Cat Skiing BC Canada Reviews
Cat skiing BC is paradise for powderhounds. With all that fresh powder to sniff out and face shots galore, a powderhound’s tail will definitely be wagging if they go British Columbia cat skiing.
Many avid skiers and boarders around the world don’t know what cat skiing
is, but the Canadians certainly do, and for them “knowledge is powder”!
What is Cat Skiing?
So why would a powder hound (a dog) want to go cat skiing? Shouldn’t it be dog skiing? So if you’re wondering what the hell cat skiing is, it’s a fabulous form of guided backcountry skiing and snowboarding.
Cats or snowcats are large grooming style machines that transport about 14 skiers and snowboarders up to backcountry areas in a purpose built cabin. Whilst skiers and snowboarders are guided down fresh powder runs, the cat makes its way back to the bottom to pick them up to take them on the next run. Most BC cat ski operators have exclusive access to a large ski area that’s big enough to ensure riders always have fresh tracks for powder skiing – awesome!
Benefits of Cat Skiing Canada
BC cat skiing offers an opportunity to get away from the congestion and crowds at the ski resorts. “There are no friends on a powder day” is a common saying, but when you go cat skiing there is no powder panic and no need to use your elbows to get fresh lines. Freshies are almost guaranteed, and you only have to share the powder with a small group. Of course another huge benefit of Canada cat skiing is that there are no mogul runs and definitely no unruly lift queues.
has some similarities to heli skiing
, with one of the main differences being that it’s much cheaper. Heli skiing also has grounded days where the helicopter can’t fly due to the weather. Thankfully snowcats can still go out in snow storms, and when the powder is falling is when you most want to be out there skiing.
The only downside to cat skiing BC is that it’s very easy to develop an addiction to powder skiing. You have been warned!
Where is Cat Skiing in Canada?
Cat-skiing was pioneered in the Kootenay Rockies over 25 years ago, and British Columbia Canada continues to be the home of cat skiing.
The British Columbia Interior is renowned for cat skiing within mountain ranges such as the Rockies, Monashees, Selkirks, Purcells and Valhallas. The cat skiing areas in these mountains are renowned for receiving large quantities of light dry powder with phenomenal annual snowfalls of 12-18 metres. Pack your snorkel!
Due to the legendary snowfall, the area in the south-east corner of British Columbia has been called the Powder Triangle. There’s a bit of debate as to how far the triangle extends, but it includes the areas near Nelson, Rossland, Fernie, Meadow Creek, Revelstoke and Golden.
The Nelson region has the greatest concentration of BC cat skiing operations, and these include Wildhorse Cat Skiing
, Valhalla Powdercats
and Retallack Catskiing
. Big Red Cats
near Rossland is also in the vicinity of Nelson, and Meadow Creek about 1:45 hours north of Nelson has a few cat ski operators including White Grizzly
and the infamous Selkirk Wilderness Skiing
(the inventors of cat skiing).
area in the southeast corner of BC has three companies: Powder Cowboy; Island Lake Lodge
; and Fernie Wilderness Adventures
. Not far away over in Alberta is Powder Stagecoach
at Castle Mountain.
The Golden and Revelstoke regions have various operators including Mustang Powder
, Chatter Creek
and the Revelstoke cat skiing
operation at Revelstoke ski resort
. Great Northern Snowcat Skiing
is based at Trout Lake, about 1.5 hours from Revelstoke.
There are also a couple of Whistler cat skiing operations in western BC, and Skeena Cat Skiing
is located in northern BC.
See our cat skiing Canada stats
comparison for an overview of the locations of the BC cat ski operations.
Snowcat Skiing Safety
The discipline of cat skiing is not without risks considering that it occurs in the remote backcountry. Avalanches are one of the primary hazard concerns and the operations put various strategies in place to lessen the risk.
The BC cat skiing industry is highly regulated so the emphasis on safety is much higher than with cat skiing in other parts of the world. Cat skiing BC has very high standards in relation to avalanche mitigation strategies and the safety briefings provided, and all operators provide highly qualified lead and tail guides to accompany the cat skiing group.
Types of Cat Skiing BC
The most common format of cat skiing in Canada is that of multi-day trips that range from 2 to 7 days (i.e. destination cat skiing). The packages include all meals, and accommodation is provided in an exclusive remote lodge. Sometimes these wilderness lodges can be only be accessed by snowcat or helicopter.
Multi-day operations include:
- Near Meadow Creek - White Grizzly, Selkirk Wilderness Skiing
- Revelstoke - Mustang Powder
- Trout Lake near Revelstoke - Great Northern Snowcat Skiing
- Near Kicking Horse - Chatter Creek
- Near Fernie - Island Lake Cat Skiing
- Near Smithers (1.5hr flight north of Vancouver) - Skeena Cat Skiing
Another category is operators that only offer single day cat skiing. Of course you can go cat skiing more than one day, but accommodation is not included in the package.
Most day cat skiing operations tend to be near ski resorts or significant towns. This is ideal for people visiting the area to get a taste of what cat skiing is all about before plunging in head-first to a cat ski powder holiday.
Some day cat skiing operations are:
Multi-Day and Single Day Packages
Here are some BC cat skiing companies that offer multi-day and
single day cat skiing:
Some multi-day operators also provide day skiing on a stand-by arrangement if space is available.
Our cat skiing Canada stats
comparison provides an overview of the type of package on offer for each company.
Go Powder Cat Skiing
In 2007 a large survey of cat skiing and heli skiing was commissioned in BC Canada. The survey results speak volumes – 98% of first time cat skiers indicated that they plan to go cat skiing again. Once experienced, forever addicted!
NB Many of the BC cat skiing operations fill up quickly, so try to book ahead to avoid disappointment.
Cat Skiing Operators in BC
||Selkirk Wilderness Skiing - Meadow Creek
Where cat skiing began in 1975. SWS has over 35 years to refine its operation to what it is today; nothing short of what could be the ultimate cat skiing adventure in the world!
||Valhalla Cat Skiing - Nelson
Terrific terrain with alpine bowls, chutes, cliffs, drop-offs and some terrific gladed tree runs. Located near Nelson. Go for a day or book an entire week.
||Retallack Cat Skiing - Nelson
This is cat skiing BC for the hard-core experienced skier & boarder; intermediates need not apply! Very steep terrain & tight trees. However if you are up to it, the riding is awesome and the POW is deep; very deep!!
||Fernie Wilderness Adventures (FWA)
FWA has some spectacular terrain with steeps, tight trees, cliffs and natural obstacles to huck-off. But don't let that scare you; it is also well suited to intermediate skiers & boarders.
||Big Red Cats - Red Mountain (Rossland)
18,500 acres to choose your next turn! You definitely won't ski all that POW in a day so make sure you book at least 3. BRCs have terrain to suit all levels.
Tours that include Cat Skiing
Hosted & Guided Off-Piste Ski & Snowboard Safaris
Cat & Heli Combo Tours