Articles in Category: CatSkiing Reviews

Skiing Pow with the Big Red Catskiing Team

Experiencing team spirit in the backcountry

Skiing Pow with the Big Red Catskiing Team

There is something about this pic that encapsulates the vibe of skiing with Big Red Cats. Kieren, owner and lead guide, believes that catskiing is a team sport. When I first heard him explain this is was foreign having grown up skiing and competing it always felt like I was the only on on the team. Fast forward a few years to the phase of my life that includes a fair amount of catskiing and Kieren's remarks begin to take hold on me.

Big Red Catskiing Canada Dec 2016 01

The spirit when skiing with Big Red Cats is to be out exploring terrain and getting powder, but it is more than that. Kieren has instilled this philosophy of skiing as a group and cheering each other on. Watching the next guy's line, getting pumped when someone pushes themselves, helping out after a crash, that sort of thing. The BRC style is the exact opposite of "No friends on a powder day".

Big Red Catskiing Adam Benson Dec 2015

We got in on some early season El Nino snow mid-December at Big Red Cats. The BC Interior was blessed with ample early snow which was a well deserved gift considering the bleak conditions from the previous season.Big Red Cats toughed it out and was ready for some payback from Mothernature and her unpredictable sidekick El Nino.

Big Red Cats was experiencing one of the strongest openings in years and stability was of the charts stable. This enable the team to get into some interesting and more sporty terrain than some of our previous visits. In fact, we saw a whole new side to Big Red. We skied chutes, steeps, drops, tight and steep trees, deep pow...you name it, we skied it. It also helped that we had sunshine rolling in and out all day. Sun and pow in early December. Incredible.

Big Red Cats John Holman Launching

We skied fresh powder under sunny skies for two days with the BRC team and the group from Freeride Media. It was an epic way to kick off the season. We were even treated to a fine mountain side meal at Big Red Cats restaurant Fresh Cafe and Apres. Delicious food and a great environment to get fueled up for the day and wind down afterwards.

Refuel after a day catskiing at Fresh Cafe and Apres

Having skied with Big Red Cats since they opened I have to say, this may have been my most favorite trip. The conditions were exceptional and we got to ski some cool zones. But what I think sunk in the most was this team thing. Kieren is on to something and is shows in all the positive feedback they get and the repeat clients that come back year after year. So if you are looking for a confortable backcountry experience filled with good times and a team environment, check out Big Red Cats. They will do their best to make your day as memorable as possible.

Friends on a Powder Day at Big Red Catskiing Canada

Learn more about Big Red Catskiing here >>>

 A few pics from the adventure...

Words by: Todd Avison
Photos by: Geoff Holman

Pre-Season Sun and Pow at K3 Catskiing

The snow is piling up and the sun is shining in the BC Interior

Pre-Season Sun and Pow at K3 Catskiing

This week we had the chance to go out and do an early season snow check with the crew at K3 Catskiing. Although the opening is weeks away, they are off to a great start and coverage is looking amazing with over 150 cm of snow up at 2000 metres. Having this kind of snow on November 26 makes us excited to see how the rest of the winter stacks up.

John Holman above the clouds at K3 Catskiing

We drove in with a cloudy haze hanging overhead and our hopes for a sunny day were dashed. But just as we climbed up to the cat staging area, we broke through the valley cloud and into the sun.

Views of the Valley at K3 Catsking

On a ridge near the top you can see all the way from Sun Peaks (Tod Mountain, Kamloops) in the West, to the back of Mt. Begbie (Revelstoke) to the east.

K3 Peak towering about the terrain at K3 Catskiing

The terrain at K3 Catskiing is an impressive looking mix of peaks, open bowls, meadows and steep trees. Each run seems to offer up something new so whenever you step out of the cat it is like unwrapping a present everytime! The team at K3 really know how to read a group and make sure that the runs are taylored to the style of the group. This is probably why they have returning guests coming back year after year.

Some epic lines wait at K3 Catskiing

Talking with K3 Owner/Operator David Moore, he says low valley cloud is a common occurrence in the that area over the winter. The lake effect cloud hangs in over the Shuswap valley, and you still get some great sunny days up top.

Adam Benson rolling in the deep at K3 Catskiing

So it is November right? You wouldn't think so. We have a theory about this early season snow. Operators in BC had a tough go last season. They slogged it out in the warm temps and thin snow. They did their best to show their clients the best of what their terrain had to offer despite the challenging conditions. We think that this epic early season snow is a bit of payback from ol Mother Nature for sticking with it last season.

Skiing into the sunset with John Holman

At the end of the day we got to ski down into the sunset. The lighting was stunning and we sqeezed out every last flake of powder we could. There is nothing like a day above the clouds skiing in fresh early-season powder with your friends and excellent hosts.

Big Smiles from K3 Catskiing

Want a big pow filled smile like this guy? K3 Catskiing has some great spots still open in December and January, give them a call and book one in before it's gone.

Check out: www.k3catski.com

Early Season Adventure at White Grizzly Catskiing

Skiing the deep, deep in the BC Interior

Early Season Adventure at White Grizzly Catskiing

It was November and anticipation for the season to come was high. We were busy doing the early season rituals; reading all the ski mags, watching videos from the previous season, going to the ski movie premiers and planning out our first trip of the season. This particular season it was to be White Grizzly Catskiing. No one in our group had been to White Grizzly before but we had been wanting to check it out for some time. Rumors of long tree runs and steep powder had piqued our interest years before. Also the allure of an operation that runs only one cat and, for some reason, stays out of the lime light. We had to make the trek and check the place out.

We had made arrangements with Brad, one of the owners of White Grizzly, sometime in late November. As far as we were concerned, that phone conformation was the beginning of ski season. The trouble was that we lived in the low lands of BC and over the years it has become quite brown and dry through November. This is not a good thing for the psyche of a skier. As out mid-December tour date drew closer the weather systems had not fully engulfed the BC Interior yet. Some storms had hammered the coastal range but powered out by the time they reached mid-province. Brad, being the powderhound that he is, recommended that we wait a week and come out during the upcoming storm cycle. We were a little bummed but appreciated Brad's honesty...and foresight. He also said that there would be room for two more skiers if we had anyone in mind. We have a list.

Two of our great ski buddies from opposite ends of the province dropped everything and joined us at White Grizzly. One, from just south of us in Idaho, did some creative scheduling with his boss (a natural skill of any powder obsessed skier). As for the other, I am sure he has his vehicle packed at all times waiting for our call. We all met in Kalso BC just south of White Grizzly's lodge and headed up for our first turns of the season.

Upon arriving at White Grizzly, you feel like you have just pulled into a long time friend's driveway. We parked the truck and headed into the inviting timbre framed lodge. Lodge is probably the wrong word. It is more like someone's house that has been designed with catskiing in mind. Carole, Brad's wife and business partner greets us and shows us the lay of the land. They have the program dialed right from the first minute of your arrival. Each person gets a place to hang their gear and warm up their boots. Carole gave us the run down of events and then we were invited in for some beverages and appys. We gathered in the living room area after our tour of the lodge and started to get to know the other guests. Many of them had skied the day previous so the conversation mostly consisted of them smiling like mischievous school children with a secret and us begging them for details. We would find out soon enough what early season at White Grizzly Catskiing was all about.

After a delicious home cooked meal we were able to relax and unwind. The hot tub was all warmed up and the beer was all cooled off so we took the conversation outside. Once we solved the world's problems we nestled down in the comfy rooms and tried to sleep in anticipation for the next day. We were up early with a friendly wake up call from Carole and another fantastic meal to get our day started off right. The food spread was out to construct our lunches and we were off.

Down the road we went to find the rumbling snowcats warming up for us. It is funny how fast a group of skiers can move when loading a cat. It had snowed some more overnight and the stoke was high. The temps were a cool -14 so that meant light BC powder waited for us up top.

We skied run after run of fresh, light untracked powder with Brad as our guide. His passion for powder and leading backcountry groups is really evident when you are out skiing with him. He truly loves it. You can tell he gets joy out of showing people the terrain him and his team have spent years developing. It adds to the experience of White Grizzly for sure. Brad took us to some fun spots where were able to find interesting lines and cool features. Much of the glading at White Grizzly is natural with a little help from chainsaws in the off season. Eventhough it was early season, there was quite a lot of snow up there. We could ski pretty much anything we wanted. Usually operations have areas closed because snowpack hasn't built up yet or roads haven't been built. Also, the fact that White Grizzly only runs one group of 12 skiers at a time means that Brad doesn't need to farm snow. By the time all the runs are cut up with tracks, the next storm cycle has blown through and reset the place.

On day two we found more fresh and more steep. White Grizzly consists of mostly tree skiing and consistent fall lines. You should definitely be in shape to ski there and have a love for tree skiing. For me, tree skiing is where it is at. Growing up in BC, that is what we have here. Sure there is alpine skiing, but there is nothing like blasting through deep powder between massive old growth trees. Brad took us to a little spot hidden in the trees called Pride Rock. I am not sure how high it is but it was a good hit. Of course, once one guy went all of us had to hit it!

Back at the lodge that night we shared more stories from the day and really got to know the people we skied with. What we found interesting was that the rest of the group had been coming to White Grizzly annually for the past 15 to 18 years. We had no idea! These people consider Brad and Carole part of their extended families. It was quite a cool experience to hear these people reminisce. It was like they had some sort of ownership in the place, that part of it was theirs. I suppose in a way it is. This is their spot. The place they save up all season to go visit. The retreat they dream about while working long weeks. The great thing is, Brad and Carol realize this and do their very best to make the experience a memorable one for all of their guests.

So if you are looking for a down home feeling place where the owners are just as excited as you are and want to ski some light steep BC powder then White Grizzly just may be the place for you. Don't be afraid to book an early season date either. You will benefit from some early season rates and still get some incredible skiing in.

White Grizzly is located in the interior of BC at the top end of what is now known as the Powder Highway. They get a crazy amount of snow each year and it is always light and powdery. The trip is a bit longer than most but you really feel like you are in the BC backcountry. We've been to the area a number of times and once you have been, you will be drawn to it and feel the urge to go back. Especially during the hot summer after working all day!

So book your trip today and say hi to Brad and Carole from all of us at Catskiing.ca

First Day of Spring?

Snow and Sun at Valhalla Powdercats

First Day of Spring?

The first day of Spring arrived and for the people down in the valley bottom it was a warm and sunny day. The grass was starting to green, birds were fluttering about and people were feeling like the grip of winter was starting to loosen. Not for us though...

We found ourselves at the end of a 3-Day trip to Valhalla Powdercats where winter had decided to give it another go. We got out of the cat at the weather station to 22cms of new snow on top of the 10cms from the day before (that is a foot of fresh for those American readers!). To make the situation just a little more epic, the sun happened to make an appearance throughout the day.

Run after run of powder and sunshine was the order of the day. We have had the experience of sunny snowfall which is always majestic when one finds themselves in the middle of the Valhalla's with a close group of friends.

For those of you who are on the fence about a late March catskiing trip, don't hesitate. This is the third season in a row where we have had remarkable conditions.

Here are a few shots from the trip. We have plenty more coming so stay tuned for a full gallery:

Dashing through the snow at White Grizzly Catskiing

Christmas came early this season with plenty of powder!

White Grizzly Catskiing - Todd Avison

We have officially started catskiing season here in BC and we did it up right. This year we kicked off the powder season at White Grizzly Cat Skiing in Meadow Creek BC. Some areas of the province have been blessed with early season snow while others are still doing the snow dance. White Grizzly is one of the places that has been consistently hammered early on.

Our trip started on December 18th with skiing on the 19th and 20th. Down low in the valley there wasn't much snow to speak of so we had to rely on the reports from skiers that were out the day before. It is sometimes hard to tell if they say it was awesome to make themselves feel better of if it truly was awesome. The looks on these peoples' faces were hard to fake. It looked like we were in for a treat.

After a night in the cozy White Grizzly lodge and some excellent food in our bellies we were off to discover what they White Grizzly terrain had to offer. We found steep tree runs, drops and features everywhere and an abundance of early season powder. The next two days were a blur of pow, trees, steeps, rocks, laughs, beers, hot tubs, food, stories and good times. Thank you to Brad, Carole and all of the staff at White Grizzly for making us feel at home and showing us the goods on the mountain. 

Here are a few shots of the trip so far. We are still editing and going through the footage. Enjoy and stay tuned for a full review of White Grizzly Cat Skiing.

Sun, Snow, and Amazing Views

Big Red Cats delivers some late season delights

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We had the opportunity to get out to Big Red Cats late in the 2013 season on March 22. What we thought might be some great skiing in the sun, also surprised us with pockets of light powder all over the place. BC was getting some great late season snow, and a cold front had rolled in. It was a chilly -17 when we rolled into the parking lot, but clear as could be, and that made for a day of amazing vistas mixed in with the skiing.

Big Red Cats features 8 different peaks and over 150km of cat roads, being later in the season and with good snow stability we had unlimited choice of the tenure. Our lead guide Kieren tailored the day to access the best snow and terrain to fit our group.

After dropping off of Mackie, we continued on skiing and travelling east to the other side of the tenure. Mackie, with it's numerous different runs from open chutes on one side to trees on the other side, is one of my most favorite peaks at Big Red. From the far Northeast side of the skiing area, you can see from Red mountain, to Trail, to the dam in Castlegar, in a spectacular 360 degree valley view of the west Kootenays.

By the afternoon it had warmed up considerably, and was great Spring skiing. We had the pleasure of skiing with a fun group from the US midwest, and they were all smiles coming to the end of their week long trip to BC. Spring sun and skiing with new friends, couldn't ask for much more.

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Valhalla Powdercats January Mega Powder Gallery!

Powdy Shots from our Trip January 4th-6th 2013

Valhalla Powdercats Snowcat Skiing Canada

The first trip of 2013 has come and gone for us. We have been left with some amazing memories of skiing powder, finding cool terrain features and making more good friends out in the deep. This trip was especially fun for us because we had so many different lighting conditions that allowed us to get so many different styles of photos. We had a dark and cloudy day on Friday so we broke out our lighting set up and got creative. Sunday brought fresh snow and welcomed sunshine and, well, powder and sunshine! What more can we say?

As many of your know, BC has been hammered with some incredible early season snow. Even this week we are getting puked on. The larger amount of snow has given Valhalla an unprecedented early deep base that gave us the opportunity to ski deeper into their terrain than ever before. This opened us up to finding new terrain features that we didn't even know where there.

We were thinking back on our years at Valhalla and came to the consensus that we have been hunting down powder there for the past 11 years. Every year brings something new and exciting. The guides and staff are always top notch and the terrain keeps blowing us away. Hopefully we get to visit again later in the season to explore their newly expanded terrain in the Caribou Bowl. Until then, enjoy this gallery below.

5For a birds eye view of where we were skiing, check out our Valhalla Photo Map.

If this gets you excited about planning a trip to Valhalla Powdercats Call: 1-866-722-7669 and book your trip today.  Tell them Catskiing.ca sent you!

It all came together on Day 3 at Valhalla Powder Cats

One Part Sunshine, Two Parts Powder = Epic Catskiing

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At the end of our second day catskiing at Valhalla Powder Cats, the snowfall that the weather forecasters had promised started to fall. The town of Nelson was serene and silent as the snow came down and our anticipation of the next day started to grow. We woke up to about five centimeters in town which translated to much more in the alpine.

We made the trek up to the Valhalla weather plot where each day is started and to our delight there was what looked like 15-20 cms of fresh Kootenay powder...and the sun came out! The first few runs were mayhem, we felt like kids in a candy store. Our guides Josh and Caleb made sure our group made the best of the sunshine taking us to runs where we could shred the fresh pow while basking in the sun glowing overhead.

Mid-day the 'Kootenay Ocean' grew larger and consumed the Valhalla's. It then started to snow a little which quickly turned into alot. As the flakes got larger we got deeper and deeper into the terrain and explored further than we ever had this early in the season. The features we saw had our heads spinning looking at all of the options. The Valhallla catskiing terrain is so varied giving every ridge line and aspect a different feel and vibe. We left the day completely satisfied and stoked to come back and see what else we can find waiting for us deep in the Valhalla's...

Thanks to all of the guides, staff and the rest of our catskiing group for an amazing experience at Valhalla Powdercats!

Stay tuned for more pictures from our 3-days of powder skiing at Valhalla Powdercats.

Powdys a Plenty at Valhalla - Day 2

We were treated to more Powder on Day Two at Valhalla Powdercats

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Day Two of our Valhalla Powdercats trip and we got even deeper into their terrain. Never before have we been this far back this early in the season. BC was treated to a serious amount of early season snow which has blessed the mountains with more snowpack that usual. This is a bonus for those of us into catskiing!

We can't remember what run the above shot was taken on but that doesn't really matter. Everywhere was deep and soft and our entire cat loved every turn. We had a couple over from England join us today on their first trip to BC, their first trip to the Kootenays and their first trip catskiing. The look in their eyes told us that they will be back in our neck of the woods. They couldn't have picked a better season to come try out what this area has to offer.

Our lead guide and operation manager Tyler and our tail guide Carla gave us another remarkable day in the backcountry. Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings us at Valhalla Powdercats...