August 1, 2013

Hi Folks,

In late June, southern Alberta experienced an intense 100+ year flood from heavy soaking rains. In the mountains, the runoff was accelerated from spring snow melt.

Sunshine Village sustained damage mainly in the lower elevations including washouts to the access road, significant erosion at the parking lot, a few washouts of the summer road (Banff Ave. ski run), damage to retaining walls and underground utilities, along with some minor building damage. One of the most interesting problems we encountered was that the creek at the base area filled with woody debris, silt, and gravel, jumped its banks, and cut a new channel right through the center of the parking lot.

A project schedule was developed and we set a date for the end of September to complete the outdoor work as it often begins snowing heavily in October at Sunshine Village.

We immediately hired several firms including civil engineers, structural engineers, river restoration experts, landscape architects, building architects and contractors to assist us in developing restoration plans and implementing construction. Heavy equipment was brought in during the first week. We also quickly partnered with Parks Canada regarding the plans and regulatory processes we are obligated to follow as Sunshine Village is located in the beautiful Banff National Park.

After the first month, we are on schedule to complete the work on time. The access road construction is nearly completed (which was a Parks Canada project). We are putting the finishing touches on restoring the creek channel in the base area, so the water will flow in the original path. In fact, from a fisheries perspective, the river will have better structure and habitat than prior to the flood. Once the river is relocated, then we can go about repairing the parking lot. The necessary rock and gravel material is being mobilized and stockpiled to accomplish that now.

We are confident the work will be completed in time for a fun and exciting ski season. For those who are regulars, you will notice improvements to the base area and facilities that became necessary. Your resort will be bright and shiny which is the silver lining in this unanticipated event.

Summer hiking is very popular at Sunshine Village and is an international destination for wildflower filled meadows and wonderful alpine trails that begin up at the Village. The access road and ski area has been closed to the public this summer due to safety requirements and to allow the extensive restoration work to proceed as quickly as possible. We have a dozen pieces of heavy equipment working simultaneously in the base area and it is a required hard hat construction zone. This has caused disappointment and confusion from the public that enjoys recreating at Sunshine Village in the summer. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this has caused.

I have heard rumors in the community that Parks Canada has been causing construction delays. This is simply not true. From their leadership to the front line staff, Parks Canada has been helpful and supportive from day-one. We have worked together to complete the required environmental analysis and regulatory processes. Instead of arguing over the validity of the rules and regulations, or the fairness of their application, we have all focused on solving the real issues at hand while respecting the policies and laws. Their team has been on-site daily to monitor the work and we've been working well together. As Sunshine's point-person with Parks Canada, I have no complaints and would like to thank them for their professionalism, focus, and assistance.

The closure of the Sunshine Road means the public must use alternative routes to either access or leave backcountry areas such as Sunshine Meadows, Egypt Lake and Rock Isle Lake. Visitors should consult with the park information centres by phone (Banff- 403 762 1550, Lake Louise- 403 522 3833) or email (, or check the latest trail conditions,, to determine the best alternative route.

We'd like to thank everyone that has been a part of the work this summer, particularly the proud employees of Sunshine Village. Everyone has been positive and rallied to get the work done.

If you have any specific questions, please feel free to contact me directly at

It's going to be another great ski season at Sunshine Village! I can't wait to make some powder turns.

Kindest regards,

Dave Riley

Chief Operating Officer

Sunshine Village Ski Resort