Sunshine Landing (GR882573)

Zosia Zgolak and I skied up GR882573 near Sunshine Meadows in Alberta's Banff National Park on 8 April 2017.  Zosia and I first took notice of this gently-rounded high point just outside the Sunshine ski resort boundary when we ascended Quartz Ridge the previous year, and we thought that it would make for an easy ski ascent.  We later learned that Steven Song had already skied up this same high point with Ben Nearingburg in 2014.  While Song was unable to find any reference for naming GR882573 and simply attributed the descriptive but somewhat unwieldy "South of Brewster Rock", I have taken the liberty to call this high point "Sunshine Landing".

Given the recent rains and warm temperatures in the mountains, Zosia and I were delighted to see an abundance of fresh snow when we arrived at the parking lot near the ski resort's lower gondola station.  The fresh snow certainly helped to freshen up the lower reaches of the ski-out as we skinned up to Sunshine Village without fanfare.  After taking an extended lunch break at the day lodge, we rode the Strawberry chairlift to the edge of the ski resort and entered the vast expanse of Sunshine Meadows.  Outside the ski resort boundary, we briefly followed a snowshoe track leading to Rock Isle Lake before veering off to the southeast to climb over a low rise.  Once we were in sight of our objective, we took the line of least resistance and tried to avoid any bare patches by detouring to climber's right.

An uncomfortably cool breeze at the high point ensured that we only stayed long enough to snap our requisite photographs and to remove our climbing skins.  One of my skis popped loose when I hit a thin spot of snow near the top, but otherwise, our descent of the west-facing slopes was unremarkable.  However, our ski back across Sunshine Meadows turned out to be a real slog as snow started to ball up under our skis and heels.  While Zosia fared a little better than me, I struggled a lot with my glide and had to stop numerous times to scrape the snow off the base of my skis.  Things improved once we returned to the groomed runs of the ski resort and resumed downhill skiing.  Upon returning to Sunshine Village, we took another extended break at the day lodge before tackling the mostly deserted ski-out to end the trip.
Looks like mid-winter conditions, but it felt quite warm. Zosia starts off along the trail to Healy Pass.
It took us 1 hour 48 minutes to skin up here from the parking lot. Zosia arrives at Sunshine Village.
Riding the chairlift saved us about 138 metres elevation gain and about 830 metres of distance! After riding to the top of Strawberry chairlift, Zosia casts her eyes toward the ski resort boundary.
Zosia: "Now we can breathe!"

Zosia heads out of the ski resort into Sunshine Meadows.

Surprisingly, there were no other backcountry skiers in Sunshine Meadows on this day. Sonny plows forward through Sunshine Meadows with Mount Bourgeau in the background.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

And there is even sunshine on it!

Sunshine Landing finally is in sight.


It's about another 150 metres of elevation gain to the top from here. Zosia ascends the lower slopes of Sunshine Landing.
Easy skinning and skiing! The west-facing slopes of Sunshine Landing are quite gentle.
I think I caught Zosia stripping...her skins! Zosia and Sonny stand on the high point of Sunshine Landing (2473 metres).
I guess I should come back and bag Mount Howard Douglas one of these days... To the north is Mount Howard Douglas.
Do I really wanna ski all the way there to bag some more peaks?? Citadel Pass (centre) looks far away to the southeast.
Time to get in some turns! Zosia removes the climbing skins from her skis.  At distant right is Brewster Rock.
If you were daring, you could probably tuck down this slope... Zosia makes some nice turns as she skis back down to Sunshine Meadows.
I would like to ski Twin Cairns again on a sunny day like this... Twin Cairns provides a nice backdrop as Zosia retraces her tracks.
Maybe later this year... The clouds lift to reveal a clear view of Citadel Peak.
This is roughly where I lost my glide... Here is one last look at Sunshine Landing.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

One of the new Kane scrambles!

The Monarch dominates the western horizon in this view from Sunshine Meadows.



Quartz Hill (left) and Quartz Ridge look resplendent in the afternoon sun.


That was way more strenuous than it should have been! The afternoon sun shines on Mount Bourgeau as Zosia follows a snowshoe track back to the ski resort.
I have some unfinished business on Eagle Mountain in the background... Zosia is about to leave Sunshine Village and descend the ski-out.
Our round-trip time includes nearly 2 hours of hanging out in the day lodge. Total Distance:  21.5 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  8 hours 23 minutes
Net Elevation Gain:  726 metres

GPX Data