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Best cat skiing in BC?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Anyone have any reccomendations for the best cat skiing in BC? Looking for great skiing and great accomodations and far away from humanity if possible. We have one intermediate skier with us that has to be catered to as well. Any reccomendations?

-steve
post #2 of 21
This is a great place http://www.monasheepowder.com/index2.html. Lots of terrain and great guides. The housing is shared rooms and bathrooms- so not hotel like.
post #3 of 21
if you can do 7 days, and if you can do $6000-8000/week each for everything (food, skiing, rentals, etc) mike wiegele heli is a good option. most of the time you won't find "well catered" and "far away from humanity"

MW is a good bet but $$$


Golden ALpine is good too, but it is away, not catered ......
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
Yea we already decided we can't afford Heli this time. Maybe someday. we can't do a week either. We're looking at a 4 day adventure somewhere.
post #5 of 21
http://www.selkirkwilderness.com/

Longest running cat operation in BC - the Drurys are fine people. They cater to mixed groups.

Valhalla is pretty good stuff too
post #6 of 21
A friend went to Island Lake Lodge in Fernie and had a blast. The resort is right there if you wanted some inbounds skiing before/after the cat trip.
post #7 of 21
Best cat skiing is at Chatter Creek, bar none : http://www.backcountrywintervacations.com/

We were there from Jan 6 to 10th, here are a few tree shots. It truly was snorkel conditions and we'll be back without question. Great food, conditions and guides.

Hopefully these work, I've never posted pics here before:




post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by tumbler
A friend went to Island Lake Lodge in Fernie and had a blast. The resort is right there if you wanted some inbounds skiing before/after the cat trip.
I've heard this place is a great time, too. Looks lovely, but we didn't have a chance to go when we were living up there. Caught two terrible snow years in a row for the Fernie area.

Let us know where you end up!
Mollmeister
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Great photos. Thanks for the link. Chatter Creek is on our list. I also like the fact that we could ski a couple days in Kicking Horse while we're out that way.

One question about Chatter Creek and cat skiing in general. One difficult situation is going to be the fact that we have half of our group skiing expert level powder skiing and the other half are intermediate skiers with little or no powder experience. We will need to make sure that wherever we go will make us all happy. I will be bored unless I can ski some steeper stuff and they simply can't. I'm not sure how that would work. Would we be transported in the same cat and then go different directions with different guides? Or more likely would we just see each other at the end of the day and go off with a different cat full of experts while our intermediate friends did some mellow stuff?
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by dewdman42
One question about Chatter Creek and cat skiing in general. One difficult situation is going to be the fact that we have half of our group skiing expert level powder skiing and the other half are intermediate skiers with little or no powder experience. We will need to make sure that wherever we go will make us all happy. I will be bored unless I can ski some steeper stuff and they simply can't. I'm not sure how that would work. Would we be transported in the same cat and then go different directions with different guides? Or more likely would we just see each other at the end of the day and go off with a different cat full of experts while our intermediate friends did some mellow stuff?
There's not usually many people to mix and match from and another group is not likely to be real happy if you try and ditch your lower level friends on them.
I'd have to say that if you're bringing people as part of your group that aren't up to speed, you're stuck with them.
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Well that's simple then. I can't go. It would be a waste of money for me to ski on the terrain they will have to go on. What is the minimum sized group that these operators will take?
post #12 of 21
We went to Chatter Creek last year and had a blast! I highly recommend them too.

However, I don't know that they cater to your inexperienced powder-skiing friends, which is why I didn't chime in before. So, you will need to double check on that with Chatter. And it's pretty certain that wherever you go, you'll probably be stuck skiing the easier terrain with your friends, unless you are REALLY LUCKY and there's another group that is of their ability level and has room in the cat for them.

I would not book any cat skiing trip without making sure your friends can be accommodated with appropriate terrain. You can always ask if you can split up terrain from the same cat, but they will most likely require you to pay for more guides to do that (usually, there's only 2 or 3 guides to a cat and you need at least 2 for each group, one lead and one tailgunner).

Thatsagirl
post #13 of 21
Don;t go cat-skiing with friends who suck at powder. You'll feel like crap because you'll be jonesing to go and they'll feel like crap because they'll be headplanting and will be guilty for holding you all up.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeLau
Don;t go cat-skiing with friends who suck at powder. You'll feel like crap because you'll be jonesing to go and they'll feel like crap because they'll be headplanting and will be guilty for holding you all up.
LeeLau has a good point. Frankly I was assuming the inexperienced powder skiers would be getting some lessons and powder skiing in before the cat skiing trip. Bad assumption on my part. If they can't ski powder, a cat skiing trip is not the ideal place to start.

Thatsagirl
post #15 of 21
Maybe a slight change of plans, how about heading to someplace like Nelson and putting yourself down on standby for one of the cat ops around there and enjoy Whitewater. Skiing at Kicking Horse w/ standby at Cat Powder in Revy might be do-able. Not quite the middle of nowhere you were looking for, but you should get some great skiing in.

Or, tell your intermediate buddy "Hey, no friends on a powder day"
post #16 of 21
We made sure our group was 12 guys who were all of like ability. It would truly suck to hold up the group because not everyone was at the same level. Something to consider, not only do you need to be a confident skier but you MUST be fit enough to dig for lost skis and be willing to commit to a buddy system.

It is worth every penny though and I'd love to get back there this year. Feel free to ask more questions. By the way Kicking Horse sucked when we were there.
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ollie
We made sure our group was 12 guys who were all of like ability. It would truly suck to hold up the group because not everyone was at the same level. Something to consider, not only do you need to be a confident skier but you MUST be fit enough to dig for lost skis and be willing to commit to a buddy system.
Some good points. Cat skiing can be exhausting if you aren't in good shape. If your friends can't ski powder, what would they do when faced with the conditions Ollie's showing in his pictures? Even if they were game to try, half a run would probably do them in. That's not to be condescending, it's just a fact. You say you're an expert and chances are, you've long forgotten how tiring skiing is for inexperienced skiers, especially in deep powder.

My husband and I are in pretty good shape, but our first cat skiing trip showed us we weren't in as good shape as we thought! : The hikes and traverses into terrain, and traverses and hikes out, were eye opening. Needless to say, in preparing for our Chatter Creek trip, we at least doubled our workouts at the gym and during the summer doubled the hiking. Made a BIG difference. Four days at Chatter Creek and we were barely feeling it--hot tub in the evening was enough to recover.

As far as I know, most of the remote lodges don't cater to inexperienced powder skiers and riders. Perhaps you could consider a trip next year to a resort that offers cat skiing so they can get their feet wet that way: Targhee, Alta, Monarch, Keystone (which might be perfect for intermediates) come to mind as places to check. And a lesson or two and/or lots of practice in powder beforehand...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ollie
It is worth every penny though and I'd love to get back there this year. Feel free to ask more questions. By the way Kicking Horse sucked when we were there.
Kicking Horse sucked when we were there last January too (end of Jan.). It was right in the middle of the Pineapple Express that went through PNW and BC. We basically did laps off the highest chair and while the snow there was decent, it did get boring pretty fast, and you couldn't ski any of the steepest terrain because the snow was so bad and dangerous.

What was so amazing is that while the heli operators and other cat operators were literally shut down during the week we were there, Chatter Creek was open and we skied in thigh-deep powder the entire time. There were some aspects that couldn't be skied, and we definitely had to stay in the high Alpine (except for a few sections of trees with the right aspect and accumulation of windblown snow), but the snow the guides took us to was fabulous. So, we're there in a bad snow year and get thigh-deep powder, and Ollie's there in a great snow year and you see what he was skiing! Pretty ringing endorsement!

Thatsagirl
post #18 of 21
Check out www.bigredcats.com out of Rossland, B.C. They often run second cats of intermediate skiers and provide them with powder coaching. We are booked with them at the end of the month and have the same problem you do. However, four of us are going to do 4 days of advanced catskiing and 2 days at Red Mountain and Whitewater. Our two intermediates are going to do 2 days of intermediate cat skiing and 4 resort days. And, everyone is happy!
post #19 of 21
Sounds like Follow Me might have the solution for you.

Thatsagirl
post #20 of 21
I took a powder neophyte with me to Island Lake in 2004. But he had been retired for a year and been working with a personal trainer to climb Kilimanjaro in July 2003. I took this chance because I had been with Island Lake before, they run 3 cats (more ability splits), and on a prior trip they radioed in a guide to help an inexperienced snowboarder.

It worked out well because we were grouped with 8 people from Montreal including 4 other first-timers. 4 of us were much better than the other 6 and on the second day the guide would point out some better lines for us. On the third day one of the other groups had an injury and I moved up to that group. On that day I skied a couple of runs that the first-timers wouldn't have handled well.

Island Lake is the only remote lodge I've seen where I would consider doing this. Your first timers need to be seriously conditioned because they will be working hard. Chatter Creek does have an edge on snow reliability with its high altitude terrain, but I've never been there and can't speak to how they accommodate first-timers. Don't even think about taking them somewhere that runs only one cat.

There are operators that work well for first-timers but they tend to be day operations in or near resorts. Targhee and Blue Sky West (runs 4 cats near Steamboat), RK Heli out of Panorama, Purcell Heli out of Golden, some of the day heli operations at Whistler.
post #21 of 21

any cat operators near whistler?

you may have seen my post on the General Forum, but I am looking for places near whistler/pemberton for cat skiing. going to whistler for a couple days and would like to get a day in with a snow cat. Powder mountain is the only one I am aware of.


Also, I did a four-day trip to Island Lake last year. Obviously it was a big drought year in the region so the snow was pretty poor (read: no real powder). However, it is still an amazing experience. It is a first rate place. Amazing food, very friendly staff. All around amazing experience.
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