News Headlines     |     


Dilemma in Delirium Dive - James Cove, Sunshine Village, Canada
Wednesday February 10, 2016 - Email this article to a friend

The mountain face in Sunshine Village near Banff is one of the steepest official runs in the Canadian Rockies. It has been closed all season but may be about to open. PlanetSKI is poised at the top.

Sometimes there has be been too much snow.

Sometimes not enough.

Sometimes it has been too windy and other times too cloudy.

Mostly it has just been too dangerous, but that may be about to change.

Delirium Dive is a full-on big mountain experience that takes no prisoners.

Delirium Dive, Sunshine VillageDelirium Dive, Sunshine Village
















In the main off piste resorts in Europe, Verbier, St Anton or Chamonix, it would just make a single extreme route among many.

Such resorts in the Alps have dozens of such places, but in Canada they are few and far between and that is what makes it special.

I was lucky enough to be asked along by the avalanche patrol with my 21-year old son, Alex, who is working in the resort as an instructor.

"We are making final inspections and will be detonating a few slides and if it's deemed safe then you may be lucky enough to be one of the first riders down," said the ski patrol supervisor, Martin Papillon, to me.

"There is a good chance it won't be safe so I can't guarantee anything," he added.

I needed no second invitation and the next morning we were on the first lift up and heading to the top.

Delirium Dive, Sunshine VillageDelirium Dive, Sunshine Village
















Delirium Dive, Sunshine VillageDelirium Dive, Sunshine Village
















Delirium Dive, Sunshine VillageDown the Dive
















Delirium Dive, Sunshine VillageAvalanche control  at Delirium Dive, Sunshine Village
















And here is a short video of our start as the patrol got to work.


After they vanished from sight we heard a few other bangs reverberating round the mountain.

We returned to the safety and warmth inside the pisteurs hut.

Delirium Dive, Sunshine VillageIt's warmer inside
















One of the blasts had triggered a category 2.5 avalanche - that is about 100m across and enough to bury people.

The Dive was pronounced unsafe once more.

It was disappointing, but I felt more sorry for Alex.

I was lucky enough to be first in with ski patrol last season when I passed through - see here for my report when I skied Delirium Dive last winter.

"No worries at all I will be here when it opens and you will be long gone," he said with a wink.

"Follow me I'll show you some of my favourite areas of Sunshine," he added.

And with that he shot off.

Sunshine Village, CanadaLeaving in-bounds
















We hit the trees.

Sunshine Village, CanadaStill fresh powder to be had
















Sunshine Village, CanadaInto (and off) the trees
















We did the recently-opened south side shoots off Goat's Eye.

Sunshine Village, CanadaShort boot up
















And tackled a few of the steeps.

Sunshine Village, CanadaSunshine Village, Canada
















Delirium Dive is the signature run of Sunshine Village, but there is plenty else on offer.

My day consisted of a fascinating few hours with the avalanche boys and then hitting some of the best routes Sunshine has to offer.

I'll take that.

James will be posting a personal resort review of Sunshine shortly, so do check back for that.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

For the spirit of the mountains

Related Articles

ARE YOU GOOD ENOUGH? (Tuesday November 19, 2019)
VIDEOS TO WHET YOUR APPETITE (Monday November 18, 2019)
48-HOURS IN MAMMOTH (Wednesday November 6, 2019)
OCTOBER SKIING SECRETS (Thursday October 31, 2019)
BALKAN HOLIDAYS RAMPS UP FOR WINTER 2019/20 (Wednesday October 30, 2019)

With thanks to our main sponsors...

Platinum partners

Bronze partners