Four Reasons to Try Cat Skiing

Serious skiers know what makes for a great run – powdery snow and beautiful terrain. Cat skiing provides just that. Skiers can enjoy the exhilaration of wild, uncharted territory while having the security of a guide and a comfortable vehicle to shelter in. Cat skiing refers to a type of skiing in which participants use a snowcat to reach their trails instead of a traditional ski lift found at most resorts or a helicopter, which is generally used for backcountry skiing.


Here are four reasons we love this option.

  • Spectacular ski experience. Skiers often tire of the highly manipulated slopes of a ski resort, yearning for a backcountry experience. Cat skiing provides the best terrain and views of nature, including acres of undisturbed powder.
  • Ideal for skiers with varying abilities. While cat skiing provides a challenge for experienced skiers, you don’t have to be an Olympic skier to enjoy yourself. Typically, groups are made up of four to 12 skiers, two guides and a driver. The guides check snow conditions daily, assessing risks and mapping trails based on the skiers’ experience levels. Guides also offer a sense of security, empowering skiers with little outback experience to enjoy a wild environment.
  • Customization. Skiers can take an aggressive approach or opt for a leisurely pace by taking a break in the snowcat or in a nearby heated cabin or lodge. Gourmet snacks, drinks and meals are often provided by guides on the snowcat and at nearby lodges.
  • Advantages over heliskiing. Heliskiing is often viewed as the ultimate skiers experience, for good reason. However, cat skiing can offer access to the same terrain at a fraction of the cost. Maintenance and gas are much cheaper for a snowcat. Additionally, helicopters are often grounded in bad weather. This doesn’t happen with snowcats. Skiers won’t have to stress about whether or not they can make it to the top of the mountain. Lastly, for the environmentally conscious, cat skiing uses fewer resources than heliskiing.

Cat skiing is a great experience for skiers wanting a break from the usual ski resort trails because you can experience the beauty of terrain only open to a handful of skiers. Most facilitators require advance reservations for your group, so book well in advance. Packages usually include one to four days of skiing, averaging five to 12 runs a day, with lunch as part of the package. Depending on your tastes and budget, you can opt for anything from a luxury package with five-star accommodations to basic lodging.

Ski areas along the Rocky Mountain Range in Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Canada offer great cat skiing.  There are also cat skiing opportunities in Alaska, Montana, Washington, Oregon and California. If you’re interested in adding this unique backcountry experience, contact a full-service ski vacation planning company like Rocky Mountain Getaways,  located in many of these areas.