Castle mountain Resort
What its like to become an instructor at Castle Mountain Resort
Thinking of going to Canada for your first ski season but not sure what mountain you want to live and work at? When I first started looking at locations for my winter I had so many options it was daunting, there is so much information out there and all the ski hills looked amazing. I was working hard back in Australia to save up enough money for the season and all the world-class Canadian resorts I was interested in booked out for their ultimate internship plus courses. There was one resort left and it just so happened to be Castle Mountain Resort, What a blessing this was as Castle is by far the best hill I could have chosen. The terrain at Castle is mind-blowing, with three main lifts and over 94 runs, 2 mountains and 8 alpine bowls - this is the place to be on a Canadian powder day.
"Named in the top 10 resorts for 2018 by snow magazine I'm not joking when I say my biggest problem with Castle is when we get to the very top of the hill nobody can agree on what run to do because there are so many good options."
My top 5 runs at castle mountain
- The Chutes. Castle has the longest chutes in North America. Lone star, Desperado and High rustler are all double black runs that offer incredible views, cliff drops, wind lips and some of the best big mountain riding I have experienced. Do your self a favour and head to castles website and check out the trail map!
- North bowl. Trees, trees and 1 huge powder bowl. This place reminds me of Japan. its a snow trap with beautiful spaced out trees that flows into a huge bowl.
- Drifter to Showdown. This bowl has so much terrain you can ride it all day and its still not tracked out. It features wide-open powder with large wind-blown feature.
- Siwash. Another huge open bowl with spaced out trees, If you take the right route, you have five cat tracks that act as massive jumps into the powder. This is where our EA rep taught us how to do 360s.
- Huckleberry. This is a completely different mountainside. It holds the terrain park, tree run and has access to hike up into the cat skiing area. There's so much to do, you will not get bored!
"Castle is a hidden gem, its 45 mins from the nearest shopping centre in pincher creek. it's 2 and a half hours south west of Calgary so it's pretty isolated. There is so much terrain here that on weekdays there are not enough people to track out the mountain, I have had countless days of fresh powder runs. Not just those first few runs in the morning."
There is 1 bar, a day lodge and about 150 staff that run the place. The community here is amazing, a month in and you know everybody that works on the hill, you get awesome staff discounts and the parties are great. There is always something happening at the t-bar during the week for staff. There are always staff trips to go ice skating, check out night skiing at other mountains or going curling.
"I loved doing my internship as it really fast tracks you into the industry, after I passed my level 1 I had about 2 -3 ski school shifts a week. There is plenty of opportunities to pick up more work on the lifts, in the kitchen or cleaning around the resort."
For me personally, I really enjoyed taking snowshoe turns around the resort boundary. I have also been lucky enough to score my self a job as a cat skiing photographer next season. there are so many opportunities here at Castle and with such a close group of staff, the community here is what makes this place so special. The accommodation I stayed in for the season is 2 mins walk from the bottom lift, I can look out the window in the morning and see what part of the hill looks best. All of the work I do is just a walk across the car park.
My top 5 things to do at Castle:
- Ride the mountain (of course). Its taken me months to try to ride the whole mountain, there is so much skiable terrain here that just when you think you have ridden it all you find another hidden area. It's a gift that keeps giving.
- Go for a hike. There are so many trails and walks you can do around here. At Castle, your backyard is endless forests, rivers and mountains. Get into the back county and earn your turns!
- Make the most of your staff season pass. When you hold a staff season pass you are able to get free days or heavily discounted lift tickets at most of the big resorts in the area. I got ride World class mountains like lake Louise and sunshine village for free.
- Pump track party. all the staff built a mini-park in the backyard. We would sit around the fire, drink, blast some music and watch everybody send it! Or build your own jump somewhere different.
- Head to Pass powder keg for free night skiing on Wednesdays and then hit up wing night! At 50 cents a wing, you can't go wrong!