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1 Day Cat Skiing - Red, Revelstoke or Castle

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

We would like to do a day of Cat Skiing this season around 5th Jan.

 

We have narrowed our options down to Red (Rossland, BC), Revelstoke, or Castle Mountain.

 

All do 1 day of cat skiing for between 300-400 CAD per day before tax.

 

My question is - can anybody recommend which would be the best option at that time of year?

post #2 of 18

We have passes at Castle and have done their Catskiing which is lots of fun later in the season but I can't recommend that early. It could be great or it could be awful but being that far East and on the other side of the Rockies means it takes a while for their base to build.

Here is my wife Castle Cat skiing in March 2011

1000

post #3 of 18

 I was booked at Big Red last year for 1/12-14.  Paula called me on the 10th and cancelled.. They hadn't been able to build their roads yet.

Some of the storms had gone a little further north, so we were able to book at Baldface, which is also quite a bit higher.

 

I'd wait until the last minute?  Somebody will have snow, hopefully they have spots?

post #4 of 18

Of the three you list, I would recommend Red, simply because it's early in the season, and if Red doesn't work out, you have numerous other choices within a short distance (Baldface, Valhalla, etc.). You may or may not be able to snag a stand-by seat.

 

I have no experience with the cat operation at Revelstoke, but several comments on this forum have suggested that the cat skiing at Revelstoke doesn't have all that much to offer over skiing within the lift-served area.

post #5 of 18

The cat operation run out of Revelstoke Mountain Resort is not advised.

 

If you are fit you can ski 80% of the lines they'll bring you on with a maximum hike out of 20min. The area the resort uses for its cat ops was so poached last year that they would often cancel due to the lack of snow (by the time beacon search was done, you could get 2-3 laps based on 8:30 first chair). I know there were rumblings about moving the cat zone even further from the resort, but that too will eventually be poached. That said Revelstoke as as a resort is incredible, and really stores the snow for days, if you get nice directions. The town does have many genuine cat and heli operation not run in the resort sidecountry so Mustang, K3, and the heli mica/eagle pass are more genuine.

 

Do you have resort days too? Good Luck, should be fun either way
 

post #6 of 18

I've done cat and I've done heli - heli wins hands down.  The rides are so long in the cat that you get cold and stiff.  You spend a lot of money and don't get much skiing.  Spend the extra bucks and do the heli.  I've done CMH (heli) out of Revelstoke and it was epic.

 

Here's an option if you know your way around.  I've done this a few times in the backcountry near Steamboat:  Get three people and two snowmobiles.  Get a length of water-skiing rope with a handle.  Three guys go to the top on the first run.  Two guys ski down, one guy takes a snowmobile and hauls the other guys up like you are waterskiing.  Alternate so you drive every third run. We've done this on Buffalo Pass fifteen minutes from Steamboat on exactly the runs that the Steamboat PowderCats go.  You can use the fire roads (as the cats do) to get back up.  Your hands and arms wear out long before your legs.  We've done fifteen runs in four hours, each with 1200 to 1500 feet of vertical.  You can't beat it.  You lap the folks three or four times who paid $600 for a half day.

 

Bob

post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by WVSkier View Post

 

Here's an option if you know your way around.  I've done this a few times in the backcountry near Steamboat:  Get three people and two snowmobiles.  Get a length of water-skiing rope with a handle.  Three guys go to the top on the first run.  Two guys ski down, one guy takes a snowmobile and hauls the other guys up like you are waterskiing.  Alternate so you drive every third run. We've done this on Buffalo Pass fifteen minutes from Steamboat on exactly the runs that the Steamboat PowderCats go.  You can use the fire roads (as the cats do) to get back up.  Your hands and arms wear out long before your legs.  We've done fifteen runs in four hours, each with 1200 to 1500 feet of vertical.  You can't beat it.  You lap the folks three or four times who paid $600 for a half day.

 

Bob

 

They're charging $600 for half day at Steamboat??!? Good grief! At least in BC, $600 (or thereabouts) gets you a full day of some amazing terrain.

 

For the snowmobile thing, it's great. All you need are two $10,000 sleds. Although I'm not sure why you need two of them. One $10,000 sled should do. First trip up, like all the others, is one driver and two skiers on the ropes.

 

Anyway, we doubt that the OP is in any position to do this.

post #8 of 18

Revy is higher and more consistent then Red... especially at that time of year. You may however run into more hiker tracks at Revy.... or possibly snow mobile tracks at Red. Best bet is to jump on standby depending on the snow.

post #9 of 18

That is early season sking  i would not recommend any of those companies that time of the year .,revy cat sking is just on the south side of the stoke chair and my no have enough snow cover that early , Red is run by red mountain cat sking and is in the coastal mountain range and its usually raining in january down low and snowing up high but thats a gamble,castle is on the east side of the rockies and that sometimes is not ready too ski either . If you have not booked yet you my not get the trip in they fill up fast ,the rate is cheaper that early in the season,all this being said it my snow like crazy and you might have the time of your life

post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all of the useful information. Interesting comments about Revelstoke.

 

We are a couple based in London UK and will be flying out to Vancouver on 26th Dec. We wanted to check out vancouver Island and the sunshine coast for a few days (no skiing) as we have never seen that area. We have allowed 4 days for this (scratching the surface, I know) which has us on the first ferry out of Gibson's on New Year's Eve or the lsat ferry the night before. We had planned on spending NYE in Whistler for the atmosphere and a bit of skiing. The party side would be great, but we also wanted to actualy ski and so we decided against spending 100+ dollars for day tickets to spend half the day standing in line again smile.gif , so our plans have changed.

 

We are thinking of heading to Rossland for NYE night as it will have a good atmosphere and the hill is likely to be less busy the following day. Alternatively, we could have a shorter drive to Revelstoke and then head down to Rossland/Nelson. We will spend a 2/3 days at Red and Whitewater, then head to Castle Mountain as everyone I skied with last season raved about it. It's Kicking Horse/Banff after that until we fly back to London from Calgary on 12th Jan.

 

Our itinerary will allow us just one day cat skiing, never having tried Cat or Heli skiing before. This would make a day at Castle a perfect fit as we'll be well warmed up by the time we get there. I hadn't thought about Red until I remembered they have a similar single day and stand-by option.

 

Our one day criteria rules out Chatter Creek, Baldface etc... as they only do multi day, as far as I'm aware. Also want to keep it below 400 CAD if possible.

post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tugger View Post

That is early season sking  i would not recommend any of those companies that time of the year .,revy cat sking is just on the south side of the stoke chair and my no have enough snow cover that early , Red is run by red mountain cat sking and is in the coastal mountain range and its usually raining in january down low and snowing up high but thats a gamble,castle is on the east side of the rockies and that sometimes is not ready too ski either . If you have not booked yet you my not get the trip in they fill up fast ,the rate is cheaper that early in the season,all this being said it my snow like crazy and you might have the time of your life

 

Big Red Cats is a separate operation but bases out of Red Mountain.  We've had great conditions with BRC in mid to late December but also have struck out until later in January.  It's variable.  Also, Red isn't in the Coast Range, it's in the southern Monashees/Selkirk Kootenay mountains.  I don't know about Castle other than I've heard it's dry snow but doesn't necessarily get as much snow as the Kootenays.  As for Revelstoke, the cat terrain is kind of lame and I would rather get a day trip with Selkirk Tangiers Heli skiing.  Here's a video we shot in early January last year at S-T.  Click on the top story.  No shortage of snow!

 

http://www.epicski.com/peak-travels

post #12 of 18

Sounds like Revy isn't a good idea which leaves Red and Castle. I would suggest you go to Red, cat ski there if appropriate and come out via Castle and cat ski there too if conditions allow. That way you have the satisfaction of giving it your best shot and if neither works then just ski inbounds. Also the difference between one and two days cat is insignificant compared to the total price of your trip. Usually the most likely days for getting a last minute cat at Castle is Thursday or Friday rather than Saturday. If you are at Castle midweek you will likely get some excellent deserted inbounds skiing anyway even without the cat.

Just to muddy the waters did you know you can go north out of Whistler up the Duffy Lake road and catch the TransCanada Hwy without going through Vancouver? It's the wrong way to get to Red but just thought I'd mention it.

Another handy hint - never ski under the chair New Years morning.


Edited by Castle Dave - 11/1/12 at 1:35pm
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Castle Dave View Post

Sounds like Revy isn't a good idea which leaves Red and Castle. I would suggest you go to Red, cat ski there if appropriate and come out via Castle and cat ski there too if conditions allow. That way you have the satisfaction of giving it your best shot and if neither works then just ski inbounds. Also the difference between one and two days cat is insignificant compared to the total price of your trip. Usually the most likely days for getting a last minute cat at Castle is Thursday or Friday rather than Saturday. If you are at Castle midweek you will likely get some excellent deserted inbounds skiing anyway even without the cat.

Just to muddy the waters did you know you can go north out of Whistler up the Duffy Lake road and catch the TransCanada Hwy without going through Vancouver? It's the wrong way to get to Red but just thought I'd mention it.

Another handy hint - never ski under the chair New Years morning.

Thanks Dave. We should be at Castle midweek so I look forward to that.

Yes I did know that you can go north out of Whistler. We have done this in reverse before and stayed in Lillooet. It is actualy quicker and much nicer drive than picking through greater Vancouver if you are heading for the Rogers pass. We may still head to Revelstoke first without doing the cat skiing, it depends on the viability of making it to Rossland in one day depending on the ferry schedules from Gibsons.

post #14 of 18

As far as driving... Revelstoke and Red Mountain take exactly the same time to get too from Vancouver (~7 hours). If one has snow and the other does not, you can very easily take Highway 6 between the two in 2.5 to 3 hours through Nakusp. Its a great drive with a cool (free) ferry crossing.

post #15 of 18

I share the skepticism about all 3 cat areas mentioned, especially that early in the season.  All of my cat skiing has been lodge-based in snowier locations.  Of the day operators Valhalla has the best reputation IMHO and from its location it should get a lot more snow. I think they will pick up from Nelson.  At that time of year you're safer for snow at Whitewater than Red anyway.  I love Castle, but midweek I question you're getting much more for all those extra $ in the cat than inbounds.

post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post

.  I love Castle, but midweek I question you're getting much more for all those extra $ in the cat than inbounds.

 

Good point Tony. If conditions are half way decent lift served Castle midweek can be just as good as the cat. Same amount of snow of course and more tracks but still we often get our fill of fresh.

post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post

I share the skepticism about all 3 cat areas mentioned, especially that early in the season.  All of my cat skiing has been lodge-based in snowier locations.  Of the day operators Valhalla has the best reputation IMHO and from its location it should get a lot more snow. I think they will pick up from Nelson.  At that time of year you're safer for snow at Whitewater than Red anyway.  I love Castle, but midweek I question you're getting much more for all those extra $ in the cat than inbounds.

 

Valhalla runs a day bus from their offices at the intersection of Highways 3A and 6, halfway between Nelson and Castlegar. It frequently passes me going the opposite direction as I head to work (or Whitewater) in the morning.

 

January is generally better in the Kootenays than it is in Colorado, but there are never any guarantees!

 

Whitewater usually has more snow and softer snow than Red. Whitewater has no snowmaking. An the other hand, Whitewater does no summer grooming. They need a lot of snow. They usually have about 50" or so at opening, but they're just getting started. It's best once they pass 100" of settled base.

 

The attached photo was taken on January 6 at Whitewater several years ago.

 

 

1000

 

 

The headless skier below was taken at the end of the following December, near the beginning of the next season, also at Whitewater.

 

1000

 

 

The point being that Whitewater is not a bad place to warm up for a day of cat skiing. And if you're in Nelson or Rossland, you can always phone around for standby seats, even if they don't advertise that they have them.

post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the advice.

 

We arrived in Rossland on new year's eve and had a good time in the town before spending three days getting to know Red mountain properly. Conditions were good; although there had been little fresh snow for a few days, there was plenty of fresh tracks to be had. Tested out some Rossi S7s. When it came to cat skiing, in the end we only got to try out the temporary cat service in the new Grey Mountain expansion. (for $10 a ride, very good value for money considering they only have a daily capacity for about 120 descents in total).  I have fallen properly in love with Red mountain, especially those steep widely spaced trees. Especially on 188 S7s.

 

Then it was on to Kicking Horse for a four days where we started to get some decent falls of fresh. Demo'ed 188 S7s (again) super7s, and Head sacrifice. Started getting really good and then almost killed myself and damaged my shoulder on a groomer as mentioned in another thread (recovering nicely now though).

 

Moved on to Sunshine and Lake Louise for the last 3 days. Had some amazing powder days. Demo'ed Line Opus and Salamon Rocker^2 108's. Favourite ski is Rossi super 7. Favourite resort is still Kicking Horse, but Red is a close second. Favourite place to double eject is not on bullet proof groomer. smile.gif

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