Where to get your cat skiing on this winter

Cat skiing is the some of the most fun you can have in the snow without getting in a helicopter. For those who are uninitiated to the sport, it involves piling onto a snow cat and riding snow roads in order to access incredible terrain and great powder stashes. If you’re skiing anywhere this winter, it’s worth checking out some of the below spots to incorporate some cat skiing goodness into your trip.

USA

Who’s ready for cat skiing paradise? You’ll find it, quite literally, at Whisper Ridge in Paradise, Utah. With 500 inches of annual snowfall, they have eight custom-built cats servicing over 60,000 acres of private terrain at their disposal, meaning you can expect untouched lines all day. When you’re done skiing or boarding, you’ll head to their mountain-top yurt village, which including sleeping yurts, dining yurts and even a recreation yurt.

Steamboat Powder Cats is a great day trip option for those looking at visiting Utah this season – a typical cat skiing day with them will involve between eight and 16 runs across Buffalo Pass, 25 minutes from downtown Steamboat Springs. They even offer up powder skiing by the full moon during January and February, a seriously unique experience that includes a three-course dinner and would impress your most snow-obsessed loved ones.

Speaking of Utah, Powder Mountain also offers a cat skiing day trip out of their Mountain Adventure Center – with over 3000 acres of terrain covering everything from bowls to glades and tight groves, you’ll have an incredible day away from the lift lines.

Aspen have a fun day cat skiing adventure including lunch in a backcountry cabin. Grand Targhee serves up cat skiing off the back of their resort and Keystone also have a fun day cat skiing experience.

JAPAN

Japan has some really cool catskiing opportunities available for those who want to explore the famous powder stashes without the lift lines. If you’re in Niseko, check out Niseko Photography and Guiding for a day trip – they operate out of Hirafu and include a professional photographer with each tour, along with a fully-qualified guide. This is true backcountry goodness – no day lodges or mulled wine in sight – but that also means you’ll get the best powder on offer.

Niseko Photography & Guiding

If you’re looking for a longer trip, try Shimamaki Snowcats, who offer two or four-day tours in the Karibayama mountain range. By night, you’ll stay in traditional Japanese lodging with bamboo mats and futon cushions, eating local seafood dishes and visiting the onsens; by day, you’ll ski untouched powder on a base of snow that can be up to 5 metres by mid February.

CANADA

Some of the best cat skiing can be found in British Columbia, Canada. Check out Chatter Creek Cat Skiing in the Rocky Mountains for one of the largest operations in the world – they have 235 square kilometres to explore and their snowcat road network is over 200km long.  Choose from two, three or four-day tours and enjoy some of the lightest powder there is to find out there, with only 35 other guests out there with you.

If you’re skiing in Revelstoke this season, check out Monashee Powder Snowcats. Located about 30km from Revy, they have access to 17,000 acres of terrain and guaranteed fresh tracks every day.

There’s also Island Lake Lodge in Fernie. This hugely popular lodge books up quickly, and for good reason – their luxury catskiing operation offers access to 7000 acres of backcountry terrain, incredible snow (how does 12 metres of snowfall per season sound?) and beautiful accommodation with five-star meals.

The lodge at Island Lake Cat Skiing

Want to try cat skiing, but don’t have a lot of cash? Red Mountain offers up cat skiing for just $10 per ride. Their snowcat will take you to a section of the mountain that’s not accessible by chairlift and offers up fresh powder in open runs as well as tree skiing. No reservations are needed for this experience – just ride up to the meeting point and buy a ticket from the cat attendant. It’s the perfect way to incorporate some cat skiing into a regular ski holiday.

But while you’re skiing at Red you might consider a full day with Big Red Cats, an Aussie owned and operated operation with cat skiing for intermediate to advanced to expert.

Have you been cat skiing? Or are you planning on going this season?

Natalia is an Australian writer, content creator and communications specialist who's spent the last few years in Canada and Japan. Equally obsessed with the sea and the snow, you can usually find her dreaming - and writing - about one of the two.

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