I've weighed in on a lot of things around here. Skis. Poles. Gloves. The Alps, the Rockies. Gloves. The World Cup, the World Series, World peace. But I've played it close to the vest on BC cat skiing. I've let on that it's good, a solid value. That I want to do more. But I've been stingy with the details. Until now.
(Just for balance, let's say I've skied with several BC cat operators now; that's me at one such below).
And White Grizzly serves up the money shots:
After they're done screening you on the phone, probing for doubts about your skills and gently suggesting you might want to go somewhere more gentle, they make you feel right at home. They make sure you're happy and well fed. And they work their butts off to make sure you ski your butt off (Brad also took most of the pictures here, allowing us to concentrate on skiing).
They built the frickin' lodge themselves, using, I suspect, timber they felled personally and milled with tools they crafted by hand. They designed their cat to be more comfortable than rivals, perfect for socializing, relaxing and eating.
Brad skis with the group every day, which means you effectively get three guides instead of the industry-standard two. The guiding is serious, enthusiastic and well coordinated. You feel safe every run.
They don't emphasize it on their site, but the food is fantastic. Big breakfasts, gourmet dinners -- that's pretty standard cat lodge stuff these days. But it's lunch (in the cat) that sets White Grizzly apart. At most cat ops it's a soggy sandwich and a chocolate bar. Whit Griz goes hard to the hoop: specially blended coffees and teas, home-baked brownies and cakes, inventive sandwiches and wraps. And sushi. In the cat. All followed by hot, homemade soup back at the lodge when the day is done.
** A little story as an aside:
One time when I was there, my friend and I wanted to ski at another lodge on an off day between two tours at White Griz. It was like 20 below and our car wouldn't start, so Brad went out to jump it for us. Meanwhile, Carole's on the phone with the rival operator haggling for a good deal for us the next day. And we're sitting on the couch, by the fire, drinking beers and sipping our soup.
There's not much of a bro vibe:
And it's not a freewheeling kind of place; if you're not into following guides' instructions, this isn't really the place for you:
They're also inundated with moose:
Not really, I just had to get a moose shot in there.
Edited by prickly - 3/29/11 at 5:36am