Skip to main content

Fortress ski hill on track for December 2023 opening

Kananaskis Country, Alta. -

Reopening Fortress Mountain in 23 months is a lofty goal but one that Chris Chevalier and Chris Mueller are confident in.

"We have our approvals in place for phase one," said Chevalier, Fortress Mountain Holdings president. "Which is essentially five lifts, a new day lodge down in the Canadian parking lot and sewer, water, utilities, all the infrastructure we need."

Chevalier said just under $5 million has been invested into a water treatment plant at the ski hill located off Highway 40 in Kananaskis Country along with underground piping that he wanted to get done before tackling the ski lifts.

As far as the day lodge goes, he's looking at one built by Sprung Structures.

"Because we want to stay Albertan as much as we can and they build beautiful structures and that will go up quite quickly," said Chevalier. "Our construction window is pretty limited up here, winter lasts a long time in these parts."

Fortress opened in 1967 and closed in 2004. Since 2011 it has hosted the KPOW cat skiing operation. Its owners and investors have been making reopening promises since 2013.


Chris Mueller is the company's vice president and is working closely with the province to keep the project moving forward.

"Right now one of our biggest challenges is being able to build a modern ski resort that has accommodations in a village," said Mueller. "The challenge there is that some of the policies and the leases, the way they're worded are a little bit dated in terms of ski hills, they aren't just skiing anymore, and it's a full package now."

The goal is to eventually have overnight accommodations at Fortress for visitors who want to stay and ski. Fortress is looking for investors for that phase of the project because Chevalier said many skiers wanting that experience end up heading further west.

"Alberta loses almost 50 per cent of our skier visits to British Columbia, Montana and Idaho when the borders are open," he said. "Because people want ski-in, ski-out accommodation and you see it every Friday night, the Trans Canada lights up and people are going west."

Mueller said if the province wants to keep those tourism dollars here, a good way to do that is by supporting their proposal.

"Yeah, we're trying to work cooperatively," said Mueller. "We see their goals on tourism and we want to obviously achieve that, it helps us, it helps the province and gives us another gorgeous ski area to enjoy."

The old Fortress resort is featured in a video series called Ghost Ski Resorts. The series is sponsored by the Black Crows ski brand based in France and was produced by Reel Water Productions from Squamish, BC.

"What they turned out was pretty special," said Chevealier. "They captured this place, they captured the vibe that we want to keep when we reopen this this place."

See the video here: Top Stories

Stay Connected