Skeena Cat Skiing
Locally owned and operated, Skeena has been open since 2011 and operates from a backcountry basecamp located at the tree line. We have one of the largest and most skiable tenures in the province, with big expansion plans!
Skeena Cat Skiing
Skeena Cat Skiing founder, Jevon Zyp, has joined forces this year with new partners to create a BC backcountry dream team: Gary Mathiesen, Owner and President of Hudson Bay Mountain Resort; Nick Holmes-Smith, Owner of Mustang Powder; long-time Skeena employee, Kevin Rankin; and Skeena Heliskiing. This new ownership group will take advantage of the depth of their combined knowledge and history in the industry, to expand and enhance the Skeena experience. Learn more about our owners and the incredible Skeena team below.
Jevon was born and raised in the Monashee Mountains, and his love for snow sports and heavy equipment led him on the path of helping to start three of BC’s biggest cat ski operations. He moved North with a dream of starting his own, and Skeena Cat Skiing was born in 2011.
Jennifer is a Gitxsan k’ubawilksihlkw (princess — Chief’s daughter) raised in the Skeena Mountains and has a vast knowledge of the land, culture, and people. Married to founder Jevon, this duo manages the operations at Skeena Cat Skiing. Jennifer has a diploma in Adventure Tourism and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. When not working or adventuring with her family she is investing in cultural revitalization programs within her Nation.
Gary has been an avid backcountry and downhill skier his whole life. His diverse business career includes over a decade as the owner and operator of Hudson Bay Mountain.
Nick Holmes-Smith and his wife Ali have been in the cat skiing industry for 22 years, developing two operations: Monashee Powder Snowcats and Mustang Powder Cat Skiing.
Kevin’s love for the mountains moved him west in his early 20s. His passion for wilderness adventures led him to the backcountry ski industry, where he was instrumental in the birth of Skeena Cat Skiing. He has been a dedicated and loyal partner since the beginning!
Tail Guide, Cat Driver
Hailing from the remote and snowy island of Newfoundland, Michaela believes in the importance of untouched wilderness and untouched powder. It’s these two principles that drew her to Northern British Columbia. She has nearly a decade of backcountry ski experience, from Alaska to Newfoundland. She’s been Ski Patrolling over the past five winters and volunteers with her local Search and Rescue. Her favorite things are ski mountaineering, hot coffee, and running ultramarathons. She’s stoked to spend the winter hearing about you folks and your adventures!
Frank brings an extraordinary 20 years of experience in the cat skiing industry to Skeena Cat Skiing. He grew up in the Eastern Townships of Quebec and moved to BC in 1999. His love and respect for rivers, oceans and mountains brought him north, where he is now a successful entrepreneur with his wife and daughter in stow. His knowledge and skills make him the perfect guy for his Camp Manager role!
Tail Guide, Cat Driver
Born and raised in the steep and deeps of northern British Columbia, Sebastien moved to Terrace B.C in 2016, where he has spent the last 6 years developing his knowledge of snow science. Over the last decade, Sebastien has been passing on his passion for snow sports to the next generation as an instructor at various ski hills. In the off-seasons, he works as a sea kayak guide and foreman for a local tree planting company. He is looking forward to a season full of stoked smiles and powder!
Jason came to Canada for winter over 10 years ago and decided to make it home. He ended up getting his first taste of cat skiing in 2018 and knew he had to find a way to do it more. Jason has worked as an exquisite chef in backcountry ski lodges and we are pleased he is now the head chef for Skeena Cat Skiing!
Willy came to Canada in 1983 from Austria in pursuit of new and exciting mountain adventures. He initially joined Mike Wiegele Heliskiing, followed by CMH (Canadian Mountain Holidays) in 1985. His never-ending quest to find new terrain has resulted in first tracks in several CMH areas including the Adamants, McBride, and Silvertip. In 2017, this quest took him to AMH (Altai Mountain Heliskiing) in the Altai Mountains, Xinjiang, China. This was also his first taste of cat skiing. Upon his return and another season of heliskiing with CMH, he decided to give cat skiing in Canada a try- which landed him at Mustang Powder. Always looking for what’s next, he couldn’t refuse to come and ski (maybe a few more first’s are in the cards) with us here at Skeena Cat Skiing.
Bruno loves to ski! Initially from a ski racing background, he came out West to coach, but discovered “faceshots” and has been hooked since. He has been guiding cat skiing, heli-skiing, and ski touring for the last 15+ years as an ACMG-certified ski guide. We’re excited to have Bruno on the team at Skeena Cat Skiing!
Ali originally hails from Montreal, QC, and now resides in Revelstoke, BC. He got his start in the avalanche industry as a ski patroller in Banff and moved on to being an avalanche technician for the University of Calgary snow science program. He then became a part of the avalanche control and backcountry rescue team at Rogers Pass until he became a certified ACMG ski guide in 2012. More recently he has been fortunate to be able to guide in a variety of settings and operations specializing mainly in cat skiing and ski touring. What he enjoys most about guiding is sharing the experience of riding in powder snow with others who enjoy it just as much.
Originally from a long line of east-coast fishermen, Jason grew up just outside Halifax, NS, where the BIG mountains are! He moved west in 2004 to find deeper snow, and has been hooked on the pow-pow ever since guiding skiing in the winter, and alpine and rock climbing in the summer.
Karsten von Hoesslin
Snow Science Technician
Karsten has a long history of working and playing in the far corners of the world’s mountains and oceans. His background is in small team deployments that include field intelligence operations, hostage rescues, and disaster response in remote and hostile environments. In 2018, Karsten returned to Canada to turn his life-long passions into new careers and now focuses on the avalanche industry as well as teaching technical rescue to emergency services. Although Karsten continues to consult on international investigations relating to homicide and wildlife crimes abroad, he is happiest when working in the mountains as an avalanche & snow safety technician with his trusty avalanche & bomb detection dog, K-9 Delphin.
Born and raised in Bavaria, Germany, Stefan spent his youth free skiing all over the European Alps, loving skiing and up to this day believes that skiing is the greatest sport in the world. In 1983 he immigrated to Canada and naturally became a back country ski guide. Over the last 25 years he has guided for several helicopter and snowcat skiing operations mostly in British Columbia, but also as far as Iceland, where he likes to finish each season with some extended spring skiing.
Stefan is a professional member of the Canadian Avalanche Association, is certified with CSGA and the ACMG, and used to be an instructor and examiner for the Canadian Ski Guide Association.
Ben was born and raised in the Coast Mountains and from a young age developed a passion and curiosity for what lay beyond the ski area boundary. After meeting a mountain guide at age 16 he knew exactly what he wanted to be. Now An ACMG ski guide and CAA avalanche professional, Ben’s experience includes over decade of Heli-Skiing in the coast range, avalanche forecasting for the forest and mining industries and teaching outdoor education. Deep powder, good vibes and big smiles is what Ben is all about and he looks forward to sharing some with you!
Skeen Cat Skiing
Land & Community
Skeena Cat Skiing acknowledges and gives thanks to the Gitxsan Nation for allowing us to operate on their unceded traditional territories. We recognize and honour the Gitxsan peoples’ land rights and title, and are appreciative to all those fighting to protect the land, resources, and environment.
The tenure of Skeena Cat Skiing is situated in the mid-south eastern section of the Gitxsan Laxyip (Territories) of Simgigyat (Chief’s) Djogaslee (Ted Mowatt) laxyip Xsu Gwil Gwalgit , Yagosip (Bill Turner) laxyip Max Hla Gandit, Luutkudziiwus (Charlie Wright) laxyip Madii Lii, and Gutginuxw (Phillip Stewart) laxyip Lax Xsin Djihl.
Skeena Cat Skiing founder and director, Jevon Zyp, takes great pride in being a part of the Gitxsan community as his wife and children are also Gitxsan. Jevon has been a supporter and ally to the First Nations people as well as many Hereditary Chiefs with their endeavours for over a decade and looks forward to continuing to build relationships with the Simgigyat and people of the Gitxsan Nation.
Skeena Cat Skiing is proud to enhance the socio-economic status of the region through local hiring; sourcing local food and supplies; using local trades for all repairs and maintenance, and supporting the local tourism industry.
Skeena Cat Skiing is also proud to have involvement in the community through local event sponsorship.
The following is a highlight of some organizations and programs we support:
- Boarding for Brant – created to carry on the legacy of Brant Holenstein, and raise money to get gear, passes, and lessons to those with obstacles to participation
- Extreme Everest Challenge – skin up and ski down 18 times to equal the total elevation of Mt. Everest, with all proceeds going to the Live it! Love it! Foundation
- The Annual Schussboomer – fundraiser for the Smithers Ski and Snowboard Club
- The Big Pig Bike Festival – fundraiser for the Burns Lake Mountain Biking Association
- Trix ‘n the Stix – local trick ski and board competition
- Burns Lake Rotary Club Annual Auction
- Smithers Rotary Club Annual Auction
Skeena’s nearest towns are the District of New Hazelton, ten minutes away; and the Town of Smithers, a one-hour drive.
Locals of the Hazeltons refer to the area as “The Land of the Totems”. Visit Love The Hazeltons for more information on the area, and a listing of the unique accommodations, excursions, and cultural tours. Not to mention some of the best steelhead fishing in the world.
Smithers’ downtown shopping area replicates a small Swiss ski village and has lots of shops and restaurants to explore. The Smithers airport is right in town, and the base of Hudson Bay Mountain is also just 20 km away. Visit the Smithers Chamber of Commerce website for a full business listing.
Skiing and Adventure
The fun never ends in the #PlaygroundoftheNorth. Arrive early for your Skeena trip and check out some of these other great adventure destinations in the area. And come back in the summer, for incredible fishing, golf, mountain biking, and more! Visit the Smithers Ski & Stay website for great package deals!
- Skeena Heliskiing (heliskiing adventure in same Skeena tenure)
- Hudson Bay Mountain (skiing in winter; mountain biking in summer)
- Harvey Mountain Adventures (snowmobile tours)
- Bear Mountaineering (backcountry adventure)
- Adventure Camp Tourism (adventure tourism booking).
Accommodation and Tourism
Visit Tourism Smithers for more information on all the activities to do in Smithers, and the surrounding area, and for a full list of accommodation options.
Here are a few of our favourites:
Skeen Cat Skiing
Arriving to Hudson Bay Mountain from the U.K., Claire began her relationship with the mountains at the age of two. In the early years, time on the slopes wasn’t a priority as she preferred lounging in the cozy family cabin, playing underneath the Hudson Bay Mountain Day Lodge, or seeking out a quiet hiding spot in the prairie trees to nibble snacks. However, after gradual exposure to the world of competitive ski racing, she fell into a rhythm of training with the Smithers Ski Club. Claire developed skills that took her to race all over the world and ultimately led to a diverse ski career of coaching, action modelling, writing, and work in the media industry. She has been featured on countless magazine covers and advertising campaigns as well as in motion as a host for Ski TV. Her Ski Fit programs have also been published in print and online. Though Claire loves to travel and ski new places, there will always be a special place in her heart for the mountain where it all began.
Tosh Krauskopf has been snowboarding at Hudson Bay Mountain since the age of two, on a harness and leash with his parents Jason and Joscelyn. As the owners of Local Supply Company, snowboarding in the mountains was always a family sport, and it sparked a passion in Tosh from an early age. As a member of Smithers Ski and Snowboard Club By the age of 8 Tosh was sponsored by Burton Snowboards when the local sales representative saw the potential for his talent. Tosh was on the podium from an early age, taking medals at local competitions before his first international competition in 2018/2019 Men’s Slopestyle at Canada Olympic Park. In 2019/2020 he competed in three North American Cups, earning a top ten position in the Men’s Big Air. Tosh resides in Pemberton BC and trains with the Whistler Valley Snowboard Club.
Another local young man that Skeena Cat Skiing is proud to sponsor! Liam started skiing about a year after he learned to walk. He loves to ski and it certainly shows. His home club is Smithers Ski and Snowboard Club, and his favourite discipline is slalom. In his time off, you’ll find him cruising the groomers on Hudson Bay Mountain, or chowing down on roast moose. Liam has competed all over the province, with multiple first place prizes, including: High School Provincials; North Zone Finals Overall; North Zone Under 16; Westerns Dual Team Event Under 16.
Georgia Simmerling made history at Rio 2016 by becoming the first Canadian athlete to compete in a different sport at each of three different Olympic Games. Competing in track cycling’s team pursuit, she helped Canada win its second straight Olympic bronze medal in the event for her first Olympic podium finish. It was just her fourth ever team pursuit race.
Simmerling made her Olympic debut in alpine skiing at Vancouver 2010 before switching over to ski cross in 2011. After proving her potential during summer training camps, she earned a spot on the national ski cross-team. In February 2012, she caught an edge during a race and fell, breaking three vertebrae (C7, T2, and T3) in her neck and back. She was in an upper body and neck brace for seven weeks but did not require surgery. Read More…
Book your Epic Backcountry Adventure Now!
Our BC cat skiing season runs from late December to late March. Click below if you’re ready to book now. We look forward to hosting you!