What is Cat Skiing?
Cat skiing began in B.C. over 30 years ago! A couple from Meadow Creek, British Columbia realized that ski resort grooming machines (snowcats) could also access the backcountry for skiing.
More skiers could participate by adding a passenger cab to the snowcat. Now, don’t go thinking that you can just drive a snowcat around in the pow and go anywhere you want. Snow roads must be built! Building begins once there is enough snow and night time temperatures are cold enough to stabilize the road. A steady pushing of snow and allowing it to freeze results in a snow road.
Snow roads are strategically designed to minimize turnaround times and maximize skiing time!. Drop offs and pick up points cannot leave skiers standing around waiting. Trickier than meets the eye! Snowcats are powerful machines but snow conditions and the weather always dictate when and where you can ski. 2017 was Skeena Cat Skiing’s 6th year in operation and conditions finally allowed for the construction of a snow road up the North ridge. A couple of weeks later, the conditions were purr…fect for the first ascent of Bleuer Bowl!
Road building usually begins in late November/December to ensure they are ready for season start up. Typically, the cat skiing season starts between the end of December and the middle of January.
The rescue and safety equipment is kept on the top of the snowcat passenger cab. Additionally, the guides and a few guests carry shovels and probes in their back pack. Oxygen and a defibrillator are carried in the drivers cab of the snowcat. Skeena Cat Skiing provides Pieps transceivers for our guests. The guides give all skiers and snowboarders a lesson on how to use them as well as how to probe and assist in a rescue. Our guiding and safety program is in compliance with Heli-Cat Canada Standards and we are a member of the Canada West Ski Ass.
HELI SKIING VS. CAT SKIING
Cat skiing is comparable to heli skiing but it costs way less and you ski everyday. No down days due to weather! Similar to heli skiing, the skiers are led by a certified ski guide and followed by a certified tail guide. There is no vertical guarantee as with heli skiing. You can expect to ski everyday and you will ski between 10,000 and 15,000 vertical feet (3000 to 4570Metres) per day. Where and how much vertical you ski is also dependent on the size and ability of the skiers.
TAKE A CAT SKIING TRIP ON THE WILD SIDE!
Skeena Cat Skiing season begins mid January and continues to the end of March. You need to be at minimum an advanced skier to come to Skeena. We try our best to match abilities, ages, and often personalities.
Come on up, bring your powder lovin' friends! You will be warmly welcomed, well taken care of, and enjoy a truly unique backcountry cat skiing experience in wild Northern British Columbia!