Alberta’s final ski resort opened last Friday with powder conditions more on par with mid-winter than December. Castle Mountain Resort, located in Southwest Alberta, cranked up its lifts for the 2012-13 season.

Castle Mountain sailed into its opening day with powder shots in the upper elevations where wind deposited snow. Conditions on the side of Mt. Haig looked so good that officials decided to start up cat skiing earlier than usual. To the delight of skiers and riders, the Castle Mountain Powder Stagecoach ran two days of cat skiing over the weekend.

The ski area is now open daily for the season. Cat skiing will continue running on its normal Thursday through Saturday schedule with a day costing $325, including lunch and the use of the beacon, probe, shovel.
 
This winter, Castle Mountain has added a special snowshoe adventure on Saturdays. At the end of the day, the Last Tracks Snowshoe Tours catches the Huckleberry Chair up for a guided walk back to the base area. Tours cost $40 per person, including snowshoe rental and lift ticket. The rate drops to $30 for those who only need rentals and $20 for those who have snowshoes and lift tickets.

For overnighting at Castle Mountain, the Castle Lodge and Hostel offer two styles of accommodations. The lodge has hotel rooms, and the hostel has beds in rooms that house six or eight people. Midweek stays get the best rates for both.

Hotel rooms run $135-165 with the exception of the Christmas holidays; rates go up to $174-204 Dec. 21-Jan. 5. A Midweek Special for overnighting Sundays through Thursdays gives a discount with rooms costing $110-140.

To stay in the hostel, you can claim one of 58 beds with a shared bathroom down the hall. Sheets and towels are provided. A bed costs $27 regularly, but $35 Dec. 21-Jan. 5. The Midweek Special for Sundays through Thursday nights drops the price to $22 per night.
 
To make reservations in the Castle Lodge and Hostel, call 403-627-5121. For more information, go here.