CASTLE MOUNTAIN, AB — The opening weekend at Castle Mountain in Southern Alberta was an eye-opening experience in many ways – my first real snowboard lesson in powder and my introduction to one of Alberta's unknown resort gems.
Jonas Brook, recent addition to SnowSeekers and experienced snowboarding instructor, gave me some great pointers including leaning back through the powder and keeping my tip up. He also had me making sure I had some speed and was pointing my shoulders and turning my body toward where I want to go.
One of the best tips but also the hardest, was to track straight and not skid while going into a turn. Another thing Brook taught me was to lean down the slope on groomed runs and he had me do a drill where I would turn on the downslope of moguls.
At Castle Mountain, SnowSeeker scribe, Dan Moore (left) was all smiles after getting some boarding tips from colleague, Jonas Brook.
It was pretty cold, especially on the second day, but I was undeterred and managed to get in some solid practice.
Believe it or not, there are upsides to the cold – one of the best ones being that it keeps the crowds away.
All in all, I found Castle Mountain a very diverse mountain for an inexperienced boarder. There were lots of runs of varying angles, snow depths, and tree densities with which to test my recently developed skills. The more experienced guys I was with also managed to find some fun and challenging areas to play in.
Finally, Brook gave me a beginner's lesson for dropping off of small cliffs. His instruction there included pointing my board straight down the cliff, and have my front hand pointed low and forward as well. When landing I was not to turn right away, but to go straight as I regained my balance, then turn.
I jumped off of several short cliffs and drops and even managed to land one or two.
After the boarding it was back to the T-Bar Grill and Pub to watch some Canadian curling (yup, I'm a true Canadian) and have a few drinks.
The social atmosphere of the T-Bar is excellent with plenty of good food, chatter over the day's turns and bartenders who know how to look after you.
Learning from a professional instructor is the best way to tackle any hill and the resort has an excellent ski school. For more on Castle Mountain, visit www.skicastle.ca.
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