Fortress Mountain, located off Highway 40 in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, has been closed since 2004. However, plans to reopen the ski resort have been in the works since 2013, and they are now moving forward at an impressive pace. The ambitious goal is to reopen Fortress Mountain in just 23 months, and the project has already received approval for its first phase.
Phase One: Infrastructure and Facilities
Fortress Mountain Holdings' President, Chris Chevalier, announced that they have secured approval for the initial phase of the project, which includes installing five ski lifts, building a new day lodge in the Canadian parking lot, and installing sewer, water, and utility infrastructure. The company has invested almost $5 million in a new water treatment plant and underground piping to ensure the ski resort has adequate resources.
Chevalier also stated that they plan to use Sprung Structures, a company based in Alberta, to build the day lodge quickly and efficiently. The construction window is limited due to the long winter season in these parts. This first phase will help them get the ski hill ready before they move on to the more challenging parts of the project.
Phase Two: Overnight Accommodations
Fortress Mountain is also planning to have overnight accommodations available to visitors who want to stay and ski. However, this is a more challenging phase of the project due to outdated policies and lease agreements that were originally designed only for skiing operations.
The vice president of the company, Chris Mueller, is working closely with the province to find ways to modernize these policies. He says that if the province wants to keep tourism dollars in Alberta, supporting their proposal to reopen Fortress Mountain is a good way to achieve that. Alberta currently loses almost 50 percent of its skier visits to British Columbia, Montana, and Idaho when the borders are open because many skiers want ski-in, ski-out accommodations.
Investors are being sought to help finance the construction of overnight accommodations. According to Chevalier, the company has been working hard to ensure that they stay true to their roots and keep the facilities as Albertan as possible.
A Unique Ski Resort Experience
Fortress Mountain has been the subject of a video series called Ghost Ski Resorts, which was produced by Reel Water Productions from Squamish, British Columbia, and sponsored by the French-based Black Crows ski brand. Chevalier believes that the series captures the essence of the ski resort, and the company wants to keep that same vibe when they reopen the ski hill.
Fortress Mountain Holdings' ambitious plan to reopen Fortress Mountain is well underway, and the company is confident that it will meet its 23-month target. With the first phase approved and investment secured, the ski resort is on track to become a popular destination for visitors who are seeking a unique ski resort experience in the beautiful Kananaskis Country.