FORTRESS MOUNTAIN RESORT
Message from Thomas Heath, Managing Director
When I first embarked on the mission to redevelop this truly phenomenal ski resort, I thought I was in the skiing business. After all, with over 50% of Alberta skiers going elsewhere to indulge their passion, surely I’d be able to attract enough business to make our numbers work, especially given our close proximity to Calgary and the highest base elevation in Canada. (And SNOW!) It makes rational business sense, right? Skiing is a fairly flat business everywhere except the US and Canadian Rockies and location always wins the day, or so I thought.
Although the above statement is completely valid from a rational perspective, I was wrong. Completely wrong.
It soon dawned on me that we are not in the skiing business. We are in the multi-generational family entertainment business.
Here’s just one example, albeit a little extreme: A family in Sao Paulo watching the scenes filmed at Fortress in the latest Planet of the Apes movie directly demonstrates our ability to entertain every person on the planet in some way. How cool is that?
Skiing just happens to be but one facet of the gigantic 3,600 acre diamond we are entrusted with protecting and responsibly developing.
Of course, not everyone skis. In fact, not everyone likes to ski. (They do, they just don’t know it yet!) But in an age of family fragmentation, it’s more important than ever before to create places and spaces where families can connect and reconnect in a healthy and fulfilling way. For example, when we look at the word “Recreation” we tend only to think of an activity of some kind or another. What we may not realize however is the true meaning of the word:. “RE-CREATION”. We see it on the faces of our guests. We read it in their glowing testimonials. We hear their euphoric voices in our snowcats. In some way, visiting Fortress has re-created them in some way that’s extremely valuable to them. This is especially true of the families that have been cat skiing with us over the past six seasons. Families that play together, stay together.
Fortress is the perfect landscape for re-creating family bonds while enjoying some recreation. Not only that, it’s Alberta’s last chance at creating a truly world-class destination resort.
We have to continue broadening our appeal to the kids, the parents and the grandparents in each and every family. And we will continue to do that. It’s our sole mission. And in today’s world, it’s a vital one.
Here’s one more: My late wife Tanya came up with some incredible ideas before we lost her to cancer in June of 2012. One of my personal favourites is the "Food Cat”. Picture one of our snowcats converted into a mobile food and beverage outlet. It’s never been done but we know it’ll be a huge hit with the crowds. Music, loungers, sunshine and deep snow in a remote area. Where does it get better than that? She’ll be proud: Tanya’s Food Cat! My new wife Melanie is moving forward with her ideas and coming up with many more. I’m very fortunate to have had these genius women in my life.
So in closing, I urge you to join us as we continue to grow this incredible, once-in-a-lifetime adventure. We have perseverance, imagination, curiosity and a world-class team of passionate leaders assembled. We're a successful business because we are all doing something that is aligned with who we are at the highest level. It feels right. It feels good. Because it is.
What do we need to get to the end of the next phase? You!
The Heath Family
Thomas, Melanie, Rowan, Adrian and Max
Photo taken by Don Bell - featuring Thomas Heath
FORTRESS MANAGEMENT TEAM!
At age 18, Thomas spent 2 years at Sunshine Village as a lift operator. After that he became an airline pilot at age 23, owned a flying school and was an airshow pilot for ESSO for several years before moving to Eastern Europe. After returning to Canada, and a lifelong entrepreneur, Thomas jumped at the opportunity to take over majority ownership of Fortress Mountain Holdings Ltd. along with his wife, Melanie.
CHRIS "Chevy" CHEVALIER
After beginning his ski career as a gondola operator in 1980, Chevy gained rapid prominence in the ski industry in Canada and New Zealand before becoming Mountain and Risk Manager at Sunshine Village Ski Resort and a member of the Leadership Team. Chevy brings a wealth of insight, contacts and expertise in ski resort planning, development and operations.
Director of Operations
Chris began his ski industry career in 1995 at age 18 as a lift operator at Sunshine Village where he developed the Terrain Park program. Chris left Sunshine in 2000 to start a tour company called Giddy Goat Adventures until 2007 when he returned to Sunshine to develop and expand the snowmaking program.
Co-Founder of Westjet Airlines
As one of the founders of Westjet, Don knows that when you win the hearts and minds of your people they will serve your customers better than anyone else and take your business to amazing heights. Westjet became one of the most successful airlines in North America by aligning values and interests of its People with those of the Company. Don is a ski lover, has been part of the KPOW! cat skiing operations from the start, and is a strong advocate for the re-opening of Fortress Mountain Ski Resort.
CEO of PBA Land Development
Patricia leads the overall growth and management of PBA Land, where she brings over 25 years business experience in a variety of high profile rolls. Prior to PBA, Patricia founded 3 successful oil & gas companies and worked on Wall Street managing the energy and sovereign sectors. She has won numerous awards in real estate development.
Former COO of Genesis Land Development Corp.
Jeff is a born and raised Calgarian and has spent many joy filled days skiing Fortress Mountain. Jeff could not pass up on the opportunity to be involved in the resurrection of Fortress. Jeff's a Professional Planner with over 25 years experience in both public and private sectors of land development planning, and brings policy development and project implementation to the Fortress Team.
CELEBRATING 50 YEARS!
- Established in 1967 as Snowridge Ski Resort by Calgarians Dave and Evan Bullock.
- Purchased by Aspen Skiing Corporation in the early-70’s and renamed Fortress Mountain, after the iconic mountain that towers over the ski hill.
- Taken over by Resorts of the Canadian Rockies (RCR) in the 90’s.
- Closed by RCR in 2004 due to lack of investment required to compete in the market.
- The Banff Railway Company bought Fortress in 2005 with plans to revive it.
- FMH signed a long-term lease for Fortress in 2011 and began cat skiing operations.
- FMH has invested over $2.5 million and generated $2.5 million in revenue over the last 4 years. All $5 million has been invested into the redevelopment plan.
OUR HISTORY RUNS DEEP!
DOWNHILL SKIING TERRAIN
PHASE 1 | PHASE 2
FORTRESS IS A PRIME DESTINATION FOR THE FILM & MOVIE INDUSTRY!
FUTURE RESORT FACILITIES
LUXURY MOUNTAIN ACCOMMODATIONS
Incredible Wildlife Abounds in the Canadian Rockies.
FORTRESS MOUNTAIN RESORT RESPECTS AND MAKES THE PROMISE TO PROTECT THE WILDLIFE AND THEIR NATURAL HABITAT.
Created with images by Falashad - "Musing"