Skeena Cat Skiing
Do I need to sign a waiver?
Yes, all guests are required to have read, understood, and agree to the release of liability waiver. Please visit our Safety section on The Experience page to learn more.
What Type Of Skier Should You Be?
Guests must be, at minimum, strong intermediate skiers capable of dealing with deep powder snow in the backcountry. The less skilled or less fit guests may be asked to sit out some of the steeper runs and/or take some rest breaks by riding down in the snowcat with the driver.
How Many Runs Do We Ski Per Day?
We normally ski 10 to 15 runs per day and typically ski between 12,000 and 15,000 vertical feet per day. Well-planned snow roads maximize the number of ski runs per day and minimize wait times. In early winter we leave at first light and ski till an hour before dark. By mid-February and into March the days are long, so we get even longer skiing.
What Part Of The Winter Has The Best Skiing?
We receive nearly the same amount of snow during all the winter months of December to March. January and February are the coldest periods. March and early April are snowy and unsettled with longer daylight hours – meaning long days of great skiing.
In December you can expect the daytime temperatures to be in the -5 to -15 Celsius range (5 to 23 degrees Fahrenheit); in January and February you can expect -10 to -20 Celsius (-4 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit), and in March you can expect 0 to -10 Celsius (14 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit). However, prior to mid-February, we can potentially get brief periods of very cold arctic air with temperatures in the range of -20 to -30 Celsius (-4 to -22 degrees Fahrenheit).
Please accept the fact that we cannot control the weather, and no refunds or rain checks will be given for bad weather or snow conditions.
What Is The Percentage Of Alpine Vs. Tree Skiing?
Skeena Tenure terrain consists of wide-open alpine bowls and beautifully naturally gladed tree runs with a large variety of slopes. If the weather is clear and the visibility good, we are almost always at tree line and above in the alpine. If it is snowing and cloudy, we usually drop off at the tree line and ski down through the forest. Over a whole season, we typically would ski half the time in the alpine, and half in the trees.
What About Snowboarders & Telemark Skiers?
Snowboarders and telemark skiers MUST be experts and able to handle all backcountry conditions including narrow traverses and steep treed terrain. There will be times when traversing and even climbing uphill, will be necessary. Collapsible poles that can be stored in a small package are recommended for snowboarders. We do not provide snowboard/split board rentals.
What Is The Accommodation Like?
Skeena Cat Skiing Base Camp is warm and cozy way up in the mountains. The main common tent where dining and lounging happens is heated with a wood-burning stove that gives this atmosphere the perfect touch.
The high elevation of Base Camp (1200m) offers spectacular views from pretty much everywhere in camp and often the northern lights come out to dance! The guest bedrooms are insulated Quonset private cabins designed for two people.
Please note that sometimes in the case of uneven group numbers you may be required to share a room with someone outside of your group.
What is the Food Like?
Skeena Cat Skiing is very fortunate to have both of our outstanding chefs, Jason and Anneh. Each evening they prepare exceptional gourmet dinners. We use premium local ingredients like wild B.C. salmon, halibut, and organically raised lamb, chicken, and beef. To complement the cuisine, our fully licensed lounge serves a LARGE selection of award-winning British Columbian wines – we have about 20 choices on our wine list! In the morning we serve a selection of hot and cold breakfasts.
Lunches are made by the chef in the morning and include a variety of tasty snacks. To allow more time for skiing, lunch is eaten in the snowcat between runs. For après ski, there is always a delicious appetizer prepared to tide you over until dinner is served.
What If I Have Special Dietary Requirements?
Our chefs can accommodate any special dietary requirements or food allergies. Please be sure to list any of your special dietary needs when you complete your guest registration form, and we will ensure that we have your requirements addressed. Last-minute requests may not be met, due to our remote location.
Does The Base Camp Have Internet Access?
Skeena Cat Skiing Base Camp has a wireless router to cover the common tent area. We recommend that you leave your work at home and enjoy your vacation, but if you do need to stay in touch you will be able to connect to the outside world with your personal device. We do not have computers available for guests to use. Cell service is not available at our Base Camp. Please know that the wireless at the Base Camp is slower than you are likely used to in town.
Is There Cell Phone Coverage At Base Camp?
No. There is no cell phone coverage at Base Camp. We strongly encourage guests to reserve their device time after dinner to allow for time to connect with your group and guides.
What Other Amenities Does Base Camp Offer?
We have an outdoor hot tub for your pleasure after skiing. We will be limiting the number of people who can use it at one time.
Our mini-retail shop contains a variety of high-quality ski wear, including hoodies, fleece pullovers, base layers, toques, Stanley's, hats, and a selection of stylish casual wear for men and women.
Can I Bring My Own Beer And Wine?
Our fully licensed lounge serves a variety of beers as well as a full range of spirits. We also stock a wide variety of award-winning British Columbian wines. Please do not bring beer with you since it is heavy and often breaks on the trip up (usually on someone else’s luggage!). We do not recommend guests bring in their own liquor, but if you do you will be charged a corkage fee of $30.00 per bottle of wine and $40.00 per bottle of spirits. Please also keep in mind that you can only bring a total 35 lbs of luggage on the helicopter and any booze you bring is included in this weight (and we are fully stocked, so you don’t need to waste the weight!). Furthermore, we do not mark up our booze to ridiculous prices — meaning, don’t bring your own booze — drink ours.
What About Ski Rentals?
We have a large selection of powder skis from Armada, Kastle, and Salomon. Our selection of powder skis ranges in length from 165 cm up to 190 cm. We do not rent snowboards or split boards. Rental skis are available for guests at a cost of $40/day. Poles are available for everyone free of charge – so whether you are renting or not, do not bring ski poles. Bring your own ski boots and take them as carry-on luggage if you travel by plane. Please make sure ski boots are in a bag of some sort. Loose boots can get wet on the trip up to the Base Camp. Upon your arrival at the Base Camp, you may fill out a rental form and come to the ski room to discuss what type of skis you will use.
What If I Have Ski Touring Boots, Can I Still Rent Skis?
It is strongly recommended to not bring touring boots if you are renting skis.
How much luggage can I bring if I’m flying by helicopter to base camp?
If you are flying from Smithers to Base camp by helicopter, you MUST pack light: Each guest will have a 35 lb. limit (this includes ski/snowboard boots!). You should use a soft duffel style bag (stiff or hard case bags are not permitted) for it to pack easily into the helicopter. A medium or large duffel, half-filled, is ideal since it can be flexible when loading. Your ski /snowboard boots can be in a separate bag (but not loose). The total of both bags must be under the 35 lb. limit. Please bring only one set of skis/snowboard loose — NOT in a ski bag (your skis are not included in your 35 lb. limit). Do NOT bring ski poles, these will be supplied free of charge to all guests. Please weigh your luggage at home. Bags over the 35 lbs weight limit will need to be reduced to meet the weight limit and you may be asked to repack and leave some gear behind in your vehicle. You don’t need to bring booze — we are well stocked! Any booze must be in your luggage and will be included in your 35 lb. allotment. If you come prior to the Jan. 25 ski holiday you will go to and from base camp by bus/snowcat, and can pack heavier than 35 lbs.
What Should I Bring?
Masks for Covid are currently not required in BC. An updated Covid safety plan will be announced in the autumn. If you feel more comfortable using a face mask – please bring them to Skeena. Bring ski clothes that are suitable for all conditions and temperatures. Casual clothes and slippers for the Base Camp Ski/Snowboard Boots – we recommend that you take them on the airplane with you as carry-on Do not carry them loose –make sure they are in a boot bag. Powder skis/board if you own them; otherwise you are welcome to rent Ski poles are provided for all guests. If you have your skis/board in a ski bag, upon arrival you should pull them out for the helicopter trip to Base Camp. All guests are provided with a backpack including an avalanche transceiver, an avalanche airbag with a shovel and probe, as well as a radio, so there is no need to bring your own Please be wearing tall waterproof winter boots for the trip up to Base Camp (and when walking between your bedroom tent and the main common tent). Flashlight (headlamp is best). Bring 35 lbs. of luggage – no more!
What If I Am Unable To Come On My Trip?
Your trip is non-refundable. However, we may be able to fill your spot with another guest and then give you a refund. Please visit our website for details on our Cancellation Policy. We strongly recommend all guests purchase trip cancellation insurance, in case of any unforeseen changes to your travel plans.
How much should I Tip?
It is customary in the Heli and Cat industry for guests to leave a tip for the staff, if you feel that you have had good service. The standard tip when Cat skiing is 10% of your trip cost (So between $125-145/day) – however, this is not mandatory and some guests tip more, some tip less. Every tip is appreciated. The tips are spread evenly among all staff. Tips can be given in cash, or on your credit card at the end of your stay. There are many people behind the scenes making your holiday fun and pleasant, such as the mechanic, dishwasher, and the housekeeper.