Fortress Mountain Resort
|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (January 2008)|
115 km - (71 mi.)
|Vertical||700 m - (2300 ft)|
|Top elevation||2500 m - (8200 ft)|
|Base elevation||1800 m - (5905 ft)|
|Snowfall||600 cm - 900 cm (236 in. - 354 in.)|
The resort is situated on a 15 km² (3311 acre) Provincial Crown Lease surrounded by Spray Valley and Peter Lougheed Provincial Parks. The ski area occupies a tiny .35% of the total Kananaskis area which encompasses 4211 km². The original lease was granted in 1967 which pre-dates both Kananaskis Country itself by 11 years as well as the Provincial parks which now surround it.
Before being purchased by Fortress Mountain Holdings Ltd., the area had previously been owned by Banff Rail Company, as well as Resorts of the Canadian Rockies (RCR). Aspen Skiing Co. owned the resort in the 1970s and 80s.
In early December 2009, scenes from the film Inception were shot there. In December 2011 the resort hosted the cast and crew from The Bourne Legacy. The area has been featured in many other movies such as Van Helsing, Brokeback Mountain, RV, The Claim, as well as many television commercials.
Historic ski lifts
In the 1980s, an additional T-bar was installed in parallel to the back side of the Curve T-bar to bring skiers from the base of the far-side chair back up to the front side. One summer Hugh Smyth, then manager of Blackcomb who also worked at Fortress, took this additional T-bar apart and took it to Blackcomb and installed it on Blackcomb glacier, thereby making Blackcomb’s high alpine glacier more accessible.
The now dismantled Curve T-Bar lift installed at Fortress mountain was of novel design. It operated in a big loop, draped over a ridge, so that it could pull skiers up both sides of the ridge with a single motor and loop of cable. There was not a similar lift in the Canadian Rockies.
Fortress Mountain Holdings Ltd. is headed by industry veteran Chris "Chevy" Chevalier and Thomas Heath.
Cat skiing began in January 2012 utilizing a Pisten Bully 300 with a 14 passenger cab and a Bombardier BR400 with a 12 passenger cab. Fortress Mountain Holdings will release periodic updates via Ski Fortress
These public lands are currently the subject of both "leases" (meaning exclusive possession) of a small portion of the site and "licences to occupy" (meaning open to the public) on the majority of the site, the access road and the bridge. The lands are administered by Alberta Sustainable Resource Development (ASRD). Redevelopment work is ongoing.
Repairs have been made to the access bridge across the Kananaskis river, the access road to the tenure's alpine site, and the roads internal to the tenure. The two T-Bars have been removed, as have the old rental shop and staff housing buildings. Public access is available for KPOW! cat skiing customers and hikers. There is active avalanche control on the property including the access road therefore it is advisable to contact FMH for latest conditions and closures.