CASTLE MOUNTAIN, AB — Picking the best runs at any resort is a bold affair; you can be sure of disagreements, arguments, missed opportunities and forgotten gems. However, those things are all excellent, late-night beer-fuelled elements of a good ski debate, so I’ve embraced the situation affectionately and made my declaration.
Picking my Top 10 runs was not an easy process as I’ve spent very large portions of my ski career at Castle Mountain and have seen both it and myself evolve. What I would choose now would be wholly different than what I would have or could have chosen 20 year ago. However, I wanted to give a fair representation of the resort and offer a little bit of something for everyone on the vast spectrum of ability levels and interests.
My criteria for being a “run” is pretty loose, out of necessity. On a decent snow year, run boundaries tend to blur as line choice possibilities are limited only by your curiosity. On any given day of skiing, I tend to talk less about specific runs as generally regions. Most good days at Castle feature skiing done in top-to-bottom fashion, over 2800 veritcal feet at a time, so heading “North” or “South” or doing a “Red Lap” is a more fitting way to discuss your plans with a riding partner who you often only see or talk to on the chairlift. It’s not the most social way to ski, but we certainly make up for it afterwards in the T-Bar Pub.
Some of the runs have been chosen for their consistency and some make it for the maximum fun factors on the best days. I usually subscribe to the quality over quantity mantra and therefore certain areas that may not be very good very often can still rank quite high in my books, because when they are good, they’re the runs you remember. Don’t worry, I’ll let you know which ones those are.
You’ll find all the runs in bounds (perhaps we’ll discuss backcountry options at a later date) but don’t be afraid to mix, match and explore beyond the lines that have been superimposed on the standard issue trail map. It’s the only way to truly discover the soul of a ski area and given enough trial and error, your own special little variation will eventually reveal itself.
Check out this video we shot on Castle Mountain.
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