Castle Mountain Resort
Directly across the Continental Divide from Fernie, southwest Alberta’s Castle Mountain is known for its long, steep runs: The Desperado is the most continuous vertical ski run on the continent, with 1,700 vertical feet at 38 degrees. Lots of people love how much they can practice their turns here, but — even though there are a couple of green runs and a little bunny slope — this probably isn’t the ideal hill for taking little kids or beginners. Saying that, intermediates and above will love it here. Expect no high-speed lifts and no quaint resort village, no glitz and also, no lines. Instead — 78 trails, 8 alpine bowls, and an average 9 meters of snow each year.
This is one of the windiest spots in Canada, and that’s a good thing. Those Chinooks often whip up the powder and cover old tracks on the runs.
The après isn’t super strong in your base town of Pincher Creek, 30 minutes east. Head to Leo’s Pub and Grill on a weekend, though, and you’ll no doubt find a bit of a party going. Or set off early from Calgary, 2.5 hours north, and make Castle Mountain a day trip.
Day pass: $74, though check the website as prices are subject to change.