The 'ultimate' bucket list for snow addicts...No.8
What is Cat Skiing?
Cat Skiing involves being driven up the backcountry in the back of a snow cat (similar to snowbashers/pistonbullys/groomers/pistebashers with a cabin on the back) to the top of a mountain, ridge or backcountry run. Unlike lifts where people disappear in different directions once reaching the top, in cat skiing a ski (or board) guide will send the group off in a direction that's both suitable for the ability of the clients and to the conditions of the snow. Groups are usually divided into pairs and ski behind the leader and followed by tail-gunner (2nd ski guide) to minimise the dangers of accidents, avalanches and to stop people becoming lost. The time taken to complete a run is usually around 20 minutes, in which time the group should arrive at the bottom of the hill at the same time as the snow cat and be ready to hop back in and prepare for another!
Why Cat ski?
The introduction of cat skiing has allowed avid backcountry skiers to experience terrain otherwise only accessible by helicopter. Due to both the numbers (4-12) able to pile into a snow cat and the far lower running costs, cat skiing can be a far cheaper alternative to the average skier who just want to experience some of the backcountry. The inclusion of two ski leaders also allows clients to be shown the best and safest places to ski- something that often cannot be guaranteed on heli-skiing trips. Furthermore, those with a fear of flying need not be afraid as the cat stays very much grounded (and unlike helicopters does not need to stay at camp when the conditions become a bit more brisk) and during the trips back up the hill to complete another run offers a social experience that is unmatched using any other transport option in the mountains.
In a 2007 poll of first-time cat skiers, 98% of people indicated they wished to take part again! With most cat companies offering various different options, from a single day up to a week and across all ability levels, it is far less intimidating and more inclusive of all skier types and individuals than the alternative of heli-skiing. At Snow Rehab, we love the backcountry. We can think of nothing better than ripping tree lines and dropping pillows on powder days. Through cat skiing, we can be guaranteed fresh lines with no lift-lines in some of the most magnificent terrain on earth, and because everyone loves a bargain, cat skiing for a day is only around CA$400-$500 in high season with significant discounts available for multiple days or for heading up in low season when demand is less. Either way, it's not hard to see why cat skiing makes Snow Rehab's top 10 bucket list! And with our summit packages still in the summer sale which include a day's cat skiing, there has never been a better time to book a course with Snow Rehab!