Things To Do: Exploring Castle Mountain Ski Resort

Crowsnest Pass, Alberta

Castle Mountain Ski Resort

Alberta has 6 Rocky Mountain ski resorts. The Castle Mountain Ski Resort is perhaps the least known of them all - but it's not the smallest! Tucked in the southwest corner of the province, it's a secluded powder haven that's quiet, uncrowded and perhaps one of Alberta's best kept skiing secret.

Most skiers head to the ski resorts of Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper to experience fine Alberta champagne powder. Situated 2.5 hours from Calgary, in the same snow-belt as Fernie, BC, the Castle Mountain Ski Resort is buried under 9 meters of snow annually.

Affiliated with the Lake Louise and Kicking Horse resorts, Castle Mountain is the quiet sibling of the trio.

Castle Mountain Ski Resort is located of the Crowsnest Pass, north of Waterton Lakes National Park and about an hour east of Fernie, BC. I was surprised by the size of the resort on my first visit. It was bigger than I had thought and found out later that it was actually one of the largest ski resorts in Canada.

Ok, the lifts were a bit slow and, in fact, one was a hand-me-down from Sunshine Village (the old Continental Divide Chair). The lift lines were short though. What really blew my mind was:

  • The thick snow base in early December plus the huge amount of fresh, light powder.
  • Lots of tree-line runs, deep powder bowls and, when more fresh powder isn't falling, glimpses of the mountain tops into British Columbia.
  • I left -22C behind in Calgary and ended up in -5 C at the top of Gravenstafel Mountain.
  • The lift lines were short.
  • Castle Mountain Resort had all of the amenities of the bigger resorts but with lower prices.
  • The only place in Alberta to offer cat-skiing (for an extra fee of course) and one of the few in North America to offer cat-skiing from a major resort. Let the kids hit the lift lines while you explore the remote slopes of Haig Mountain.

Prior to this ski-season, I was like most other Albertans (and international visitors) and didn't plan to head to this out-of-the way ski resort. I've been enlightened! Skiing & snowboarding in Canada doesn't get much better than this.

Downhill Skiing at Castle Mountain Resort

  • Apres-ski life is non-existent here. The closest town is about 30 minutes away. This resort appeals to diehard ski-hounds who enjoy quiet beauty and lots of powder, not an active night-life.
  • There are onsite accommodations but most skiers stay in hotels in the Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, about 30 minutes away. Local B&Bs are scattered within the mountain vicinity. Pincher Creek has all services but lacks the full amenities of the resort towns. The mountain and foothills setting is unbeatable.
  • The Crowsnest Highway #3 is two lanes and can be a bit icy in the winter. Check the AMA road report before leaving for the Castle Mountain Ski Resort.

View Castle Mountain Resort in a larger map

Castle Mountain Resort is well worth a visit for skiiers and snowboarders. Find more things to discover in Alberta, including incredible scenery, great hikes and skiing adventures, and interesting roadside attractions.