Cat Skiing Europe

Cat Ski in Macedonia with Eskimo Freeride.
Eskimo Freeride cat skiing powder in Macedonia.
Cat Skiing Bakhmaro in the Caucasus, Georgia (©
Great powder skiing in the trees at Bahkmaro (Photo Florian Birnkammer).
Awesome terrain - Eskimo Freeride. Europe's longest established cat skiing.
Cat ski powder with Eskimo Freeride.
It snows a bit in the Caucasus of Georgia - Cat Skiing Bakhmaro (©
Cat skiing Bakhmaro (©
Eskimo Freeride Cat Skiing
Eskimo Freeride cat skiing.
Cat Skiing Bakhmaro.
Traditional feast at Eskimo Freeride cat skiing.
Cat Skiing Bakhmaro
Cat Skiing Bakhmaro (Photo - C. Frey)
Eskimo Freeride cat skiing.
Cat ski camping at Eskimo Freeride.
Cat Skiing Bakhmaro.
Cat ski camping at Eskimo Freeride.
The notorious wine barrel hot tub at Eskimo Freeride.
Off into the sunset at Eskimo Freeride cat skiing.

Cat Skiing Europe

Europe Cat Skiing

Cat skiing anywhere 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 cat skiing in Europe.

Many avid skiers and boarders around the world don’t know what cat skiing is, but “knowledge is powder”! The Europe cat ski locations in MacedoniaGeorgia  and Russia have an added sense of adventure to them also.

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 Europe 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 Europe

Europe 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 Europe cat skiing is that there you are in quiet almost wilderness settings with no unruly lift queues or skied off crud and moguls.

Snowcat skiing has some similarities to heli skiing, with two of the main differences being that cat skiing is much cheaper and operates more often. Heli skiing has many 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 Europe is that it’s very easy to develop an addiction to powder skiing. You have been warned!

Where is Cat Skiing in Europe?

Cat-skiing was pioneered in Canada, but has struggled to establish itself in Europe. Hence cat skiing in Europe is a comparative rarity, but it does exist and is actually growing. Cat ski operations are currently in Macedonia, Georgia, Russia and Italy.

The longest established cat ski operation in Europe is Eskimo Freeride Cat-skiing. Based in the small village and ski resort of Popova Sapka, 70km east of Skopje in Macedonia, Eskimo Freeride cat skiing provides a wonderful ski, nature, gastronomical, cultural and party experience across 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) of alpine and forest terrain. Whether it is deep in powder in a high alpine bowl or quaffing a beer in the wine barrel hot tub, you will have a fantastic time.

Aside from its awesome terrain for advanced and expert skiers and snowboarders, a unique aspect to Eskimo Freeride is its family friendly options. Snowcats will go out specifically to cater for intermediate skiers and snowboarders including children on appropriate terrain that allows for quick and fun progression. Very few cat ski operations in the world have such a capacity (or willingness!).

A new cat ski operation has started in the Lesser Caucasus mountains at Bakhmaro in Georgia. Established by a professional Swiss crew, Cat Skiing Bakhmaro promises to deliver an exceptional new experience for more adventurous skiers and snowboarders. Having run its first season in 2016/17, it is quickly coming to terms with its superb terrain, establishing a new lodge and buying an additional snow cat for season 2017/18.

An intriguing cat ski option in vast Siberia, Russia, is run by the Pri Freeride Company out of the small town of Priiskovy (or Priiskovoe), a 6hr drive from the closest major city of Krasnoyarsk. Pri Freeride cat skiing has been running since 2007 and run 5 snowcats. Winter comes early at Priiskovoy, with great catskiing already in early November. All the splendid isolation of a classic Canadian catski operation, but in Siberia. What could be better?

The only cat ski operation in western Europe (that we are aware of) is Powder Cat Ski Italy based near Sestriere. One day they might get back to us...........

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 in the backcountry and the operations put various strategies in place to lessen the risk. Avalanche mitigation strategies and safety briefings are provided, plus all operators provide highly qualified lead and tail guides to accompany the cat skiing group.  All cat skiing participants must wear an avalanche beacon and carry a safety pack with shovel, probe and (usually) an airbag.

Go Powder Cat Skiing

A large survey of cat skiing and heli skiing was commissioned in the world's biggest cat skiing area - 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!

Cat skiing operations tend to fill up quickly, so try to book ahead to avoid disappointment.

Europe Cat Skiing Packages

Eskimo Freeride Cat Skiing 4 to 8 Day Packages
4 to 8 Days | 3 to 7 Nights | 3 to 7 Days Cat Skiing
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Eskimo Freeride offers 4 to 8 day cat ski packages with 3 to 7 full days of cat skiing and snowboarding powder inclusive of accommodation and all meals. Choose your own dates & fully customise your cat-ski tour. All packages are family friendly!
Price p/p From price based on 4-day package which includes 3 days cat skiing & 3 nights lodging in high season (Jan 20 to Mar 20)
Base/invoice currency is in EUR inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 855
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Cat Skiing Bakhmaro
7 Nights Lodging, Meals + 5-6 days cat skiing
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
The ultimate European cat skiing adventure, Cat Skiing Bakhmaro includes airport transfers, 7 nights of accommodation in the traditional village of Bakhmaro, all meals at Bakhmaro plus 5 - 6 days of cat skiing.
Price p/p From price based on tranfers, 7 nights 4 share room, full board & 5-6 days guided cat skiing.
Base/invoice currency is in Euro ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 2,394
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