Peering over the tips of my skis and down into Castle’s South Chute, I drop down into 610 vertical m (2,001 ft) of uninterrupted fall line skiing, grinning from ear to ear. Imagine 1,416 skiable hectares (3,500 acres) tucked away in the southwest corner of Alberta. Now think ski vacation at Castle Mountain Resort and get ready for an out-of-the-park experience. The snow here is called liquid smoke because it’s so dry and light.
Be prepared to fall in love with the scenery, be seduced by the challenges on the slopes and make plenty of new friends at this ski resort located just two and half hours south of Calgary, near Waterton Lakes National Park. The locals love to show visitors around the mountain and Castle’s Snow Host program will pair you with a veteran who knows the scene.
Ski the Continental Divide
Castle Mountain provides a unique Canadian Rockies ski experience that’s outside the national parks. It used to be a hidden gem for powder hounds carving through expert terrain. Now I bring the whole family, as it’s a less expensive and quieter alternative to some of the larger resorts.
This one sits at the Continental Divide, in the path of snow-laden weather systems where it’s not uncommon to get a snow dump of 50 cm (20 in) overnight. Two mountains deliver powder on 78 trails along with a summit elevation of 1,410 m (4,593 ft). Skiers will find groomed runs along with powder stashes, and lots of intermediate and expert terrain. Snowboarding at Castle is every freestyler’s dream. The resort has open bowls, gullies and glades and three terrain parks catering to all skill levels with boxes, jumps and rails.
Try Backcountry Cat Skiing
One of the resort’s greatest attractions is the Castle Powder Stagecoach for both riders and skiers. It’s one of only two mechanized skiing operations in the province, offering six to nine fresh powder runs per trip depending on the group. Your skill level should be at least intermediate for this excursion. If you need powder gear, fat skis and everything else are available for rent.
When the sliding’s done, grab some pizza and kick back with a cold one at T-Bar Pub and Grill. Then head to one of many chalets for rent. The next day, think about snowmobiling, snowshoeing and maybe even cross-country skiing to round out your Castle Mountain experience.