Castle Mountain Resort improvements underway, more than $1.5M invested to enhace ski experience
A southern Alberta ski resort is not letting summer go to waste. Castle Mountain Resort is adding more snow making equipment, upgrading one of its lifts and making improvements to the day lodge and cat skiing equipment.
The investment of more than $1.5 million comes following a ski season that forced many resorts to get creative in order to keep operating during the pandemic.
“We are reinvesting every single dime that we made this past season and then some,” said Caslt Mountain Resort sales and marketing manager Cole Fawcett.
With the hot summer and dry conditions, it may seem hard to believe but the ski season is just three-and-a-half months away.
Work is underway on several major upgrades to both indoor and outdoor spaces.
The biggest project is a $1.1 million investment in snow making equipment and infrastructure.
“I don’t think its any secret that Mother Nature sometimes needs a little help,” said Fawcett.
He added snow making equipment is vitally important at the beginning of the season, and helps to ensure there is great snow coverage through the important Christmas holiday season.
“In the face of a changing climate and uncertain weather patterns, we need to have snow making infrastructure,” said Fawcett.
Castle Mountain Resort initially invested in snow making equipment in 2019.
It helped to extend the ski season from about 115 days to 132 days last year. Work being done this summer will add underground electrical and water pipeline infrastructure to allow for better snow coverage and earlier access to and from the main mountain.
Additionally, a second snow making pump and snow making machines will be added, which will more than double the amount of snow that can be made at any given time. Fawcett said the improvements will allow more terrain to be accessible in the early season, and provide better snow coverage throughout the year.
The resort posted a picture of snow at the top of the Tamarack (Red) Chair on its Facebook page Tuesday.
Other projects include new flooring on the day lodge, replacing the drive unit on the Tamarack (Red) Chair and upgrading Castle’s Powder Stagecoach cat skiing operation.
A new, 13-passenger cabin, made by Metal Form Industries Inc. of Innisfail, will be paired with a purposed snowcat from the resorts snow grooming fleet.
The new cabin will feature comforts that weren’t available before, and increase the reliability of the cat skiing operation, helping to minimize the amount of down days due to mechanical issues.
“We’re proud to be reinvesting in the experience of our guests” said Jason Crawford, director of mountain operations.
With many activities unavailable last winter due to pandemic restrictions many ski resorts saw a boost in attendance and attracted families that hadn’t visited a ski hill in years.
“What we are looking forward to is trying to maintain some of those visitors, trying to keep them,” said Fawcett.
‘We would love to see families continue to ski in a non-pandemic period.”
Castle Mountain Resort is scheduled to open for the season on Friday, Dec. 3. A limited number of season passes remain available with reduced rates in effect until Sept. 30.