Last season was a banner year for Sunshine Village Ski & Snowboard Resort, not just for its record-smashing snow, but also in the hearts of Albertans.

Sunshine Village has come up golden once again in the survey of Calgary Herald readers, who also happen to ski and snowboard in the Rockies. For the fourth year in a row, and the ninth time in 11 years, the people who know best have ranked Sunshine Village the number 1 snow resort in Alberta.

“This is outstanding news,” says John Scurfield, Senior Vice-President Sales, Marketing and Resort Operations. “Winning year after year shows that all the hard work we’ve put into the guest experience has paid off.”

Over the years, Sunshine’s owners have put more than $60 million into lift upgrades and other infrastructure improvements. Today, it has the most modern lift system in the Rockies. But many guests to Sunshine Village say the friendly employees are as much an attraction as the champagne powder snow.

Sunshine is known for Canada’s best snow, and last year proved it in full force. The resort got more snow over the winter than at any time in its 41 years of record-keeping. Meanwhile, guests got to experience the all-new Strawberry Express high-speed quad and sample the après fare at the reconstructed Creekside restaurant, at the base parking lot.

This follows a major reinvestment in the Sunshine Mountain Lodge, Banff’s only ski-in, ski-out accommodation. Its new West Wing opened in December 2009 to rave reviews.

This year, more La Nina weather effect is in the cards: Forecasters are predicting a second record-breaking year.

It’s a great time to buy your 2011-12 season’s pass – it pays for itself in just 11 trips to the mountain, plus comes with dozens of other benefits. Occasional skiers can also try the Sunshine Marmot ski card. Buy online, or call 1-87-SKI-BANFF (1-877-542-2633).