Articles in Category: CatSkiing Reviews

Superfantastic Powder at Valhalla Powdercats

Day One of Three and the Powder is a plenty!

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You often hear people say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Today at Valhalla Powdercats we got a full memory card full of those kind of pictures. The sample you see above is from a super-fantastic rip down a run aptly named Pick-a-Pop. There are spines and powder pillows all the way down the slope.

It was only day one today of a three day excursion to Valhalla Powdercats and things are looking very promising. We are out here with a group from Freshair.ca and the getting is good. A little more snow fell today and the temps are perfect.

If you haven't got a trip booked to Valhalla yet you had better get on it. Or you can always enter our contest and get out here for a lot less cash!

This is just day one so stay tuned for more pics, vids and stories coming out of Valhalla this weekend.

Dashing through the snow at Big Red Cats

The season is off to a strong start at Big Red Catskiing

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It is technically early season in the skiing world but you wouldn't know it up at Big Red Catskiing near Rossland BC. We have been hearing the stories of epic powder dumps and rapidly accumulating snow bases across BC so we had to check it out for ourselves.

Our first catskiing trip of the season happened on December 11th and Big Red Cats was the place. This wasn't their first day though...they have been running cats since the last weekend of November! As a result, they have an early road network built like no other early season which got us to many new skiing spots; even some runs that were skied for the first time.

We have been skiing Big Red Cats since the year they opened and have never seen a December like this. Normally we would expect that we would see some exposed rocks, stumps, alder and other reminisce of summer. But not this season. No, this year it is all powder and we aren't complaining. In fact, we had an incredible day filled with powder bowls and tree skiing. We even found a few things to huck ourselves off!

This season we were reunited with Bob Legasa and his crew from Freeride Media. Bob hails from Sandpoint Idaho and is a regular visitor to BC for catskiing and heliskiing. We always enjoy skiing with Bob and his crew and had another day for the history books. We will be talking about this opening day for years to come I am sure.

We are stoked for what the rest of the season has in store for us. We can confidently recommend that if you are thinking about some early season catskiing that you should give Kieren and Paula a call at Big Red Catskiing. They are set up and skiing and have some fantastic early season promos to help you get your powder fix in. Besides, who doesn't need an early Christmas present?!

Until then, check out our photos from the day. Enjoy!

Birthday Chutes at Valhalla Powdercats

Nothing better than deep pow on your Birthday

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My birthday is on the 24th of March.  I often get some spring skiing in as part of the festivities. With spring skiing you expect sunshine and corn snow.  Good times for sure, but not the powder stoke.  This year British Columbia has been blessed with a lot of snow in March ( 2+ meters in some areas ), and not too many sunny days ( Don't want to ruin all that lovely snow). 

We lucked out my birthday with a special treat of tasty powder and some beautiful sunshine.   The Guides got wind of it being my birthday and lined up something special for us...  The Birthday Chutes!  A rocky corridor of fun that spits you out into a pristine bowl with some great natural hits too boot!  

We have always been impressed with the quality and variety of the terrain at Valhalla.  On our previous trips to Valhalla we had always visited early in the season.  This later trip gave us an opportunity to see more of there terrain.   Let me tell you... It just gets better and better.

A big thank you Josh, Nesbo, Clark, and the rest of the Valhalla crew for making our trip and my birthday Epic!

Into the Selkirk Wild

We travel back to the birthplace of catskiing

Selkirk Wilderness Skiing - Catskiing CanadaSometimes things come together just right. Selkirk Wilderness had us out this year in late March. The 19th and 20th to be exact. Usually we would expect spring-like conditions. Warmer temperatures and sunny skies are things that come to mind when thinking about skiing in the later half of March. But not this season. No, the mood swings of La Nina had something different in store for us on our visit to SWS.

We arrived on Sunday night after a warm and dry drive through the valley towards Meadow Creek BC, the home of SWS. Even in places like Revelstoke the melt was on. We were feeling a little discouraged when the road was all mud as we approached the meeting spot. There wasn't even any snow there. But what boggled our minds was that all the BC weather reports have been saying nothing but crazy snow storms, 100 + centimetres at a time... These are the reports that make a skier start to froth at the mouth!

As we started to ascend up the Selkirk Wilderness access road the snowpack started to deepen. And then the brown landscape of the valley became a distant memory in mere minutes. We rolled up to the SWS lodge and found ourselves in a winter wonderland. Cold air, deep snow and a feeling that good things we coming over the next two days. Guests who have skied at Selkirk Wilderness for decades commented that they had never seen the snowpack so deep at the lodge before. More frothing...

Day One – We wake up and it is dark and low cloud. Spirits were high though, the snow was deep and that is what we were there for. After a hearty breakfast prepared by Melissa and her crew it was outside for a safety briefing and beacon training. Then we were off. The first cat ride up is a little longer so we can get up to Meadow Mountain. Half way up we started to see a few breaks in the clouds and then pow, we were in sunshine. Yup, 100cms in a week or so and then we get sunshine. The skiing was fantastic and we got to soak in some of the view points from Meadow Mountain and the surrounding ridges.

We were able to ski somewhere in the neighbourhood or 10 or 11 runs that day. Our guides Jeff and Rob took us to varied terrain including open faces, tree runs, gullies and more. Each run offering a different personality and terrain features that kept all skill levels in our group satisfied. These guides really know there terrain and can assess a group early on in the day which makes the experience at Selkirk Wilderness all the better.

We ended up back at the lodge a happy bunch. We chilled on the deck with the group from the other cat as well as a film crew from Sherpas Cinemas. There is nothing like hanging out with people you just met talking about skiing powder and sharing a few beers. It is one of the things we really love about the SWS experience.

Day Two – We wake up and it is starting to snow. And  snow it did. At times it fell as if the clouds were falling down on us. Puking BC powder and we loved every minute of it! Jeff and Rob were itching to get out in the morning so they wrangled our crew together and got us out the door first. There was a method to there madness as they took us up to an area called Lightning Ridge. Our first run was Cadillac. It hadn't been skied in almost 3 weeks and I don't think the guides could have guessed how sweet it would be. After one run everyone was trying to put it into words. I am just glad that our guides knew what they had stumbled upon because they kept us there all day. We sessioned Lighting Ridge from one end to the next. As one of our guides put it, “ We are going to keep doing this till we get it right!” Well, they got it right and made Tuesday March 20th 2012 one of the best days we have had on skis.

So as I said, sometimes things come together just right. Our entire crew was able to work this trip into their schedules, we arrived after the biggest storm cycle of the season, we got sunshine on day one and we got serious powder on the second day. Put that together with the hospitality of the people at the SWS lodge and the new friends we met and you have a recipe for a story to tell over and over again any chance we get.

We hope you enjoy the photos below that we got on this season's trip to Selkirk Wilderness. We definitely recommend booking a trip with this outfit. They treat you like family and show you what skiing powder and enjoying the mountains is all about.

Thanks SWS.

2013 Powder Skis @ Big Red Cats

New Skis, New Snow, Sunshine. Who could ask for more.

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The catskiing.ca team recently visited Big Red Cats for some back country powder action. This trip was dual purpose, skiing and ski testing. We met up with the crew from FreshAir.ca to check out some of the 2012/2013 powder ski line up. We were very happy to hit a sunny day with some fresh snow and a fast crew. Here's a little video on some of the 2013 skis we tried out:

Kieren, the owner/operator was our lead guide. He was excited to show us some of the new terrain he has opened up with their extensive summer glading program. You can really see the passion Kieren has for skiing with all the effort he puts into making each run just that much better. Big Red Cats is now the largest catskiing operation in the world with as many as 5 cats running on a daily basis.

This offers guests the option to ski in a cat geared to their skill level and the ability to run more cats when the snow conditions are at there best.

As with all good things, this day came to a end all too soon and before you know it, we were all skiing of into the sunset on our last run.

Steep and Deep at Valhalla Powdercats

Cold Smoke, Biscuit Flower, White Gold

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"20 on the 24 boys. It's gonna be a great day!"

- Clarke the Snowcat driver

These were the first words we heard as the big metal door to the snowcat swung open at the staging area of Valhalla Powdercats. You see, we were skiing the day before and the conditions were good. At the end of the day we were feeling good, but being skiers we wanted more. The end-of-day conversation gravitated towards comments like, “wouldn't another 10cms overnight be nice?” or “I wonder if it will be blue-bird tomorrow...” At any rate, we had a fantastic first day at Valhalla Powdercats but had no idea what we were in for the next day.

After Clarke opened the door and gave us his version of the weather report we hopped out of the cat to realize the true nature of what he was saying. 20 cms had fallen in the past 24 hours. And that was at the bottom of the mountain! Our best estimate was a 40cm foot penetration. That's our story and we're sticking to it!

Since this was day 2 of our trip to Valhalla we could skip the beacon training and head out for an exclusive first run. You know, just to test it out for the rest of the group. First turn on the first run and we knew we had struck gold, white gold to be exact.

Turn after turn after turn the light, blower pow was flowing around our bodies. Every run seemed to get better each time we got out of the cat and started skiing. Valhalla is known for having varied terrain and something for everyone. It is also known to push you out of your comfort zone no matter what level of skier you are. This 'hero' snow as it is called gives you the confidence to ski steeper, dig deeper and for those that are into it, go bigger.

And go bigger we did. Our guides this season felt the vibe of the group and took us to some legendary Valhalla Powdercats terrain features. Everything we hit seemed to be perfectly set up for us. And if you didn't want to huck yourself for the camera, you could ski around the features in the sweet pow and watch the action from below.

Runs varied for us both days. We skied long consistent tree runs, open pitches with little tree ski outs, steep chutes, and wide open bowls. Runs with names like Pissy Pants, White Stripes, Berry Pie, Lindsay's Shoulder, and our favourite, Huckleberry Bowl. See, like I said, something for everyone.

Now back to Clarke our cat driver. This guy lives for driving snowcats. His energy and attitude adds so much to the day. He is pumped to pick you up and the bottom and wishes you a wicked ride down at the top. This guy is no slouch when it comes to driving cat either. He knows the roads like he was born there and it is like he is one with the machine. Seriously, I rode up with him once and was amazed at how he handled the snowcat. He was often down at the pick up point before our group was!

And the guides...well, let's just say that these guys know their terrain. That can make or break a day. Josh and Tyler are skiing almost every day so they know where all the best lines are and they love to ski powder. We felt confident in their ability to lead the group safely and were stoked that they showed us all that Valhalla had to offer. For one of the most memorable days on record, Thanks!

Enjoy the pics below from our time at Valhalla and stay tuned for a video edit that we are putting together.

In the meantime, give Valhalla Powdercats a call and book a trip. We have gone 8 years in a row now and have had an unforgettable time every time!

Powder at K3 Catskiing

K3 Catskiing delivers unbelievable and unexpected powder conditions in early January

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“You are so lucky to have this so close to you”

These remarks came from our new friend from Holland at the end of an unexpected powder day at K3 Catskiing. I say unexpected because at the valley bottom it was + 5 Celsius and raining. But up at the K3 staging area it was -4 and snowing...heavily. Our Catskiing.ca headquaters is located in Kelowna BC which is an easy 2 hours drive whereas our new ski friend from Holland has to travel quite a ways and gamble on the conditions in the Alps being worth the trip!

Expectations are very high this year for BC backcoutnry operators after an epic La Nina season in 2011. The weather gurus up and down the west coast of North America are calling for a repeat of last year so all eyes are watching the storm patterns in BC. And K3 has had it's fair share of powder dumps.

Beginning with a huge hit of snow in November, K3 got an early jump on road building and the stoke level was high. Then some high pressure systems killed the snow cycles and all has been a little quite in the catskiing world around the BC interior save for a few northern operations. But at K3, the base has been steadily building each day. As we rode up the access road with David and Rod, operators of K3, they told that small dumps of 10cms at a time have led to a base of over 2 metres with an average of a 30-40cm foot penetration. That means that you could be skiing knee deep powder at any given time in their terrain!

With all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season now behind us, we were pumped to be headed to K3 Catskiing for our first turns of the 2012 season. It was January 3rd as we headed north out of the Okanagan Valley and into the Monashee range where K3 operates as the only day trip operation in the area. This is one of our favourite areas to hang out and search for powder. You see, within the same area you will find not only K3's operation, but Mustang Powder, Chatter Creek, and Revelstoke Mountain Resort. It is a powderhound's playground!

This year we were treated to 7cms of fresh snow first thing in the morning with another 5cms or more falling throughout the day. Combine that with a foot deep powder penetration and needless to say, the group in the cat was all smiles. If you are a returning visitor to this website then you will know we have been to K3 a few times before and we have mentioned the South Park area of their terrain. The South Park is an old burned forest that has a nice pitch and is always full of powder. It also makes for some pretty dramatic photography. This year we pulled out the strobe lights and got some really cool shots that you can see in the gallery below.

We had a few German guests skiing with us so there was certainly a language barrier, but given the look on their faces each run, we knew they were thinking what we were thinking. Also joining us was a young lady who was catskiing for the first time. We love to see this because many people see catskiing as this extreme, cliff dropping, chute skiing dangerous adventure. And it can be that. But more often than not, catskiing is the perfect way to get acquainted with the backcoutry and experience bottomless powder that you would never find at a resort.

K3 Catskiing is in its 5th year of operations and the word is out. They are mostly booked for the season but have a few single days here and there left in their schedule. It is best to give them a call directly to see what you can get. We recommend getting on the waiting list in case there any last minute cancellations. With the snow already in fantastic shape we can only imagine what it will be like up there mid-season.

If you do end up skiing with David, Rod, Kris, Todd and Carl this season, be sure to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and let us know what you think!

Enjoy.

Valhalla Powder Cats Delivers Again

Year after year the early season Catskiing at Valhalla is consistently fantastic

Valhalla Powdercats Snowcat Skiing December 2010

“A warm up run is more of a state of mind”

We got out of the cat at the top of the first ridge of the day when our lead guide Martin tells us that we are going to start the day with a nice warm up run. After a few grumbles from the eager crowd Martin eased our worries of some boring run chewing up our valuable daylight. He put to rest our anxiety with a calm comment: “around here, a warm up run is more of a state of mind.” And he was right.

From that point forward we skied nothing but fresh, untracked Kootenay powder. Being early season, December 28th and 29th to be exact, the snow had not even been seen yet let alone skied. Every run was bottomless and void of tracks. You could tell that even the guides were giddy. First tracks every run must be tough!

We visit Valhalla Powdercats every season right around New Years and it always delivers. In fact, our deepest day on record happened at Valhalla (65cms + another 20cms overnight in case you were wondering!) and this season is off to an amazing start. We were skiing areas that they don't normally get cat roads into until late January. This is thanks in part to La Nina but also to a team of keen road builders. Valhalla has put a great deal of off-season and early-season work into building an efficient road system that results in their guests getting to see more terrain and really experience what the Valhalla area is all about.

One of the things we notice year after year at Valhalla Powdercats is the variety of terrain. Each run feels like it is in a different area. The guides do a fantastic job of motoring their guests to a ridges, bowls, tree runs and talus fields making the experience feel like you are really exploring the area. It is easy to tell that Martin and his team of guides have dedicated themselves to knowing the terrain by heart. John, our tail guide for the trip, is relatively new to Valhalla and is as stoked as the guests to be out there skiing fresh lines. It really adds to the experience when it feels like you are skiing with the guides rather than being led around by them.

Speaking of guides, these guys are top notch. They provide a no-nonsense safety meeting, are constantly analyzing the snow conditions and they also take the time to tell the group what they are up to. You get a sense that you are learning something about reading the terrain you are skiing when you are out with the Valhalla guides. This season they have switched over to the BCA avalanche safety gear which we are big fans of. each guest is set up with a BCA Tracker2 beacon (check out our review here) along with a few guest packs full of BCA probes and shovels. A few guests took the opportunity to rent a BCA Float 30 Pack. If it is avalanche safety that is holding you back from going catskiing, you can feel confident that Valhalla will keep you safe and educated.

So, early season is going off at Valhalla Powdercats. They have consistent snow, loads of terrain open, and a highly qualified crew of guides that know their terrain and love to ski powder. Consider Valhalla for your next (or first!) catskiing trip. We ski with them every early season and are blown away each year we visit. Hey, maybe we will even see you out there!

If you are looking for more than just a day or two, try one of their packages like the Kootenay Sampler or the Big Powder Safari. Let them know the crew from Catskiing.ca sent you their way!

Below is a short video illustrating how awesome the early season conditions are as well as some powder pics to check out while you are avoiding work and day dreaming about skiing...

Wild Powder at Wildhorse Catskiing

Untouched Powder coupled with Kootenay Hospitality

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We were recently out in Ymir BC skiing with Trevor and his crew at Wildhorse Catskiing. They hadn't run a cat since the 18th so there was 10 days of Christmas powder accumulation sitting waiting for us when we arrived. The skies were dark but the snow was light...and deep! Wildhorse Catskiing is definitely a backcountry experience. There isn't a soul around out there.

Then there is the hospitality shown to guests at Wildhorse and the Ymir Palace. It is what you would expect from a small little settlement in the deep, deep Kootenays: everyone is shown a good time and then review the day over a cold pint at the Ymir Hotel.

We also want to give a special thanks to Dave from Ski Logik for letting us test out their handmade skis the Howitzer and the Bomb Squad.

Enjoy the video and pictures below. They will give you a great idea on how the season is shaping up. Oh, and give Trevor a call if you are looking for a good day in the BC Backcountry!