The Castle Mountain Community Association (CMCA) has been active as a formal not for profit organization since 1996. However, the foundational spirit traces its roots far before then.
In the early 1960’s Paul Klaus and a group of die-hard skiers forged their way into the Westcastle Valley, using a D-9 bulldozer they trudged through the 2+ meters of snow that blanketed the valley floor. Their efforts were not in vain as they found a pristine wilderness, naturally cleared of foliage due to a great fire that ravaged the valley 30 years prior.
By the winter of 1965, they had four Muller T-bars installed, spanning over 2,500ft which provided access to over 3000 skiable acres on Gravenstafel Ridge. A beautiful Swiss-style day lodge was built, which housed guest accommodations on the top floor – it was a skiers paradise. However, trouble in paradise loomed.
Low-mid week skier visits were beginning to take their toll, and with the voracious winds, the top T-bar struggled to stay open. Management would decide later that year to remove the t-bar and sell it to Mt Baldy Ski Resort.
1975 held promise, the Canada Winter Games came to the Westcastle Valley, but due to record snowfalls were delayed. Avalanches plagued the valley, so much so that the resort shut down, guests and residents alike were evacuated and the road closed – deemed too dangerous for travel. Eventually, the storm subsided, and the games were carried out without issue. However, new years rang with disaster, the beautiful Swiss style day lodge burnt to the ground. After a string of misfortune, the fire was the last straw, and the resort was sold to the MD of Pincher Creek.
The MD owned and operated the Hill until 1994. Becoming disenchanted after several seasons plagued by unusually warm weather and poor ski conditions. The MD succumbed to public pressure and pulled the plug on the operation. A group of die-hard locals banded together to create the Westcastle Supporters Association and ensured the solvency of the hill by developing a trust fund. In 1996 the group incorporated and bought the resort laying the framework for what it’s become – Castle Mountain Resort.
The legacy put forth by Paul Klaus, and carried through the years continues; we are a community banded together by a common purpose who, against all odds, will continue to promote and provide exceptional experiences to all who visit the Westcastle Valley