Mountain Mindfulness: Après and Wellness at Banff's Sunshine Village
For some, ski vacations are all about the powder. For others, it’s the best runs. But for most people, it’s about the après. After a few ski vacations, it’s easy to discover why – there’s just so much more to the ski hill than slopes to shred.
Take Sunshine Village, in the heart of Banff National Park. Here, you won’t just find world-class skiing (with that famous champagne powder), but also relaxation to rejuvenate your mind and those weary muscles.
The Sunshine experience begins in the heart of the village. Grab a whipped-cream-topped hot chocolate and decide — in front of a wood burning fire — whether you want to tackle the hill or ease into your day. Only 90 minutes from Calgary, you'll be in vacation mode ASAP.
Snowshoe through the powder
Not everyone, however, skis or boards. Sign up instead for a snowshoeing tour and wander through the backcountry with a professional guide, following in the footsteps of the First Nations. This two-hour excursion doesn’t require any previous experience; if you can walk, you can snowshoe! Tours end the way all alfresco adventures ought to — with a traditional cheese fondue inside a cozy alpine restaurant.
Indulge in a mountainside massage
Since you’re already above the tree line, enhance your elevation with a visit to Verde Day Spa inside the lodge. As its name suggests, Verde is committed not only to providing professional pampering services, but also to respecting the environment. Offering facials and a variety of different massages from therapeutic to Swedish to relaxation, all treatments are administered with organic products making it easy to relax knowing you’re doing good for the environment.
Massage is a fantastic tonic after a heavy leg burner day on the slopes. However, having tense muscles kneaded into submission is so much more than a treat. According to Verde owner Philippa Liston, “It’s about creating well-being within yourself and your mind,” she says. “Massage helps to keep us healthy, so we can continue doing the activities we love.”
Give into relaxation
After levitating off the massage table, the choices for your next relaxing activity are (almost) endless. Soak your cares away in Sunshine’s massive outdoor hot tub or stretch it out with an onsite yoga class.
Certain evenings each week, a certified instructor leads yoga classes at Sunshine Mountain Lodge. Tight quads? Tense shoulders? Fret not. These classes focus on skiers’ needs, resetting the sore spots to get you back on the hill (or at least into the hot tub).
Those yearning for a purposeful mountain getaway can blend the restorative practices of yoga with the moving meditation of skiing during weekend yoga and ski retreats offered throughout the season.
Sip on a fine wine or craft beer
Mindfulness on the mountain is easily achieved. Will it be a brisk walk through the woods, a sumptuous massage or perhaps an enlightening yoga session? After your experience, ease back to the warmth of your chalet or cruise down the gondola as twilight gives way to a canopy of stars. Before you say farewell to this salubrious spot, seek solace inside Creekside Bar & Grill. There are many health benefits to red wine, after all.
No matter how keen you are on exploring the slopes, you'll quickly see why it's always sunny at this mountain resort.