John's Report - March 20, 2004

Castle Powder

The prospect of rain, ice & frozen ruts did little to encourage attendance at Fernie�s hill yesterday. It was a different story at Castle Mountain (previously, called West Castle), the base and top of which are at least 1,000 feet higher than Fernie�s. The reports of 20cm overnight were enough to fill up with gas and head east.

Castle lived up to its billing. There was ankle-deep fresh powder with endless untouched lines. It was not until the last 1/4 of the mountain that the smooth sheet ice made its appearance under the powder, which offered enough support to continue descent with hardly an adjustment at all.

For those who don�t know, Castle Mountain is a quaint & relatively undeveloped mountain (like Fernie many years ago) located between southern Alberta�s Waterton National Park and the Crowsnest Pass. It is about 1 � hours from Fernie. The mountain is truly a gift from the gods, having what many say are the longest straight fall lines in North America. There are numerous runs that afford more than 10,000 feet of straight line descents over verticals greater than 4,000 feet. It is primarily an advanced rider�s mountain for those who love steep, deep and wide open mogul-free terrain. More information can be found at Castle�s website:

The least favourable runs were Drifter, High Plains and OK Corral ridges, where winds had stripped off much of the snow. The shoots were a dream of powder and creamy wind drift that provided wondrous skiing. Outlaw, in the bowl to the right of Tamarack Chair, and both Northern Exposure and North Star offered good relatively deep powder, which, like most of the mountain was, if not untracked, the next best thing to being so.

All in all it was a fine day of fine skiing.

Castle Mountain is a great alternative when the rains bring misery to Fernie.

The Entrance to the Shoots

North Star with Castle village below