Castle Mountain Mountain Tour


Castle looks less like a castle than the torso of a fat Buddha facing east, with shoulders two miles wide. There are only five lifts (they’re hoping to develop Haig Mountain and create more intermediate terrain), but the two main chairs head straight up from the Buddha’s tree-covered belly to his neck. (No one bothers with the bare, gravelly head.) From there you have a mile-long traversing trail to either the south or north shoulder, and lots of bowls and chutes down the Buddha’s front and sides. If it’s the weekend, get on the T-Rex T-bar (it doesn’t run midweek) and enjoy. T-bars are becoming an endangered species, because snowboarders don’t like them, but they warm up your legs and keep you out of any wind. Then cruise the blue trail called Easy Street to South Run. But beware the steeps. Many of the blues at Castle would be black-diamonds anywhere else. Next, take the Tamarack Chair to the top via the Sundance Triple Chair, go right and enjoy the views to the west. You’re not actually at the summit, but you’re plenty high, looking at the Continental Divide one ridge over. Continue on the traverse and seek out fresh tracks among the trees of North Bowl.Feeling tough now? Then go to the top and head left this time. Pass under the ranch gate with the noose hanging from it and the sign that reads, “We Hang Poachers Here.” Then get ready. Depending on conditions, when you drop into Lone Star or Murphy’s Law (named after Ripping Grandfather Derrill Murphy), you may be entering a no-fall zone. These suckers are steep. A well-graded feeder trail below the chutes takes you back to the base.