The first trip of the 2010/2011 ski season started as usual with everybody being punctual and leaving a record breaking 20 minutes before the scheduled departure time. The 26 participants lounged happily in a spacious bus leaving the mastering of the slick looking roads to our driver. Again we took the new Calgary bypass, Stoney Trail, and then lunched at Cochrane. When we passed the Park Gate, we gave our Sunshine Hotel Contact a call as he had requested this in order to estimate our exact arrival time.
Our arrival at the bottom of the Gondola at Sunshine was definitely a five star reception arranged by the Sunshine Hotel Contact. All room keys, ski locker keys and lift passes were distributed on the bus in check-in envelopes and while this was proceeding, hotel staff unloaded the luggage. We then tagged our bags and skis with the tags having been provided complete with names and room numbers in our check-in envelopes. And that was that for our contact with the luggage until it all reappeared in each room and in the ski lockers assigned to each room.
Sunday night saw us on the mountain in the Hotel Chimney Corner for an informal get together. All first time tour participants were accounted for and ski groups were assembled to accompany each other the next day. The weather promised to be much better than the year before and fortunately the weather report was correct. Sunny skies and reasonable snow conditions awaited us in the morning. Also we were fortunate to run into our Sunshine Hotel Contact, who then happened to ski with us in the morning on his day off “as a private person”. This was the morning Goat’s Eye Mountain opened and the Sunshine Coast run became the favorite run for our visit – at least for some of us. At noon, some of the group took advantage of the Sunshine Ski Hosts, which took skiers from one lift to the next. The Hosts will ski at the level requested by guests as long as it is green or blue. In the evening we were treated to our Club dinner with Clam Chowder, poached BC Wild Sockeye Salmon, expertly carved and tasty Baron of Beef, several delectable salads, baked veggies and such, chased by Tiramisu and a chocolate mousse of melting charm. Coffee and tea rounded this picture off.
The next day had a few clouds but there was snow which was very much appreciated this early in the season and again the temperatures were very reasonable (in contrast to a year ago). In the evening, some people decided to take in a talk at the Hotel, given by one of the Staff, about the Park and the Ski Area, others were content to remain in the comfortable lounging chairs in the Chimney Corner. On Wednesday we woke to falling snow and a bit of a “socked in” feeling and some healthy breeze on the tops but we were fortunate as the sun did come out in the afternoon and a few brave souls even ascended the upper slopes including Goats Eye after some “below the tree line” skiing off the Wolverine Chair in the morning. With a couple inches of fresh snow on top of groomed runs, this skiing was not a hardship at all.
In the late afternoon of Wednesday our bus was loaded and all 26 participants were returned to Edmonton after a dinner stop at Red Deer (Gasoline Alley).
The first trip of the season appears to become a proper favorite with some participants and the Tour hosts thanks to the back up/supervisory Team of Art and Kathy plus the stalwart members that were seen quietly keeping an eye on the skiing, so nobody got lost or discomfited. The “mixing” zone in the Chimney Corner and anywhere else appeared to be working very well indeed and was enjoyed by all.
Submitted by Anke Seifried