In the southern reaches of Alberta, Castle Mountain stands as a sleepy anachronism from a time before corporate interests began turning ski hills into real estate machines.
Infrastructure is bare bones, grooming is minimal and there’s not a high-speed chair in sight. And skiers and snowboarders here wouldn’t have it any other way.
Storm systems in these parts drop an arcane amount of snow over short periods, and along with a prevailing wind that reloads steep faces and chutes over and over again, there’s rarely shortage of soft turns. Whereas most mountains stair-step and undulate, Castle boasts a relentless pitch that just doesn’t quit. Desperado, one of several runs in the South Chutes zone, clocks in a hardcore 518 vertical metres at over 30 degrees—one of the most continuous vertical runs in North America. If that weren’t enough, Castle’s Powder Stagecoach hauls a daily group of 12 riders to hundreds of acres of natural terrain just off resort boundary on upper Mount Haig. With trees, rollers and windlips, this is where you first-timers can get a taste of bottomless turns without a track in sight. So crush laps until your thighs burst, then occupy a bar stool at T-Bar, one of the most authentic après bars you’ll find anywhere.