Castle Mountain in Alberta has gained a reputation for inbounds steeps and extreme skiing. Fame came three years ago via a 12-minute film shown before the Warren Miller movie on its Canadian and European tour. The film chronicled a group of locals dropping the first descent down the 45-degree east face of Mount Haig.
Most skiers won't head to Haig's east face, but rather the inbounds black diamond steeps that sit well above treeline in direct fall line chutes on the south side of Gravenstafel Ridge. The Tamarack Chair that runs to the ridgetop drops skiers on to the wind-scoured Skyline Traverse to a series of 30- to 40-degree pitched snow-filled chutes, some with 1,500 feet vertical.
A steady increase of skiers and snowboarders heading into the backcountry adjacent to the resort catch the Huckleberry Chair running up the Haig Ridge. The recently installed lift accesses terrain popular with beginners and intermediates, but it also knocks a 45-minute climb off backcountry ski treks into out-of-bounds touring and extreme terrain.
Bowls and glades flank Haig Ridge's southern slope, common backcountry touring terrain within an hour or so of walking from the top of the lift. Extreme skiers jump off the ridge's north face on drop shots through cliff bands such as Chimo's, a 90-minute climb away.
Only those with ski partners, snow knowledge, first aid, and avalanche gear should venture outside the boundaries. Check conditions with the ski patrol before departure and be ready to pay rescue fees if you get in trouble outside resort boundaries.