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Castle Mountain.

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I did a trip report on Castle Mountain last winter and delved into stats., ownership, terrain etc. so I will omit that stuff this time. However you need to know that this is a skier's mountain and Castle is likely the best mountain in North America that most skiers have never heard of and certainly have never been to. Castle is located near Pincher Creek a ranching town and windmill capital of Canada about 2- 2.5 hours south of Calgary.

 

I arrived on a Monday evening just as a 2 week long snowless -20*C to-25*C cold snap had ended and it started to snow. Tuesday morning the overnight snow report said 8cm but the upper mountain had 15-25cm.

 

During the 4 nights that I stayed at Castle it snowed every night and some during the day yet the mid week early morning line up at the lift numbered less than 20 people each day. There were lift opening delays due to Patrol avy control and a staggered opening for the lower Blue chair and then the upper Red chair (each chair approx. 1400' vertical) just meant ski the lower mountain first, then more freshies again on the upper mountain. At the end of each day I was crossing tracks to make powder turns but having no trouble making the actual turn in untracked powder.

 

Each night the wind and new snow completely rearranged the mountain. With the high winds that Castle regularly gets it is common to see areas scoured to bare rock with ankle deep to boot top or deeper 'wind sift" right beside the rock bands. Also with the very small mid week crowds, moguls are rare.

 

I hooked up with Castle Dave and Donna on my final day and they showed me a few runs that I had not found on my own.

 

My favourite run was a nicely spaced tree run beside North Bowl. At one point in the run the terrain ahead looks as if it is going to cliff out but it doesn't. Instead it sort of rolls over and is very steep and deep and every turn causes the slope to slough. I sort of made a turn, caused a slough, then skied out of the slough into another slough turn and then back into the slough from two turns ago. A very interesting experience and one where I found it best not to get too much sloughing in any one line so I zigged and zagged a bit in and out of the slough. A lot of fun.

 

I plan on skiing Castle Mountain again next season and many more after that. If you are a serious skier with a bucket list, Castle needs to be on that list.

post #2 of 7

Shush... Keep it a secret.  I skied the best snow of my life numerous times at Castle and it's the only in bound mountain I've ever skied where I can feel  like I'm in the middle of Rockies and may never see another person once you duck in the trees or down a far chute.  You really should bring a buddy when you ski there though.  Never know when a skier will happen to take your path down the mountain and come across you if you do get in to a predicament.  

post #3 of 7
I cat skied this year with a pair of long time Castle season pass holders.
They both agreed they've had their best and worst days at Castle.
post #4 of 7

it was a pleasure skiing with you Dano. It got even better after you left -hips to chest to shoulder with the odd face shot the following Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday although the first few turns off the top were getting a little wind affected Friday.

See you next year.

post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post

 

My favourite run was a nicely spaced tree run beside North Bowl. At one point in the run the terrain ahead looks as if it is going to cliff out but it doesn't. Instead it sort of rolls over and is very steep and deep and every turn causes the slope to slough. I sort of made a turn, caused a slough, then skied out of the slough into another slough turn and then back into the slough from two turns ago. A very interesting experience and one where I found it best not to get too much sloughing in any one line so I zigged and zagged a bit in and out of the slough. A lot of fun.

This sounds like the plot of a Warren Miller movie!  Good on ya.

post #6 of 7

I had one of those best ever days at Castle Feb. 8, 2008: 

http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=6384  

 

My luck was not so great this time Feb. 27-28:

http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=11381

http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=11389

 

The first day was OK, just not the uniformly amazing experience of some of my prior visits.   Second day the top chair was closed for excessive wind chill; that takes a lot of terrain out of play.

 

 

post #7 of 7

Thanks for the report.  Castle has been on my bucket list for a while.  Just such a cool looking mountain.

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