[R1346R, Castle Mountain Resort] tested out a unique cat ski program last winter. It proved successful enough that the resort plans to continue cat skiing this year.

Cat skiing at Castle is unique. It's the only cat skiing operation in Alberta, and instead of guides, the trip is hosted. You're more on your own to pick routes out of five upper bowls and 11 runs through the forest. Go at your own pace and meet the cat at the bottom to get hauled back to the upper bowls.

"We weren't 100 percent sure about the program when we tested it last year," Vice President Andrew Rusynyk told OnTheSnow. "But after last year, going through the worst snow pack we've ever had and the cat skiing still did well, we want to continue it."

Reaching the 600 acres of cat ski terrain requires riding the Huckleberry Chair to meet the cat, called the Powder Stagecoach, which runs skiers and snowboarders up Mt. Haig. The resort extended the access and egress routes this year.

Cat skiing at Castle costs $275 per person per day. All participants are required to have avalanche beacons, probes, and shovels, which are available for rent. A map of Castle's cat ski terrain is available online. Castle will start operating cat skiing after Christmas.

More information. Or call 888-SKITONS or 403-627-5101.