Mountain-top yoga at 7,200 feet Sunshine launches first slopeside on mountain yoga and ski retreat in Banff National Park February 3, 2014 Lindsey Witzel always envisioned a tropical setting complete with lush, thick jungle fauna when picturing a yoga retreat. Instead she was one of the first to experience yoga slopeside, replacing palm trees for snow-laden evergreens in the heart of an internationally recognized Rocky Mountain ski resort. The Calgary-based mother of two participated in the first ever Sunshine Village Restorative Yoga and Ski Retreat held exclusively on mountain at 7,200 feet. The new retreat is the first of its kind in the region, boasting a complete weekend getaway on top of a mountain in Banff National Park. And while Witzel had experience practising yoga in the city, this was her first experience taking yoga from the studio to the slopes. “It (the retreat) really exceeded my expectations,” began Witzel, an avid snowboarder, when describing Sunshine Village’s new retreat. “The actual yoga classes themselves were pretty amazing. They weren’t extremely beginner courses and they weren’t advanced, although you had the option based on your ability.” “But what really blew my mind was the yoga practise on the mountain. Whatever expectations or notions you may have going in, forget them. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before.” The practise was created by Canmore local Christine Davidson, who leads Sunshine Village’s yoga and ski retreats. Both a veteran ski instructor and yoga teacher, Davidson developed a restorative class to really help skiers and snowboarders prepare for a day on the slopes, ease sore muscles at the end of the day, and really connect with the relaxation and serenity of their environment while on the slopes. “The most powerful thing about Sunshine Village is just being in the space, with its expansive, beautiful mountain vistas,” said Davidson, when describing her passion for the Canadian Rockies. “For me, I’ve always been training as an alpine ski racer and instructor, and every time I step out on the mountain, it’s deeply meditative. It is such a great way to remove oneself from busy life and really take time to relax and renew.” The all-inclusive weekend retreats, which are held at the eco-luxurious Sunshine Mountain Lodge, include customized healthy organic meals, yoga classes both on and off the slopes, and plenty of time to enjoy champagne powder turns. For Witzel, who snowboards frequently with both her husband and young children, the retreat was a great way to really enjoy the slopes from a different perspective. “This is just a peaceful, mindful experience of going down a mountain. It isn't training, it isn't coaching, it is making yourself aware of where you are and what your intentions are of getting down the mountain,” Witzel finishes. “It’s a relaxing, rejuvenating and mindful weekend away.” Sunshine Village Restorative Yoga and Ski Retreat dates: February 21 – 23, 2014 March 7 – 8, 2014 April 11 – 13, 2014 May 2 – 4, 2014 For more information visit http://www.skibanff.com/things-to-do/restorative-yoga-and-ski-retreat/ or call 1-87-SKI-BANFF (1-877-542-2633).