Castle Mountain Resort has a robust set of operational policies, designed to protect our assets, our guests, and our staff in the event of severe weather. Below is a snapshot of these policies and how they may impact your experience with us, in the event of extreme cold weather.
COLD WEATHER POLICY
There are many hazards that come to the forefront during periods of extreme cold. Just as your car works a little harder in cold weather, so do snow cats, snowmobiles, and chairlifts. Greases and oils begin to lubricate less effectively, among other mechanical items, but more than that we need to think about guest and staff safety during cold snaps.
In the rare event that a manual chairlift evacuation needs to be performed, time is always of the essence. In periods of extreme cold, frostbite and hypothermia can set in quickly. As manual evacuations take time, the risk to guest and staff safety is apparent to us, which is why operational limits have been set.
On mountain injuries, although infrequent, do occur. While time sensitivity varies from injury to injury, tending to bumps, strains, sprains, and other injuries takes time. Despite rescue toboggans being located strategically across the mountains, it takes time to get them on the scene of an injury and transport injured guests to the base area. Acknowledging that extreme cold presents additional risk, limitations on operations have been set.
At -20, the auxiliary (or backup) motors for each lift are started in the morning, as part of morning start-up procedures, to ensure they are operating nominally.
At -25, Castle Mountain Resort implements a flexible cold weather policy. If an air temperature of -25 is recorded at either the base or the top of any aerial lift (chairlift), our mountain safety personnel reserve the right to make a determination on which lifts will or will not operate. Typically this authority is only exercised if extreme temperatures will be accompanied by high winds.
At all times, mountain safety personnel continually monitor conditions and will respond to changes in weather, including opening / closing lifts, at their discretion.
At temperatures at or below -30, aerial lifts (chairlifts) will not operate regardless of whether or not the temperature is recorded at the base or the top terminal of the lift.
Temperatures of -30 or lower are not uncommon but for those temperatures to persist through the day is uncommon. Often times, we’ll start the day with temperatures at or just below -30 and, by 11 AM or Noon, temperatures rise to be within operational range. On days where temperatures are expected to rise above -30, we’ll often delay lift operations until temperatures rise to within operational range and then open these lifts to the public.
It’s important to note that the T-Rex t-bar is not subject to the operational limit of -30 as it is a surface lift which does not require evacuation in the event of mechanical issues. T-Rex and the Buckaroo carpet can and will operate at temperature above -35.
Cold enough for you yet? Once temperatures hit -35 or below, no lifts will operate. This situation is quite rare but it is a possible scenario. Until temperatures crest -35, all lifts will remain closed.
The first lifts to open in this situation (-30 to -34) will be our surface lifts. From time to time, we may start the day with only T-Rex t-bar and the Buckaroo magic carpet which would be followed by chairlift operations once temperatures rise above -30.