Disclosure: The weekend at Castle Mountain was provided to us in order to write the story.

From the Red Chair webcam, March 5, 2019.

It’s only a couple hours from Calgary, but Castle Mountain feels like one of Alberta’s best kept secrets. As its slogan (“closer to heaven, down to earth”) implies, Castle is a no-frills hill that’s all about great skiing and awesome people.

The resort comes by its community vibe honestly; it’s literally owned by the community. When the resort’s owners wanted to walk away from the operation in the early 90s, a group of local avid skiiers stepped up and took over the hill to ensure Southern Alberta could continue to enjoy some of the best powder around.

Castle Mountain of yesteryear

Now, I’ve snowboarded in the past but I am by no means a regular patron of ski hills, so I relied on my much more experienced ski friend Elliot to tell me how a weekend at Castle stacked up.

In Elliot’s words, our Saturday at Castle was “the best powder day of [his] life.” Check out the current conditions at Castle on their webcams to see it for yourself.

On top of excellent skiing, we were taken by how friendly everyone was on the hill. I’m used to sitting in total silence next to strangers on the lift, but at Castle, every trip up the chair came with a new conversation and a friendly recommendation for another great run.

Castle also treated us to the Scenic Snow Cat Experience, which I would highly recommend for people who love a good view but maybe aren’t as comfortable on skis or a snowboard. We enjoyed a hot chocolate on top of Haig Ridge, which would have boasted breathtaking views had the weather been a little clearer. It was also my first time in a Snow Cat – it was exhilarating.

We stayed at the Castle Ski Lodge, the hotel on the hill, which is about 200 steps from the chair lifts, so it’s perfect for maximizing a ski day. There are also lots of home/condo rental options nearby, so there’s no reason not to live your best ski-in/ski-out life.

We ate at the T-Bar Pub, where everyone seemed to know everyone else, and enjoyed live music there on the Friday night. You can also check out live music on the hill every Saturday and Sunday afternoon from March 9 to closing day with Beats in the Base, so if you were looking for a weekend getaway, now is an excellent time to check out Castle.

Emma Stevens