Put Castle Mountain Resort and Pincher Creek on your family’s must-do list
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By Annika Mang
With its rolling prairie hills and mountain views, a recent visit to Pincher Creek and Castle Mountain Resort, gave our family of four an epic day of skiing. But more than that, it stole all of our hearts. We’ve classified it as a perfect southern Alberta family getaway that we won’t forget. Here are our three reasons why.
Snowshoeing under the stars with Alberta Parks
"Look at the beautiful mountain sunset mommy,” says our daughter. She has a thing for sunsets lately and I have to agree with her.
The 20-minute drive from Pincher Creek to South Syncline in Castle Provincial Park for the Alberta Parks' Starshoeing event was off to a good start. Truthfully, I was a little worried about snowshoeing after bedtime with our two- and four-year-old daughters. But at the same time, I was also excited to experience a star-filled night sky in the mountains together.
When it was all said and done, our snowshoeing was a great success. Tessa, our Alberta Parks guide told stories about the night sky that captivated our girls. We all had a chance as a family to take in the wonder of it all, with thousands of tiny sparkling stars. The bonus: having complimentary hot chocolate and cookies around a woodstove in a cozy mountain hut made it truly unforgettable.
Powder turns at Castle Mountain
“Come back for a hug and kiss,” I called out as my girls headed to the Castle Mountain daycare for the morning. Julia, 2, was already climbing up the slide. A quick kiss and hug, and my husband and I are free to explore with our mountain guide, Cole Fawcett.
Huckleberry Chair is a great morning warm-up run with a nice selection of greens and blues. This is where a lot of families end up skiing and the blue run we take gives us our first taste of Castle Mountain Powder.
But the morning is flying by and soon we will be exploring the lower mountain with the girls. We want to tackle something more challenging, so we head up to the top of the mountain via Sundance and the Tamarack Chair. Cole takes us to The North Peak, perfect for those days with lower visibility. The powder on the run is unreal and my face gets covered with each turn.
After a morning of powder, we pick up the girls and have lunch in the cafeteria. The satisfying latté from Joe’s café hits the spot and now it’s our littles turn to ride. We passed the magic carpet lift on our way to the green chair. It offered a chairlift experience with runs that are perfect for beginners. Our four-year old rode up and down the chairlift six times, encouraged by friendly staff and other skiers. It couldn’t have been a better way to introduce the girls to snowboarding.
Exploring Pincher Creek
At first glance, it may be easy to overlook Pincher Creek. Looking a little deeper, I discovered there are a handful of local stores worth checking out, including SEEDS Flower shop, Ruffles Boutique and Blackburn Jewellers. Each store has its own unique vibe, but all shared one thing: they were inviting and had plenty of cool finds.
We were charmed by Pincher Creek and all it had to offer. Outside the Co-Op Grocery store, a great place to pick up some local food, a man was selling wooden carved goods. It only took a little more exploring to find out some of Pincher Creek’s secrets, like the Yoga offered in a Yurt by Shanti Hollow Yoga.
The town is at the centre of some of Alberta’s best recreational areas. Just a half hour away, in one direction is Castle Provincial Park and Beauvais Provincial Park. In another direction is Lundbreck falls, which also just happens to be right near the Oldman River Brewing Ltd. There’s not a better way to end an afternoon of outdoor activities.
We came away with the feeling that Pincher Creek makes a perfect home base for winter adventure, and a wonderful place to connect as a family.
If You Go
Pincher Creek, makes a great base camp for either exploring Castle Provincial Park, Castle Ski Resort of the community itself, is around two and a half hours drive from Calgary.
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