Sunshine Village vs Lake Louise: Which Ski Resort is Best?

Sunshine Village and Lake Louise are the biggest ski resorts out of the Banff “big three” in Banff, Canada, but which is the best? In this article I’ll be directly comparing Sunshine Village and Lake Louise in terms of their slopes, villages, prices, accommodation and more so you can decide which is the best option to visit.

Sunshine Village vs Lake Louise

Lake Louise is a larger ski resort compared to Sunshine Village and offers more runs for beginner, intermediate and advanced snowboarders and skiers. However, the snow quality in Sunshine Village is typically slightly better and it is located closer to both Banff and Calgary.

Aspect of the ResortBest Resort
Beginner TrailsLake Louise
Intermediate TrailsLake Louise
Expert TrailsLake Louise
Snow QualitySunshine Village
Ski VillageLake Louise
Best Value for MoneyLake Louise
Easiest to Travel ToSunshine Village

Ski Map and Pistes

Lake Louise is a larger resort compared to Sunshine Village with 4200 acres of skiable terrain compared to Sunshine’s 3500 acres. Both resorts have a similar percentage of beginner, intermediate and expert runs so cater for all ability levels.

The terrain in Lake Louise is often described as being more interesting compared to Sunshine and there are also more trees to provide some shelter from the harsh winds. You can also access trails of all ability levels from pretty much every lift making it a good option for groups of mixed abilities.

Lake Louise is also usually less crowded compared to Sunshine Village.

Here is a link to the piste maps for both resorts:

StatisticsSunshine VillageLake Louise
Base Elevation5450 feet (1660 m)5400 feet (1646 m)
Top Elevation8960 feet (2730 m)8650 feet (2637 m)
Skiable Terrain3500 acres4200 acres
Vertical Drop3361 feet (1070 m)3250 feet (991 m)
Total Trails120 164
Green Circle Trails (Beginner)23%25%
Blue Square Trails (Intermediate)46%45%
Black/ Double Black Diamond Trails (Expert)31%30%
Longest Run5 miles (8 km)5 miles (8 km)
Night SkiingNoNo
Slope and piste map information for Sunshine Village and Lake Louise

Snow and Weather

Sunshine Village has a longer ski season compared to Lake Louise. Both resorts usually open at the start of November but Sunshine Village usually only closes at the end of May whereas Lake Louise usually closes at the start of May.

  • Average Ski Season Dates for Sunshine Village Resort: Early Nov – Late May
  • Average Ski Season Dates for Lake Louise Resort: Early Nov – Early May

Sunshine Village typically has better quality snow compared to Lake Louise.

MonthTemperature in
Sunshine Village
Temperature in
Lake Louise
November-7°C / 19°F-7°C/ 19°F
December-14°C / 7°F-13°C/ 8.5°F
January-12°C / 10.5°F-14°C/ 7°F
February-12.5°C / 9.5°F-10°C/ -14°F
March-7°C / 19°F-5°C/ 23°F
April-1°C / 30°F1°C/ 34°F
Average temperature during ski season of Sunshine Village and Lake Louise
MonthBase Snow Depth Sunshine VillageBase Snow Depth Lake LouisePeak Snow Depth Sunshine VillagePeak Snow Depth Lake Louise
Nov81 cm (32”)53 cm (21”)97 cm (38”)26 cm (26”)
Dec112 cm (44”)81 cm (32”)127 cm (50”)109 cm (43