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'What's more Canadian?' Banff resort to open to skiers, snowboarders on Canada Day

BANFF, Alta. — A lingering winter snowpack in Alberta's Rocky Mountains means skiers and snowboarders can spend this week — including Canada Day — on the slopes.

Banff Sunshine Village opened for summer sightseeing last week, but it also plans to open Tuesday for skiing and riding until Sunday.

"We still had such a surplus of snow," Kendra Scurfield, director of brand and communications for the resort, said Monday. "Over 900 centimetres actually fell on our slopes this winter, which is the snowiest on record since the '56-'57 ski season — a time before snowboarding was even around.

"When we got to the end of June with all that snow, we thought, 'Hey, why don't we see if we can open?'"

The resort, which hasn't opened this late in the season since 1991, will operate its Strawberry Express chairlift and groom some of the runs around it.

Scurfield said the resort had to ask Parks Canada if it could reopen that area and have its staff get the runs back into skiing and snowboarding shape.

"They've been busy re-fencing, putting up ropes and really making sure Strawberry Express is safe."

She said she expects two or three runs to be fully groomed in that area.

"It's just the novelty of being able to get out and ski in July, or June," Scurfield said.

The resort announced this week's reopening on its social media pages.

"It has been funny seeing the responses: 'Is this an April Fool's joke? Is this for real? Is this a prank?'" she said. "It has been pretty cool seeing the response and how excited people are and the disbelief out there. I'm excited to see people talking about hopefully coming up and I'm also really excited about doing a couple of runs myself.

"What's more Canadian than celebrating (Canada Day) in a winter destination on skis?"

Visitors can also go sightseeing from the Standish Express chairlift with the same ticket or grab a bite to eat at the resort.

Scurfield said there's hiking in the area, but it's limited.

"It's super snowy," she said with a laugh.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 27, 2022.

— By Colette Derworiz in Calgary.

The Canadian Press