Wagner Custom Skis

Skeena Cat Skiing - Backcountry Basecamp - Reviews

Way Cool!

POWDERHOUNDS.COM
30/04/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Rider Ability
    Expert
Staying at the base camp was very cool Lots of fantastic lines Nice steep lines The tent village Top Dog coming out of the whiteroom
I was looking forward to the challenge of roughing it a bit at Skeena Cat Skiing to try to prove to myself that I wasn’t as unadventurous and soft as I thought I was becoming. I knew that it wasn’t going to be full-on camping in those freezing little tents that seem like they’ll blow away at any minute, or where I’d have to use baby wipes to bathe, and potentially wear the same socks for 4 days. But I still thought it would test me!

I’m not sure if I was disappointed or pleasantly relieved that the backcountry camp wasn’t roughing it at all! Heated tents with proper beds – tick! Hot showers and heated shower room – tick! No squatting to go to the toilet (yes I’m female) – tick! Masseuse – tick! Nice food and plenty of alcohol – had it in spades! Relaxing couches, a fire, fun company, and of course I had fresh socks!

And most importantly I got to do my favourite pastime – cat skiing! I love cat skiing! And getting to take only 20 steps through the fresh powder to the snowcat in the morning, made it even better!

A warm spell had hit all of BC before our arrival but thankfully the snow quality got progressively better each day, with a small to moderate amount of fresh snow everyday. To say that the skiing was lots of fun was an understatement! Many runs started with a very steep open pitch, which petered out to smatterings of trees, and some runs went low down to denser trees where the gullies were the only real exit.

Some pros: unique backcountry lodging (hence the 5/5 rating here); nice steep pitches at the start of many runs; don’t need a rental car to get there; high levels of service (Kevin in particular went above and beyond); fantastic guides; and relatively inexpensive.

Cons: not enough tree skiing and princesses need not apply.

You can check out our more detailed review of Skeena Cat Skiing for more information, and our cat skiing ratings to see how Skeena compares to other operators.

Tremendous experience

Lee Lau
01/04/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Rider Ability
    Expert
  • Country
    Canada
Skeena Cat Jevon is the lead guide One of many alpine bowls Fine dinner Fine food
From start of the trip to the end the folks at Skeena Cat have excellent superior customer service. Snow quality was excellent but that is out of the control of operators. What is in their control is delivered with professionalism eg terrain selection, group management, group pace and also last but not least, food, apres-ski and accommodations.

Skeena Cat Skiing

Mark Lawson
17/03/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    66-75
  • Rider Ability
    Advanced
  • Country
    USA
With little more info than a spare website, a party of seven of us based out of the Denver made the decision to take a leap of faith and book a week straddling February and March 2017 at Skeena Catskiing in New Hazelton, Canada. We decided to go the cat skiing route after realizing that it was considerably less expensive than heli-skiing and more reliable as well, since a cat can go in weather that a helicopter won't go due to visibility and associated risk. The website indicated two options: stay in a lodge or in tents in a camp. Well, we were not interested in sleeping in tents in northern BC!

However, after talking with Lynne at Skeena, we were swayed by her argument that by staying at the camp you are shaving 3 HOURS of daily travel by Suburban and then by snowcat each day. So, done deal - camp it would be.

We flew into Smithers, BC on a Sunday evening. We were met by personnel from Skeena with two Suburbans and a trailer to carry our luggage. After 1 3/4 hours ride with a brief stop at the lodge and another 45 minute snowcat ride on a road only navigable in winter, we arrived at the camp. The camp consists of 6 two person shelters/mini-Quonset huts, a common area Quonset hut where meals are prepared and served and where the skiers and staff hang out, a two-shower building, and a two hole outhouse.

This is not a luxury experience, so if this is what you want, you will not be happy here. There is no tv and very limited internet access. However, if you have a spirit of adventure, enjoy powder skiing with a variety of terrain that includes pistes, meadows, glades, tree-skiing, and gullies that take you to pickup points, seek an intimate after-ski atmosphere with fellow skiers and staff, and excellent food for a reasonable price, this is the place!

The snow quality was very good thanks to the ability of the guides, Isaak and Karla, to know where to find areas of untracked good snow when it had obviously been several days since there had been a snowfall. Fortunately, we then had three days of varying amounts of new snow so that finding pockets of untracked was not an issue.

The accommodations are quite serviceable and warm. I am glad that I brought along a pee bottle which let me avoid having to go outside in the middle of the night to visit outhouse/nature.

I can't over emphasize how much I and our whole group enjoyed every member of the staff. Javon is the owner who had the vision, scoped out the terrain, built the roads, and hired the staff. He is down to earth, direct, competent, and involved in all aspects of the everyday operations. Lynne, his mom, handles all the booking, communications, marketing, and administrative duties. She is as personable, warm, and helpful a person as you will meet anywhere. Kevin , who has been with Javon, from the beginning, does just about everything that needs to be done in the camp. He does it all with an ever present smile and a ready hearty laugh. His music playlist is fabulous. Logan, the cat operator, has an incredibly wry sense of humor for such a young guy. It was eye opening to ride in the cab with Logan and see how skilled he is in continually sculpting the road on his way to each pickup point. Mindy, the chef, prepared great meals - turkey, halibut and shrimp, pork, and beef, rich but light desserts, and after-ski appetizers. Lunch was eaten on the mountain or in the cat. Karla, the tail guide, is also a masseuse - Thai massage. She is a slight gal who may be tougher than nails. She is also a hunting guide in the Yukon in the off-season. Isaak is the lead guide. He's the one who analyzes the snow pack, finds the powder, and leads the way down. He also guides for an Alaska Heli-ski operation.
In summary, the Skeena experience exceeded all our expectations, from skiing to ambience to staff.

I'll Be Back

John
21/02/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    51-65
  • Rider Ability
    Expert
  • Country
    Canada
Some of our lines Hard not to have fun!
If you're seeking a remote backcountry alpine experience, surrounded by a tremendous range of outstanding terrain, Skeena Cat Skiing has much to offer. Nestled in a saddle at 5000ft, a 6 minute cat ride from your first run of the day, base camp provides cozy two person accommodation in rigid frame tents and a great atmosphere in which to relax after a day on the slopes. It's hard to imagine this level of comfort in a camp environment. This is my third trip to Skeena and we've had great powder each year. I'll be back!