Compare Cat Skiing BC

Compare Cat Skiing BC

World Nomads Travel Insurance
Canada is the capital of cat skiing and there are 21 Canada cat skiing operations, 18 of which are in British Columbia. All cat skiing in British Columbia is fabulously insane and the purrrrrfect way to get untracked fresh powder turns! So the only problem is choosing which of these fabulous cat skiing operations to go with. For some people the choice is largely based on location, or availability considering that many of the high profile British Columbia cat ski operations are pretty much booked out 10 months in advance, whilst for others it may be related to other factors.

To aid in your decision making:
  • See our Canada cat skiing statistics, which compare terrain size, annual snowfall, vertical covered, ability required, and cost. This comparison of the BC cat skiing operations also provides an overview of locations and the type of package offered.
  • See our best cat skiing in Canada awards. 
  • Check out the Powderhounds cat skiing ratings which are broken down into aspects such as the powder, terrain for different abilities, snowcat, safety, guiding, and value.
  • See the Snowcat Skiing Canada Packages for an indication of availability.
  • See the cat skiing in British Columbia comparison information below regarding cost, terrain for different abilities, vertical covered, and lodging. 

Cost of Canada Cat Skiing

Day cat skiing in Canada costs range from CA$450 to $599 with the average being CA$550 (2018-19 rates, ex taxes) during peak season. Significant discounts are available in low season.

Powder Stagecoach Cat Skiing at Castle Mountain is the most inexpensive of the day cat skiing operators, probably in part because it's lift accessed snowcat skiing.

For multi-day cat skiing trips, a day/night costs between CA$685 and CA$1,400 in high season, depending upon the degree of lodging luxury, and the average is $1,113 (2018-19 rates).

Big Red Cats and Fernie Wilderness Lodge have very inexpensive multi-day cat skiing packages.

See our cat skiing statistics to compare Canada cat skiing costs.

Ability Level Required

Some British Columbia cat skiing operators can accommodate strong intermediate riders up to experts. A couple of companies only cater to the expert rider, with terrain that has mandatory drop-offs and/or tight steep trees. Double check the type of terrain on offer because you might think you’re an expert until you compare yourself to some of the Canadian locals!

See our Canada cat skiing statistics for information on the minimal ability level required for each of the operations, and also our cat skiing ratings for terrain by ability level.

All of the Canada cat skiing companies have terrain that is ideal for advanced riders. Where companies differentiate themselves is largely around how well they can cater for intermediate and expert riders.

Best Cat Skiing for Intermediates
About half of the cat skiing Canada operations can provide an experience for intermediates.

Big Red Cats has a distinct advantage over many other cat skiing companies because they have three to four snowcats that cater to different ability levels (intermediate, advanced and expert and uber-expert). This separation allows strong intermediates the comfort of knowing that they’re not holding up gun skiers and boarders. On the flip side, experts don’t need to worry that they’ll be twiddling their thumbs whilst waiting for less experienced powder riders.

Monashee Powdercats also caters reasonably well to strong intermediates.

Best BC Cat Skiing for Experts
Most cat skiing companies have great expert terrain, but whether they go there is somewhat dependent on the group that you’re out with (unless you organise your own snowcat with your expert mates). Once again, any company like Big Red Cats that separate the snowcats by ability will generally provide a better experience for experts.

Keefer Lake has some kick-arse steep tree skiing that’s ideal for experts and it doesn’t attract cat skiing newbies.

White Grizzly cat skiing solely caters to experts. Their mantra is “ski good or eat wood” (ie hit the trees)!

Retallack tends to attract hard-core skiers so you’re less inclined to get stuck with intermediates.

Vertical

Most Canada cat skiing operations offer 12,000 to 15,000 vertical feet per day (3,656 – 4,570 metres), but it varies somewhat. There are various factors that affect the amount of vertical covered each day, including the power of the snowcat, the efficiency of the snowcat roads, the length of the runs, and the elevation that the snowcat starts from each day. However the major consideration is the speed of the group.

So if you want max vertical, the highest likelihood of achieving this is with companies that cater well to experts.

White Grizzly, Big Red Cats and Mustang Powder all offer up to 20,000 vertical feet per day. Chatter Creek can also offer up to 20,000 feet.

At the other end of the spectrum, some companies offer significantly less vertical. Powder Mountain provides approximately 7,000 to 10,000 feet per day (equivalent of about 2 top to bottom runs at Whistler Blackcomb) and Great Northern Snowcat Skiing about the same. For many intermediate and advanced riders, this is more than enough powder turns to burn your legs and send you to the masseuse to get the kinks ironed out!

Cat Skiing Terrain Size

Is bigger better? The answer is generally yes. Terrain size of greater than 4,000 hectares is more than adequate (and if the terrain is too big it may take too long to get to some of the slopes anyhow).

Large terrain size provides a variety of aspects so that particularly during dry spells, the guides have lots of options to find some good snow. Small terrain results in the risk of not always having fresh tracks if it hasn’t snowed in a while.

Small cat ski operators include Powder Stagecoach (324 hectares) and Fernie Wilderness Cat Skiing (1,213 hectares). Mustang Powder (12,140 hectares) has a big cat skiing tenure, whilst Chatter Creek near Kicking Horse has massive terrain with nearly 24,000 hectares.

See our Canada cat skiing stats for comparisons on terrain size.

Cat Skiing British Columbia Lodging

The type of cat skiing lodging varies significantly across BC. Big Red Cats’ accommodation is at the Red Mountain ski resort in rustic private lodges or you can choose your own condo or hotel. Most other BC cat skiing involves lodging at a remote backcountry lodge.

Some of these mountain lodges are cosy and rustic (e.g. FWA Cat Skiing, White Grizzly), whilst commonly they are quite salubrious. An example of luxury lodging is at Island Lake Cat Skiing near Fernie. There is deluxe lodging at Keefer Lake Cat Skiing and an example of middle of the road lodging is Retallack Cat Skiing.

And Skeena Cat Skiing is incredibly unique because the backcountry lodging is at a remote base camp formed with large tents. It is incredibly cool and whilst not luxurious, it's far from roughing it! A purr-ffect ending to a day of cat skiing in northern BC!