The approach to Castle Mountain in the South-West of Alberta is stunning. The rolling ranches and hills transform to erect mountains in a matter of minutes.
The ski area itself, Castle, is situated between Alberta Park land and Wildland park designations. For the guest, this translates to a myriad of recreational options.
This region has also been the focus of significant effort as a new land-use plan is currently being rolled out, of which Castle is an important player. Not only is Castle advancing its ski experience, but it has also develop summer hiking opportunities with more to come.
General Manager Brad Brush (photo right) has been at Castle for 5 years. He stands in front of Castle’s 54 bed staff accommodation building…a key asset in their recruiting strategy.
Castle Mountain opened in 1966 with two tbars. It now has 4 chairlifts, conveyor, and one of the original tbars…a monster lift named T-Rex. Ski historians will want to know that the upper Red Chair is the former Continental Divide Chair from Sunshine, and the Huckleberry Doppelmayer Chair (photo to right) came from Beaver Creek, Colorado in the 06/07 season.
The ski area also have 6km of groomed cross country trails.
Dave McLeary (photo: far right) is the maintenance and operations manager for the mountain. He is one of the few people I know that started in the ski instructor and ski coaching stream and ended up on the lift maintenance side of the business. He started at Castle in 1980 as a ski instructor, and now leads a team of 12 folks that look after lifts, vehicle and building maintenance, utilities, snow removal, parking, etc.
This year Dave is installing instrumentation on the Red Chair on the upper mountain that allows him to monitor the lift stats from his base office.
At Castle, the mountain operates the Utility which services ski area base facilities and 132 homes. Of the 250 nightly rental beds, the one Hotel Hostel accounts for 50 of them and also runs a rental pool. Castle also offers nightly summer, and winter seasonal rental spots for RVs.
Castle operates 5 Prinoth groomers during the ski season. Castle has some limited snowmaking at the current time in the base area.
Brad Brush (GM), Cole Fawcett (Sales), and Jason Crawford (Sales & Marketing) (photo: centre) are familiar faces at CWSAA events and active participants in initiatives such as the Go Ski Alberta campaign.
The team is also working with industry colleagues at nearby Pass Powderkeg in Crowsnest Pass.
The summer hiking map is a topo map that makes reading the terrain more useful than a non-topo.