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Cat skiing

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Continuing this discussion from the Mountain/Resort forum where I was discouraged from venturing into cat skiing as I have zero or limited powder experience, that operators lure you into buying expensive days and then ground you if and when they see you´re less talented than other members of your group.  I would highly appreciate more comments on this matter.  The more I read (like http://cat-skiing-articles.blogspot.com) the less I believe in the naysayers, am I way off on this matter?!  

Thanks,

Torsten

post #2 of 13
I'm sorry, nay say what?

They do claim to have something for everyone.

I have heard, the best experiences are when a group has enough people to hire the whole cat. Then you balance the ability and the goals yourselves.
post #3 of 13
It´s probably great to have the whole cat for your group, in that way you and your friends dictate the pace.  By the way, how does Fernie resort compare Lake Louise when combining with a catskiing trip?  Better snow, less crowded?  
post #4 of 13
I went once in the mid-90's at Grand Targhee. We had a mix of abilities in our group from intermediate to accomplished expert. There were six skiers and two (I think) guides. We skied terrain that was doable for the least skilled memebers of the group. That said, the intermediates got tired and grounded themselves about 2/3rds of the way through the trip. They rode the cat and drank wine instead. There wasn't any pressure from the guides or the other members to quit but I think they felt they were holding others back. After they quit we really got to ski some fun stuff and the guides kept us safe from ourselves. I would definitely do it again but I think it would be best to ski with a group of like abilities.
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steini30 View Post

It´s probably great to have the whole cat for your group, in that way you and your friends dictate the pace.  By the way, how does Fernie resort compare Lake Louise when combining with a catskiing trip?  Better snow, less crowded?  

The best terrain at Lake Louise is the backside served by the Paradise Chair and Summit Platter. The snow here is almost always "good". The bottom of these lifts are quite a bit higher than the top of Fernie and the terrain stays shaded. Lake Louise doesn't get much snow though, so it will likely be a bit rocky, and your chance of a powder day is really low.

Coverage will be better at Fernie and there is a decent chance of powder. There is also a chance of rain and/or ice, and you shouldn't get that at Lake Louise. 

Fernie is next to a couple of world class Cat skiing operations, and skiing the resort should help you prepare for the type of terrain encountered at Island Lake Lodge or Powder Cowboy. The nearest cat skiing (Chatter Creek?) to Lake Louise is a bit of a drive.

Both are great resorts, but I would consider skiing Kicking Horse or Revy over LL if I was doing my Cat Trip in the Golden/Revy area.
post #6 of 13
 To the OP. 

If you are doing traditional cat skiing, even the slowest skiers should be able to beat the Cat to the bottom. I can't see anybody slowing the group down too much.

Ability might influence terrain choice.

I guess if you are at the lowest end of the ability scale, it might be a good idea to book a cat with friends, the same would apply to groups who want to push hard all day.
post #7 of 13
Well, I can't speak to the whole "grounding" thing but it would seem to me if you share your experience level ahead of time the operator will get your set up with the right group. As for cat skiing in general with limited or zero powder experience - it is my firm belief that this is actually WHAT YOU NEED TO DO. Let's face it, unless you live in a resort town (like me) the chances for the ordinary person getting significant powder experience are pretty slim. A) you have to be in the right place at the right time and B) you only get a small window before people like me track it all up.  So, what's a guy to do? Go cat skiing. Powder skiing isn't really that hard as opposed to learning to slay the bumps. You just need a bit of time, experience and untracked to get the hang of it.
post #8 of 13
I went a few years back in Steamboat, it was one of the best experiences of my life. I highly recommend it.

i haven't really skid a ton in deep powder prior to my first cat skiing trip and after being put on some proper powder boards i didn't find myself really having any kind of problem at all, The powder was so deep that you barely had to turn, you just lean back a bit and enjoy surfing. I think I only fell twice the entire day. We had mixed skill levels on the cat, but again due to the grabbiness/depth of the powder and the terrain (it wasn't that steep, like 15-30 degrees throughout) everyone made it to the bottom at roughly the same time. They took us through some tree glades and aspen forests which is nice, again the main thing to remember when you're skiing powder is you have to let the SKI do the turning, not YOU. I.e. if you try to force a turn that's tighter than the natural radius of the ski, failure will occur. Nice, wide sweeping turns.

 A good operator will rent you proper skis, preferrably something with rocker, then the skis will float you instead of having to ski 'back seat'. Then you will be able to use a stance much closer to what you're accustomed to.
post #9 of 13
Can you ski? (I mean really ski) If you can ski a Colorado black run top to bottom (includig a reasonable number of stops) without falling, you can cat ski most anywhere without holding the group back .... if you rent powder skis. I highly recommend the Peaked Mountain cat skiing at Targhee. If you are still nervous, then book a trip to Powder Mountain, Utah and do their by the ride cat skiing.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Que View Post

Well, I can't speak to the whole "grounding" thing but it would seem to me if you share your experience level ahead of time the operator will get your set up with the right group. As for cat skiing in general with limited or zero powder experience - it is my firm belief that this is actually WHAT YOU NEED TO DO. Let's face it, unless you live in a resort town (like me) the chances for the ordinary person getting significant powder experience are pretty slim. A) you have to be in the right place at the right time and B) you only get a small window before people like me track it all up.  So, what's a guy to do? Go cat skiing. Powder skiing isn't really that hard as opposed to learning to slay the bumps. You just need a bit of time, experience and untracked to get the hang of it.

That's exactly what I was thinking.  I happen to live in Sweden´s cross country skiing Mecca but that doesn´s help me getting powder experience.  Cross country skiing is quite boring as well!  That being said I've skied in Colorado twice and even Whistler (and manage most if not all runs) but to go again just for powder training is not practical as the trips from Europe are long and expensive so I will be going for catskiing after a few days preparation at some nearby resort.  Thanks for the input. 
post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by sosumi View Post

I went a few years back in Steamboat, it was one of the best experiences of my life. I highly recommend it.

i haven't really skid a ton in deep powder prior to my first cat skiing trip and after being put on some proper powder boards i didn't find myself really having any kind of problem at all, The powder was so deep that you barely had to turn, you just lean back a bit and enjoy surfing. I think I only fell twice the entire day. We had mixed skill levels on the cat, but again due to the grabbiness/depth of the powder and the terrain (it wasn't that steep, like 15-30 degrees throughout) everyone made it to the bottom at roughly the same time. They took us through some tree glades and aspen forests which is nice, again the main thing to remember when you're skiing powder is you have to let the SKI do the turning, not YOU. I.e. if you try to force a turn that's tighter than the natural radius of the ski, failure will occur. Nice, wide sweeping turns.

 A good operator will rent you proper skis, preferrably something with rocker, then the skis will float you instead of having to ski 'back seat'. Then you will be able to use a stance much closer to what you're accustomed to.
 


Glad you enjoyed Stamboat powdercats, that's an outfit that offers tiered skill/ability levels. You sound like you were on the lowest tier of terrain. If I wre paying $500.00 for a day of powder and trees and had to ski intermediate or beginner's terrain because the skill level was much lower than I was promised, I would be pissed! 

Here's a quote from thier website

"For those guests who greatly overstates their ability level, we reserve the right to restrict them from skiing. No refunds will be given to these guests. Sitting in the cat is no fun, so please be honest when rating your ability level."

post #12 of 13
It was really early in the season (early December) so the steeper stuff was closed for insufficient cover. Everyone on the cat knew that and wanted to go anyway. There were a couple technical pitches but mostly flatter stuff. I don't think anyone was complaining because the face shots were just so insane. Attaching some pix...

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post #13 of 13
NICE!  Yes, Early December would be a bit limited but it doesn't look like it klimited you too much!  Nice air 
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