Groomer machine operators are buzzing around [R1346R, Castle Mountain] to pack snow. The ski patrol has been practicing rescues and emergency techniques, and the T-bar Pub and Grill has been stocking up the beer. That’s all in preparation for the first day of the ski and snowboard season in Southern Alberta.

Castle Mountain is one of those retro areas that may not have any high-speed lifts, but maintains a loyal following of fans from nearby Pincher Creek, Lethbridge, and even Calgary and Montana. Its slopes pack a wide variety of challenging terrain that drops through chutes, glades, bowls and other powder traps.

Devotees of Castle Mountain itching to hit the slopes can do so starting this Friday, Dec. 9, at 9 a.m. During the opening weekend, the resort plans to run three chairlifts—Huckleberry, Blue and Green. Red lift on the upper mountain will open when conditions permit. Full day lift tickets will be sold at the half-day rate Dec. 9-11.

Weather forecasts call for some light snow showers before opening day on Friday. Opening weekend may see some winds.

After the opening weekend, Castle will close Monday through Thursday. The resort will operate daily for the season, starting Dec. 16. Hours shorten on Christmas Day to 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Cat skiing at Castle Mountain, Alberta

Castle's cat skiing will start up Dec. 29. Photo Courtesy of Castle Mountain.

Castle’s cat skiing and riding, the only cat tour operation in Alberta, is scheduled to start up Dec. 29. Cat trips run Thursdays through Saturdays every week. 

Last year, Castle racked up a record season. It tallied a record number of visitors and one of its bigger seasons of snowfall.

Castle Mountain

Castle Mountain had a record year of attendance and snowfall last year. Photo by Becky Lomax.