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Snowcat Skiing

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I would be interested in hearing from other powder passion people that have snowcat (the poor man's helicopter) skied throughout the US and Canada. I'm always looking for new info from someone who has been there versus the ski magazine promo. Alot of new snowcat operations are starting up. I will start things off by sharing the experiences my wife and I have had at three different snowcat operations.
Mount Bailey - Oregon, My wife and I have previously skied for 2 days at Mount Bailey and will be going back for a day this year in January. The mountain offers fantastic variety from the most amazing tree run titled "the Woods" to 45 to 50 degree faces that drop for 1000 ft. The people are very personable and professional. We had one day of good snow and one day of 3 feet of new snow and rising temperatures (avie danger through the ceiling). The only drawback to this operation is the long road ski out to the cat on certain runs.
CAT Powder Skiing - Revelstoke, BC, My wife and I skied with them two different times. This is an all inclusive operation, Lodging, food and cat skiing. For the money, it is probably the best overall deal. The people here are also great. The terrain is much more like true wild backcountry skiing with bowls, glades, very tight & steep trees etc. I think it is about time for us to return CAT Powder in the next year or two.
Peak Adventures, Idaho, My wife and I skied with them last year for two days. The owner/guide truly love what they do. They go the extra mile to give you a great experience. We skied until the sun finally set behind the mountains. The terrain is just pure fun, open tree/glade skiing with just enough challenge to keep you smiling. What cat skiing operation should I be thinking about going to next, since my wife is afraid of flying in helicopters, DARN!
post #2 of 5
My one and only cat skiing adventure was at Big Mt. Montana back in '94. The cat picks you up close to the top and takes you down an access road to the backside somewhere. The snow was deep, thick and right through the tight trees. I was not a very good skier back then, especially deep powder. I was the only one in our group with fat skis. We all struggled, especially the two guys on snowboards. It was so steep and tight you had no room to make big turns to slow down. I remember trying to steer my way to an opening and just crash, then digging my skis out and trying to put them back on. It was a bitch! I was sweating like mad and thought I'd have a heart attack. After making it to the bottom, you had to skate along another access road to the backside lift, then back up to the cat. It was like 3 runs for $35 back then. I've heard now the cat skiing area has been thinned out so it's not so tight. It wasn't what I expected, but I'm ready to go back. Big Mt. is a wonderful resort.
post #3 of 5
Snow cat,
What are the driving distances to these three destinations (from Seattle)?
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Sloppy:
Snow cat,
What are the driving distances to these three destinations (from Seattle)?

Peak Adventures in Idaho takes about 6 hours from Seattle via I-90. It is freeway the whole way to Cataldo, Idaho.

CAT Powder in Revelstoke, BC takes about 8-9 hours from Seattle via I-5 north, crossing the border at Sumas, going to Hope, Merritt, Kamloops and finally on to Revelstoke. The majority of the roads are freeway.

Mount Bailey in Diamond Lake takes about 7-8 hours from Seattle via I-5 south. Head east at Roseburg for about 80 miles, otherwise it is freeway the whole way.

There are some closer cat operations to you in Colorado that would be you may want to inquire about even though I can't give you an actual recommendation based on me skking there. Blue Sky West and Irwin Lodge. Anybody out there who has skied at either of these?
post #5 of 5
I've been twice and we are booked for our third trip February 17th. I do this with my pals. It has become our yearly thing.

Our first year, two years ago, was at Monarch in Colorado. The snow had SUCKED until two days or so before our cat day. We drove down there in a raging blizzard. Every run was down a steep but not too long bowl face with the snow at more or less knee depth, sometimes to waist depth. There were some runouts back to the cat which were ok but my friends on boards hated that part. We got in I think 12 runs and on our last trip up the cat threw a tread so we had to hoof it. The next day was dumping and the cat sat idle in the lot. The group of Winter Park patrollers who were scheduled to go out...so sad. I felt bad for them. I can't recall the cost but it was around $200. We stayed at the Monarch Lodge a few miles down the road from the area. The room came with a free ticket to the area so the next day, exhausted from the day before, we explored that cool funky place in a huge storm.

Last year I brought up to my friends the giant amount of open terrain at Ski Cooper's Chicago Ridge cat area. Turned out my roomate knew John, our guide, who also ran the Twin Lakes Lodge. We spent the night more or less as the only guests in this creaky old former whore house. Feather beds are lumpy and not made for sleeping on but...

The morning was spent on wind crust. Not the best conditions. But we moved around until after lunch and in freshly falling snow we finally got into the fresh. Lots of wide open space up there which acounts for the wind crust. Lunch was cooked up outside in a tent. Good food. t's good to know the 10th Mountain Division had once used the area as an artillery range and there were still unboomed shells in the ground. Cool man.

I liked both places but I think the lack of runouts at Cooper synched that one for this year. I plan to rent some Bandit XXX at Copper...test them saturday at Copper then cat ski them on sunday at Cooper.

We had to pay $234 all up front. And we'll stay at the Silver King Lodge in Leadville this time cuz they have big rooms with floor space for sleepers.

It seems like a lot of $ for one day but it is a unique, fun experience.
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