an intermediate blue ski run for the first time!
2 & 3. Wolverine Express Quad Chairlift or Jackrabbit Quad Chairlift – 5 Green Runs
Most of the ski runs at the Sunshine ski resort are on three main mountains which wrap around in a circle to create a large bowl. There’s a little hill sitting at the bottom of this bowl under the lower slopes of Goat’s Eye Mountain and Lookout Mountain.
The Jackrabbit Express chairlift and Wolverine chairlifts both terminate at the top of this hill. The ski runs on this little hill are some of the best green runs at Sunshine Village. Sunshine Village calls the Strawberry chairlift its beginners’ chairlift, but we think Wolverine and Jackrabbit offer better skiing for beginners. When we come to Sunshine Village with our kids, we spend most of our time on these chairlifts.
There’s a balanced selection of green runs, blue runs and black diamond runs off these two chairlifts. Larch Glade, our favorite Sunshine Village green run is found here. You can start Larch Glade from either chairlift, but it ends at Jackrabbit.
Another of the best green runs at Sunshine Ski Resort is (upper) Banff Avenue. This long & fun green run goes all the way back down to the Goat’s Eye gondola terminal and beyond to the Wolverine chairlift.
One of our kids’ favorite green runs at Sunshine Village is Forget-Me-Not. This is a very narrow ski run which ends at the Goat’s Eye gondola terminal. Forget-Me-Not has a very gentle slope, but our kids love it because of all the little side trails through the trees on the side of the ski run.
Yet another of our kids’ favorite green runs at Sunshine Ski Resort is Kids Play. This run is half ski trail and half terrain park. Our kids enjoy skiing Kids Play as it’s a nice, wide green ski run with a good slope, enabling them to go fast if they want. They especially enjoy watching the bigger kids do tricks on the terrain park – I can just see them taking mental notes, waiting for the day they get to try!
Rounding out the green runs on the Wolverine and Jackrabbit chairlifts is Miss Gratz. This is a nice, but short green run to the Tee Pee Town chairlift. There’s nothing too remarkable about Miss Gratz, outside of it getting you to the Tee Pee Town chairlift, which is Canada’s only heated chairlift (it has a windshield too!). Keep in mind, that the only green run originating from the top of Tee Pee Town is the Green Run.
On item to note about the Jackrabbit chairlift is that it moves really fast – the time between chairs is very short meaning you have to move quickly in order to load. If you are not comfortable with this, simply get the attention of the Jackrabbit lift operator and signal for them to slow the lift down. Don’t be shy about asking for this – they get it all the time. Your safety comes first!
4. Standish Express Quad Chairlift – 2 Green Runs
The Standish Chairlift is known for its black diamond runs, but it also has two of the Sunshine Village green runs. Turn right when you get off the Standish chairlift and then stay to the left to find the two green runs.
Creek Run is the better of the two green runs off the Standish Quad chairlift. Follow the poles with the green circles on them to ski the Creek Run Trail.
Borderline is the other green run off the Standish chairlift. We didn’t include it in our list of the best green runs at Sunshine Village, because we don’t like skiing it very much.
The Borderline run has a long stretch of flat terrain, which results in a lot of poling. To be honest, it’s just not that much fun to ski. If you are just learning to ski and are willing to trade some poling for a less crowded ski trail, then the Borderline may be a good green run for you.
5 & 6. Angel Express Chairlift and Tee Pee Town LX Chairlift (4 Green Runs)
The Angel chairlift and the Tee Pee Town chairlifts end at approximately the same place about 2/3 the way up Lookout Mountain. Almost all the runs off the Angel Express and Tee Pee Town chairlifts are black diamond runs, but there is a single green run which you can ski from these chairlifts, the Green Run.
The Green Run is the likely the longest green run at Sunshine Village. Rather than going straight down Lookout Mountain (like the blue and black runs ski do), the Green Run goes across the slope to take the most gentle route down possible.
While the Green Run is the only easy ski trail available to beginner skiers at the top of the Angel and Tee Pee Town chairlifts, you’ll have a few additional Sunshine Village green runs to choose from further down the mountain.
The Assiniboine Trail, Grizzly and the Yellowhead are three green runs which take you from the Green Run to the Great Divide Express Quad chairlift. Given there are no green runs on the Great Divide chairlift, chances are you won’t ski any of these three Sunshine Village green runs.
The Springhill green run is also accessed from the Green Run trail. You can transition to the Springhill green run shortly after you pass the terrain park on the left (a special ski run with lots of jumps and tricks for skiers to do). Springhill is a green run, but it enters a pretty narrow little canyon with a lot of fast skiers on it. If you are new to skiing, I’d recommend skipping the Springhill run and staying on the Green run all the way to the bottom.
There are actually two more Sunshine Village green runs on the slopes downhill of the Tee Pee Town and Angel Express chairlifts: Packers and Pilgrims. These two green runs are only accessible if you ski either the World Cup Downhill blue run or the Ecstasy black diamond run. Given you need to ski a blue run or a black run to get to them, these Sunshine Village green runs aren’t accessible to beginner skiers.
7. Wawa Quad Chairlift (3 Green Runs)
There is only one Sunshine Village green run which begins at the top of the Wawa chairlift. The Meadow Park green run is a very enjoyable ski run for beginners at Sunshine Village.
There are two additional green runs which you can take near the bottom of the Meadow Park run.
The Coral Cut Off run is a very short, and somewhat steep, shortcut between the Meadow Park run and Banff Avenue. You’d only take the Coral Cut Off shortcut if you want to get from Wawa down to the Jackrabbit chairlift.
The Powerline green run is an unmarked Sunshine Village green run. Despite clearly seeing it on the Sunshine Village ski maps, it took us nearly an entire ski season to find it! While on the Coral Cut Off, simply turn left under the powerlines (duh!). The Powerline green run takes you all the way to the Wolverine chairlift.
The Wawa chairlift is in a funny little spot at Sunshine Village, sitting just downhill of the main ski resort buildings and chairlifts (Strawberry, Angel and Standish). Once you decide to ski the runs at Wawa you have some work ahead of you to get back to the main village. You either need to walk back uphill, or ski down to the Jackrabbit Chair, then ski to the Tee Pee Town chairlift and take the Green Run back to the village.
Another quirk of the Wawa chairlift is that it has a conveyer-style loading system. Rather than skiers using their own power to get to the loading spot on the chairlift, the Wawa chair has a conveyer belt underneath it. Once on the conveyor belt, the skiers stand still while the conveyor belt moves them forward.
The chairlift moves faster than the conveyor and eventually meets up with the skier, who then sits down. It’s a bit intimidating at first, but after the first time it’s a piece of cake. If you are nervous, signal to the lift operator that you are new to using a conveyor chairlift and they will help you through the loading process.
Worst Chairlifts at Sunshine Village for Beginners
It’s worth noting that there are two chairlifts at the Sunshine Ski Resort which have no green runs on them: The Great Divide chairlift and the Goat’s Eye chairlift.
In my opinion, the Sunshine Coast intermediate ski run on Goat’s Eye is a pretty easy blue run. When you feel confident enough in your skiing skills, you may want to give it a try. It’s a really long run, which is fun, and the views from the top on a clear day are epic!
Banff Skiing Packages
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Visit Banff in Winter
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Where to Stay in Banff
- Sunshine Village Mountain Lodge
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- Kid-Friendly Hotels in Banff
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Dan Brewer, a life-long Alberta resident, calls Canmore home along with his wife and two kids. He is the co-owner of Travel Banff Canada, where he gets to share his passion for the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Dan, along with his family, love being outdoors doing one of the many activities they enjoy in the mountains: hiking, mountain biking, paddleboarding, skiing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
When he's not in Canmore enjoying one of his favourite local hikes, you can find him hoping on a plane to explore a new country with his family or working on one of their other two travel sites: Family Can Travel and Baby Can Travel.