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Cat Ski vs Heli Ski the differences and similars

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

i like to ask the experts out there. For anyone out there. What are the pros and cons to a cat ski trip to doing a Heli ski trip.

 

I am wanting to try to ski downhill in backcountry later in season in the Revelstoke BC area.

 

I was considering a heli ski trip but the price was very high for only a few runs.

 

I was looking at the cat ski trips,  as they do more run in backcountry.

 

Would the quality of ski be just almost as good on a cat ski trip over doing a heli ski trip in the area?

 

I like feedback on this for anyone who has done both or one of the other.

10000 bucks was a bit much for a 5 day heli ski trip.

 

so all information is helpful

thanks

post #2 of 28

Heli can get places cats can't, faster.

post #3 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by karpiel View Post

Heli can get places cats can't, faster.



But when the weather's bad and the birds can't fly, the cats can still get you some vertical.

 

Some Heli operations offer cats when the helicopters can't fly due to weather.

post #4 of 28

Heli's are fast and FUN. Cats are slow and boring.

 

Heli's get grounded due to weather, cats don't.

 

Heli's are the ULTIMATE ski lift, cat's are not... but they are pretty darn cool. I'd suggest trying to plan your trip where you can cat ski for multiple days with a day of heli skiing for the experience. SnowH2O/ Valhalla Powdercats would be a good option somewhat near Revi.

 

These guys rock, this trip would be fun:  http://www.snowwater.com/the-kootenay-sampler

 

post #5 of 28

I've written checks for both, and I'll never heliski again; the cat is just too good a value, in my opinion. But if I were rich I'd ski a heli every day.

 

post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post

I've written checks for both, and I'll never heliski again; the cat is just too good a value, in my opinion. But if I were rich I'd ski a heli every day.

 


Really,  I'm just the opposite. I bought a sled and may not ever ski a cat again, but I know I will go in a heli again. 

post #7 of 28

It's all about terrain - I've done great trips doing both.  You can have an EXCELLENT snowcat experience if their terrain is good and the snow conditions are there.

 

FWIW, riding through mountains on a chopper is an amazing experience and worth doing at least once.  It's some serious coin, though.

 

Heli runs tend to be longer, at least on the trips I've enjoyed.  You get as much vertical doing either, though, you just get more "rest and warm up" time with the cat.  You will also be able to bring more stuff with you on the cat - layers, goggles, snackies and the like.  There was room for a day pack on the cats I've been on, but with the chopper cabin space is very limited and they ask you not to bring a pack.

post #8 of 28

Prickly said it best. I've been to both Wiegele's and CMH and they were both awesome, but I'd rather go to a BC cat skiing operation. Way cheaper and the skiing is still great. Prefer Mustang Powder Guides.

post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 

sounds good guys, i think i am going to consider the cat ski since one gets to do more runs then 3 and a cheaper price

 

really the main reason is to ski deep powder is the main objective

so cat ski it is

 

do people think the Selkirk Tanglers in revelstoke resort is a good cat ski adventure or what else can u recommend

post #10 of 28

Retalleck, near kaslo, B.C. is known for their large number of steep runs as well as a fairly large operating area and they are adjacent to Kokanee Glacier Park. Retalleck's top elevation is 8500 ft IIRC which is higher than any ski resort in B.C. You can also drive right to their lodge which is nice if you want to bring extra stuff or go to the town of Kaslo or Nelson after skiing. 

post #11 of 28

I've been to several BC cat operations and have done a ton of research on the others. PM me if you want some input.

post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mountaingirl1961 View Post

It's all about terrain - I've done great trips doing both.  You can have an EXCELLENT snowcat experience if their terrain is good and the snow conditions are there.

 

FWIW, riding through mountains on a chopper is an amazing experience and worth doing at least once.  It's some serious coin, though.

 

Heli runs tend to be longer, at least on the trips I've enjoyed.  You get as much vertical doing either, though, you just get more "rest and warm up" time with the cat.  You will also be able to bring more stuff with you on the cat - layers, goggles, snackies and the like.  There was room for a day pack on the cats I've been on, but with the chopper cabin space is very limited and they ask you not to bring a pack.



Agree on all account and some pilots really like to show you a good time!

post #13 of 28

Heli is MUCH better but Cats are still fun

post #14 of 28


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by world-traveller123 View Post

sounds good guys, i think i am going to consider the cat ski since one gets to do more runs then 3 and a cheaper price

 

really the main reason is to ski deep powder is the main objective

so cat ski it is

 

do people think the Selkirk Tanglers in revelstoke resort is a good cat ski adventure or what else can u recommend

 

The Cat in resort is for day-trippers.... the terrain is easily poached from inbounds.

 

If you want to get the proper back-country experience then one of the independents would be better.....
 

post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 

oh really, eh, so best to find a company that only does back country?

 

the revelstoke selkirks only do that part just beside the resort then?

post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by world-traveller123 View Post

oh really, eh, so best to find a company that only does back country?

 

the revelstoke selkirks only do that part just beside the resort then?



Do a search on Chatter Creek C ats, if my memory serves me right the person had a great time.

post #17 of 28

For me, I think cat skiing is the better value. Heli is pretty much twice the price of cat skiing but I doubt it is twice the experience. You get more verical in a day with heli but after a certain amount of vertical you usually start paying extra per vertical foot so it can be a lot more than 2x the price of a Cat. I guess the helli operators would argue that they can offer the same vert. as cat skiing in fewer days and therfore you spend less on meals and accomodation.

post #18 of 28

Advantage for heli-skiing - you get to fly in the helicopter.

post #19 of 28

I'm curious about the $/vert.  Has anyone done the math?

post #20 of 28

Disadvantage to heli-skiing -- you have to ride in the chopper rolleyes.gif

post #21 of 28

Advantage to heli-skiing - you get to ride in a choppersmile.gif

post #22 of 28

 

I wrote a feature on this subject in 2002 when I had about 1/3 as much cat/heli experience as I do now: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/2002/08/05/snowcat-vs-heli/

 

I now have 22 lifetime heli days (9 operators) and 44 lifetime cat days (11 operators).  The heli days averaged 18K vertical, the cat days 12K.  2 of the heli days and 6 of the cat days had no powder.  I have also lost 4 heli days to weather, though one of those at Alyeska I was skiing powder all day on the North Face at the resort.

 

Quote:

The Cat in resort is for day-trippers.... the terrain is easily poached from inbounds.

 

If you want to get the proper back-country experience then one of the independents would be better.....

I generally agree with this.  Heli out of a resort for 3 or 5 runs is a big red flag.  Big $ for not much vertical and probably intermediate terrain.  

 

Quote:
Prefer Mustang Powder Guides.

That is my impression after 3 days, 50K vertical and excellent terrain quality.  Feedback from TR includes comparison with my 4 trips to Chatter Creek and 3 to Island Lake: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=8593

 

I did a week with Wiegele in 2006 and it was first class. 

http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=1799

But my ultimate day was with Chugach Powder Guides in 2007: 9 runs totaling 28K of waist deep. 

http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=3034

 

post #23 of 28

Mustang should definitely be on a shortlist, though it does cost more than a lot of the other operators. BTW, if you're planning trips anywhere in N. America, Tony is one of the guys to listen to.

post #24 of 28
Thread Starter 

HEllo all. This is a added to a forum i did from last year.

In the BC area what would be the best outfitter for the best cat ski experience.

 

I was looking at the REvelstoke Cat skiing, seems convenient. but do they go to go terrain that would make a cat ski experience worthwhile?

 

other wise what companies do you all recommend? thanks

post #25 of 28

I would not recommend cat skiing at Revelstoke. The terrain is adjacent to the resort and south facing.  There's a long list of well regarded independents within 2-3 hours of Revelstoke: Mustang, Monashee, Chatter Creek, Great Northern, Selkirk Wilderness, White Grizzly, Retallack, I'm sure I've forgotten a few.  But you need to commit to a minimum 3 days at most of these places and at some the majority of slots for 2012 are already booked.

post #26 of 28
Thread Starter 

So to get and have a worthwhile back country experience it is best to do a 3 day trip?

post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by world-traveller123 View Post

So to get and have a worthwhile back country experience it is best to do a 3 day trip?


Probably.  Day ops tend to have a lower caliber of client and the first day, guides are feeling out the group dynamics.

My best experiences have usually been in the later days of multi day trips, heli or cat.

 

post #28 of 28

blatant plug for a low-cost but awesome Cat operation Wildhorse Cat skiing and Powder Mining.  Its' low key, no frills, not fancy but offers a great experience for an unbeatable price.  Goifn back for round 2 this January. 

 

all posts above are great.  In the end do both, that way you can decide!

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