Extraordinarily long lineups prompt Sunshine Village to close access when parking lot full

Some visitors to Sunshine Village faced extraordinarily long lift lineups and had to wait hours to hit the slopes on the weekend, prompting the ski resort to start closing off access once its parking lot is full.

The lines got so long last weekend that the ski resort in Banff National Park decided on Sunday to start limiting capacity by turning away vehicles from the road up once its parking lot was full.

“Starting today, we at Banff Sunshine Village will be limiting capacity, in an effort to further encourage social distancing, to our resort by turning away cars once our parking lot is full,” the resort tweeted Sunday.

“We will continue to run our Sunshine Express Shuttle Bus at its current schedule and encourage our guests and team members to ride our Sunshine Express Shuttle Bus as masks are mandatory on our [buses] and we disinfect all our [buses] daily.”

The extraordinarily long lineups for lifts happened because the ski resort was spacing people out in the lines and offering guests the chance to ride with others or cohorts only on the lift as a safety precaution due to COVID-19, said Kendra Scurfield, director of brand and communications at Sunshine Village.

She says it’s been a learning process since the resort opened on Nov. 9, but safety is a priority for the resort and adjustments are being made. 

“We did decide to limit the number of capacity to our resort by closing access once the parking lot is completely full,” she said.

WATCH | Here’s what Jackson Lane and friends saw when they pulled up to the parking lot at Sunshine Village (with some words bleeped out)

Here’s what they saw when Jackson Lane and friends pulled up to the parking lot at Sunshine Village. 1:00

Vishal Saini, who came early for his first ski of the season, said the system seemed to work smoothly.

“I think Sunshine’s done a great job to keep everyone spaced out and making sure everyone’s wearing a mask,” he said.

“They had a line zigzagging through the parking lot and it seemed really long, but it actually moved really quick.” 

Videos posted to social media showed even longer lines on Saturday.

Tips to avoid the crowds

Scurfield said her advice is to download lift tickets online, come on weekdays or wait until the afternoon.

“We have a lot of skiers who leave the resort around 11 a.m., noon and spots do open up,” she said.

Scurfield says changes to the parking lot capacity will remain in place for at least the next two weeks.

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