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  1. #1
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    Castle Mt, Alberta Beta

    Looking for first hand info on this area. Have a chance to spend a winter there, but I'm a little worried. Based on what I've been able to find it looks like it has the potential to be fantastic, but also has a high potential for long periods of really crappy conditions with absolutely nothing else going on there. What's your experience?
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  2. #2
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    Aug 2006
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    NO, DO NOT SPEND THE WINTER THERE.

    Lot of folks here like that place but it is more miss than hit. Personally not a huge fan and I have my thoughts as to the type of skier that likes the place Even if it happens to be a good year like this one you'll be bored as f***, at least thats my take on the place. But thats just my, like, $0.02.

    Edit: And when I say bored, I don't mean the town and area, well that too, I mean the ski hill.
    Last edited by robnow; 03-05-2018 at 09:56 PM.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2008
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    Castle is awesome. Red Chair takes you up to some incredible terrain. Drifter & High Rustler are money.
    "Zee damn fat skis are ruining zee piste !" -Oscar Schevlin

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  4. #4
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    Jul 2014
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    111
    OP: It depends what you want to get out of your winter, and where /how you want to live?... You're correct that Castle can be both amazing, and awful in the same week. It doesn't have a large base area, or a town like Golden/Revy/Fernie 10 minutes away. Robnow is right in that it's not for everyone. Southern Alberta is beautiful, but if you're not sure, consider spending your winter in Fernie, and take a day trip to Castle to see if you like it.

  5. #5
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    Apr 2014
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    What do you want out of a year away? It is an inner journey. Big, party, ski huge lines, likely not for you.

    Local, a flavour...get to know people, and have fun, get to know a mountain inside out, there is some fun to be had.


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  6. #6
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    Sep 2009
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    heart in terrace, ass in cowtown
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    Quote Originally Posted by robnow View Post
    NO, DO NOT SPEND THE WINTER THERE.

    Lot of folks here like that place but it is more miss than hit. Personally not a huge fan and I have my thoughts as to the type of skier that likes the place Even if it happens to be a good year like this one you'll be bored as f***, at least thats my take on the place. But thats just my, like, $0.02.

    Edit: And when I say bored, I don't mean the town and area, well that too, I mean the ski hill.
    Well Robnow, I happen to love the place (having buddies with nice houses and corp passes doesn't hurt). Personally not giving a fuck about "your thoughts as to the type of skier that likes the place", as I'm long past the point of giving a fuck about what anyone thinks about my likes/dislikes. Not sure what's not to love about it (when it's good), however spending an entire season there....perhaps a bit risky. ...

    Having said that, all the kids I've talked to that work there for the season are pretty damn happy. And this season especially.

    Bored as fuck though?? What/where are you skiing when you go there?
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  7. #7
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    We understand the lack of night life and isolation. Just interested in the skiing on-area, side country, and backcountry. Am I correct that they include the cat-skiing terrain in their overall ski acreage number? Is the mountain enough to keep you interested skiing everyday for 10 weeks, and are the conditions consistently decent enough to bet the farm? Once we commit the budget to being there we cannot justify spending $ on motels and lift tickets at other places if it sucks for an extended period of time. We have skied a lot in Canada over the years and spent a winter at Fernie last season, so we have a pretty good picture of the weather up there, but I get the sense that Castle's weather is more volatile than most places (i.e high winds, chinook warming events, higher percentage of lame snow years than most other areas, etc.). Sounds like the consensus so far is that it is too high risk of a bet.
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  8. #8
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    Sep 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mudfoot View Post
    Is the mountain enough to keep you interested skiing everyday for 10 weeks, and are the conditions consistently decent enough to bet the farm?
    No.

    I like Castle a lot, but can't tell you how many times I've skied there when there's a 300 cm base midmountain and I am skiing over rocks off the top chair.

    Do wish to add though that there are loads of great ski opps in Waterton, though those are closed off at least for this year.

  9. #9
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    Sep 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mudfoot View Post
    Looking for first hand info on this area. Have a chance to spend a winter there, but I'm a little worried. Based on what I've been able to find it looks like it has the potential to be fantastic, but also has a high potential for long periods of really crappy conditions with absolutely nothing else going on there. What's your experience?
    I bolded my answer, you are right on the money. Great place when its good, awesome vibe, but go live in Fernie if you're looking for a whole winter's worth of fun.

  10. #10
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    Oct 2011
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    Castle is the only place I've ever skied where you can get fresh lines under the chair 2 days after it snows. Oh, and the Chutes terrain is amazing. Steep-ish big vertical without bumps when I was there.

    The place seems to be doing OK, but I'm wondering how long they can survive with < 100K skier visits a year and ancient chairs that will need replacing? Looks like all of their chairs run on diesel generators which means they don't have good power in there.

    It's SO remote. I think I would go crazy living in Beaver Mines. I was touting it to locals in Fernie and NOBODY I talked to had ever been there.

    They also have had snow issues in past years. I don't remember what year it was, but a few years ago they pulled the plug in February and said they were not going to reopen. That kind of decision really screws the locals.

  11. #11
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    Feb 2005
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    If you ski tour, just do a season out of Revy or Golden regions. Better resorts, more snow and Rogers Pass.

  12. #12
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    May 2004
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    give'er eh!
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    I think Robnow means FGP. And I strongly agree

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by teamdirt View Post
    I think Robnow means FGP. And I strongly agree
    fat girl potential? fucking good price? What are you trying to say? English perhaps?

  14. #14
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    Apr 2014
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    skysos, I think that was 2 years ago they closed early. Fernie was close to closing at the same time and was saved by a monster mid-Feb dump. Overall, that was a really bad year for everyone, Kimberly thru Castle. I think it was one of the few years in history Panorama had the nest snow of anyone, SSV, LL and KH included.

    If looking for a season, would you be looking for temporary employment as well? Or reside and ski only?

    Golden gives you good access to four resorts within 1.5 hours or so: LL, Pano, KH and Revy. Pano and KH you can probably get long term rental on the hill.

    Iíll defer to panodude on the snow mobile access to ski terrain, but depending on your budget, RK Heli flies out of the resort and accessed the Jumbo basin. My son has also looked into ski touring that area as well, though I donít have any reviews beyond him and a buddy skinning around the Dephine drainage and up Paradise Ridge for a run down.

    Tayton Bowl has been expanded dramatically in the last two seasons, with Jeckyll and Hyde and the Monster areas opening up. Management has also gladed terrain everywhere to the extent you can find fresh lines four days after a dump.

    They have a ton of grooming equipment and the grooming this year has been taken to another level. They added about 100 winch cat anchors this last summer, so they can groom stuff never before touched by a cat.

    It is in a bit of a snowfall donut though.

    In terms of local flavor, I think both Pano/Invermere and Golden have a solid vibe, as does Fernie.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by teamdirt View Post
    I think Robnow means FGP. And I strongly agree
    Haha, yes, skiing Castle is a Fat Girl Party
    (Actually not sure what FGP means)

  16. #16
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    give'er eh!
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    Flat gay pow= boring

  17. #17
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    Dec 2005
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    I'll jump in.
    A day, maybe. A weekend, possibly. A winter? Not a fuckin' chance.
    As mentioned, it can be great. Snow 2 days after a storm? Sure, same thing happens to every area in the region except during Alberta Family Day. You can also wreck a ski 2 hours after a storm. It's the only place in 7 years of doing demos every weekend and most weekdays where I've a fleet of skis unskiable at the end of a day. Not just one ski but an entire fleet of 40+ skis. Bonus is that happened twice.
    Lifts are archaic and not in a rustic charming way, in a "oh, look the chair's broken down again" way.
    It's everything good about a local mom and pop hill, and everything bad about it.
    You decide.
    what's orange and looks good on hippies?

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  18. #18
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    Oct 2009
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    invermere
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    569
    Quote Originally Posted by dufferdan View Post
    skysos, I think that was 2 years ago they closed early. Fernie was close to closing at the same time and was saved by a monster mid-Feb dump. Overall, that was a really bad year for everyone, Kimberly thru Castle. I think it was one of the few years in history Panorama had the nest snow of anyone, SSV, LL and KH included.

    If looking for a season, would you be looking for temporary employment as well? Or reside and ski only?

    Golden gives you good access to four resorts within 1.5 hours or so: LL, Pano, KH and Revy. Pano and KH you can probably get long term rental on the hill.

    Iíll defer to panodude on the snow mobile access to ski terrain, but depending on your budget, RK Heli flies out of the resort and accessed the Jumbo basin. My son has also looked into ski touring that area as well, though I donít have any reviews beyond him and a buddy skinning around the Dephine drainage and up Paradise Ridge for a run down.

    Tayton Bowl has been expanded dramatically in the last two seasons, with Jeckyll and Hyde and the Monster areas opening up. Management has also gladed terrain everywhere to the extent you can find fresh lines four days after a dump.

    They have a ton of grooming equipment and the grooming this year has been taken to another level. They added about 100 winch cat anchors this last summer, so they can groom stuff never before touched by a cat.

    It is in a bit of a snowfall donut though.

    In terms of local flavor, I think both Pano/Invermere and Golden have a solid vibe, as does Fernie.
    With a sled you can access most of the rk terrain and It's really good back there. But to have a sled you need truck and deep pockets or play on team visa.

    There is some really nice touring off Pano as well.

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  19. #19
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    Dec 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by robnow View Post
    Haha, yes, skiing Castle is a Fat Girl Party
    (Actually not sure what FGP means)
    Sometimes those fat girls know how to really party.
    dirtbag, not a dentist

  20. #20
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    It looks like there are some seriously big lines surrounding Castle.
    dirtbag, not a dentist

  21. #21
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    Sep 2005
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    Canadian Rockies
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    I've had a top 10 best resort day of my life at Castle and my top 5 worst. So yeah... Castle Rules? I do love it there but don't know if I could live there for 3 months. The wind would drive me mental. But the wind sift conditions can be the stuff of legend. When your tracks fill in every lift ride its surreal.

  22. #22
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    Feb 2012
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    Missoula
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    I skied there a lot when I was a kid, becuase it was closer and cheaper than fernie. Back then they only had the t-bars, and holy shit did that main one suck especially since I had to ride it with my much taller dad or uncle most of the time.

    I was there a couple of years ago and the new stuff off the top is pretty good, buut, for a whole winter? yeah no. You are close enough to fernie and crowsnest pass and montana so you can go elsewhere but it would not be my choice.

    Oh and it gets REALLY windy around there too.
    Last edited by jamal; 03-08-2018 at 02:25 PM.

  23. #23
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    Nov 2014
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    81
    Castle is a great hidden gem and my best days, powder or no powder have been there. The lack of traffic means after a big dump, runs aren't getting tracked out in 2 hours, they are getting tracked out in 2 days. They also get those big 30+cm overnight dumps that the banff resorts don't get. But generally still a little less snow than fernie. The terrain is fantastic, the sustained vertical you get in the chutes is addictive. If you get a wind sift day where the chutes are refreshing every run, its arguably better than powder. Sometimes the cat ski terrain is open for touring, not sure how often though TBH.

    However, for a full season? Bring skins to go to the upper mountain since the red chair closes quite often due to the chinook winds rolling in. Also, the wind does bring in windsift, but it leaves the alpine extremely exposed in some areas (but then again if you're there all season, you know where those spots are). The cell service there is shoddy at its very best.

    I'd only stay there for a season if I had a car and money to go ski resort/tour in fernie. Otherwise it really is a day trip type of resort IMO for Calgary, Southern Albertan people with the patience to keep an eye on mountain conditions.

  24. #24
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    Thanks everyone, this is exactly the kind of info we were looking for. Sounds like a place we definitely need to check out, but not worth a blind non-reversible commitment for a good part of the winter.
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