Tuesday 8 March 2022

Part 2: Sunshine vs. Lake Louise

A day late, but better late then never, they say.  Part two of our Rocky Mountain vacation got us outdoors and on a mountain, read part one here.  This was why we headed to the mountains and everything else was icing on the cake.  Now that the girls are old enough and skilled enough, one of our favorite family winter activities is going skiing/snowboarding.  We enjoy going to a nearby hill but it doesn't even come close to skiing/snowboarding in the mountains and we've wanted to share this adventure with our girls for years but hadn't experienced it yet.  Now that we have, I kind of think we might choose a mountain adventure over a hot beach holiday, at least every couple of years.  WE LOVED IT!!!  

Now let's look at the two mountains we tested out and give you our take on both.

The gondola ride up to the base is beautiful in itself and a great way to see just how big the mountain is.  Along the way you can get off at Goat Eye (we didn't explore this area),  or ride up to the top where you are greeted by a big chalet, the ski school area, and several chair lifts and numerous runs.  From previous experience Logan and I knew that the green runs at Sunshine are not for snowboarders.  They have lots of flat spots along the way and usually make it almost impossible to have enough speed to get through them, which results in you having to take off your board or side slide it = NOT FUN.  We decided to hit up the blue runs and enjoy the day.  It was COLD,  - 33C in the morning and as the day went on it did improve to approximately -22C.   We were all bundled up and made the best of the day, but didn't take a ton of pictures because our hands would get so cold anytime we didn't have our gloves on, LOL.  Anyway, I've decided that the easiest way to compare the two places are with a pros and cons list. 

  • Lots and lots of different runs to choose from and you wont get board.  
  • Multiple lifts and no waiting (although it was a chilly day).
  • The gondola ride up is beautiful.  Be warned though that they charge a spectator $50 to come up to sit in the chalet and watch (seems kind of steep).
  • A bit less expensive/adult/day.
  • Less waiting in lines because there is so many lift options.
  • Runs are poorly signed, so you often aren't sure where you are going or what level of run you are on.
  • Very open  and windy.

This was unanimously our favorite of the two and next time we would actually skip Sunshine all together to be honest and spend more time at Lake Louise.  We LOVED the atmosphere, the lush tree surroundings and the the runs were just overall better and you 100% felt like you were in the mountains.  Also, we met up with some friends on the hill which was fantastic!

  • The chalet is enormous and it stands at the base where people gather.  It's a busy but also a beautiful sight.  Also, if you do have a spectator they can join you and watch you from the chalet for free.
  • Lots and lots of runs to choose from, as well as a gondola and several chair lifts.
  • The runs are well signed and you don't worry about splitting up as a family because after a few runs you get a good feeling of how the runs reconnect and land back a the base.
  • The runs are LONG, like 15 minutes of straight riding, or longer depending on which chair lifts you take.
  • Spots to take photos along the way that showcase the beauty of being in the Rocky mountain.

  • More expensive, get the Costco passes they are worth it.
  • Further from Calgary and Canmore but still drivable and it's about 30 min. further than Sunshine.
  • More time waiting in line for the gondola but there are many other lifts available, it's just what we choose to wait in line for the most. 

At the end of the day, both were incredible experiences for our family and we would love to go back again next winter.  I definitely think it's going to be something we try to budget for if not every year, every second.  

If you are wondering what the cost of our trip was for basically 2 adults and two youth, two days of skiing, four nights in Canmore, food on the hill and groceries at the condo, and also doing a bit of exploring in Banff, I would say $2600 - 28000.  We also did a shopping day in Calgary and that was an added extra but I also figure the shopping we did there would have been done at home or online regardless, it was just that we did it in one shot.  

That's a wrap.  Thanks for joining me on this travel diaries installment.  Next week, I'll be back with not one but two fashion posts, Monday, March 14th and on Thursday, March 17th join me and the ladies of ageless style in styling our sweatshirts and a link-up.  Happy Tuesday!


  1. So so fun! I used to go cross country skiing in elementary school and only have gone skiing once here in the US. I love snow and one of these days we need to take our boys! Just pretty expensive for all of us so waiting till the younger ones are a little older.

    1. It is expensive! Here too, hence why we really hadn't gone to the mountains until this winter. Where did you grow up?

  2. It looks so fun and it's nice you were able to enjoy and compare the different places! I'd love to go skiing or snowboarding with the kids one day but there are no places here that do it because it doesn't snow here. I'd need to fly to a different state and even then it doesn't get as cold as it was here for you, brr!

    Hope that your week is going well! Another stormy day here.

    Away From The Blue

    1. I totally get it. Although we get a lot of snow, we actually don't have any mountains nearby so my kids have learned on hills that are built for skiing/snowboarding but are obviously much smaller. We had to drive to another province, 7.5 hours is our closest mountain. We really just can't do it all, right! Some things our kids can discover on their own as adults if they choose to.

  3. Lake Louise is on my list of places to visit!

    Curated by Jennifer

  4. Oh my gosh winter wonderland at its best! Love the view from the gondola. It's so stunning and I bet it's even better in person. And I love that you and your family are thinking of making a trip like this a tradition. That is priceless! I don't ski or snowboard but we have been taking the little guy to see snow and ski. He adores it!

    Maureen | www.littlemisscasual.com

    1. As children grow the kinds of things you do together continues to change. Also, they spend more time with friends and less time with us, I know, that's sad but also natural. So getting to go on a vacation like this was a blast. You are welcome to come visit me anytime for SNOW, although you would also experience the cold here.

  5. Your photos are beautiful! It looks like such a fun family vacation! I haven't skied since before my daughter was born and would love to go again!

    Jill - Doused in Pink

    1. We really do try to keep ourselves active in the winter so although we don't have mountains nearby we do have a few manmade ski/snowboarding hills we try to get out to each year. I wish I knew how to ski as well as snowboard because I think in 20 years it would be much easier for me to ski than to continue snowboarding.

  6. I don't like cold, but I would love to do something like this some day. So dreamy and fun!! Austria is home, but I've never been to skiing before. Shame on me! Ha!! Anyways....nice pictures here! :-)


  7. Both these places sound amazing! I'm glad you guys had lots of fun. Beautiful pics!