I could sum up this trip in 5 words: best powder of my life. But I’ll go ahead and elaborate! Powder Mountain Cat Skiing is located a short drive away from Whistler, BC in Canada. It’s an operation in the backcountry that makes it easy, safe, and fun to ski deep, deep powder. Driving up the mountain in a snow cat is like sitting in a gentle roller coaster with all your friends, and it often allows for more runs than heli-skiing (and it’s cheaper!). The guides come very early in the morning to pick you up in vans at a central meeting point in Whistler and take you to the little cabin at the base of their backcountry territory. You can organize a group with all your friends, or you can go with a small group and meet other rad skiers. During the day they pack healthy, hearty food in the cat so that you can eat any time you want in between pow sessions. Your legs will need the break, trust me! By the time 2pm rolled around, I wasn’t even sure how much longer I could ski! But once you hop out of the cat and see the jaw-dropping views, your legs (and your soul) can’t help but jump for joy. At the end of the day you take the cat ride down the mountain, and just when you think you’ve had the best day possible, they hand you a home-brewed ice-cold beer. It really is too good to be true. Looking back on it all feels like a dream. Here is some of my advice about the trip, or tips for your first time cat skiing.
- I love staying at the Aava Whistler Hotel. It is seriously the friendliest hotel I have ever been to! The rooms are really modern and cozy and there’s a great little gym.
- Layer up! It will be super cold in the morning on your way to the mountain, but as soon as you start skiing powder you will want to tear off layers.
- Bring several different lenses for your goggles. The light changes a lot in that area and sometimes you end up skiing in fog. I was changing mine every few runs! I love the Oakley Airbrake goggle because of the easy lens “Switchlock” system.
- Bring a bluetooth speaker for the cat rides! It makes it way more fun! I love the Beats By Dre Beats Pill.
- Bring a GoPro, several mounts, and extra batteries. These might be the best ski photos of your life!
- Wear the fattest skis you own. I was beyond happy skiing my Armada vJJ’s.
- Make sure you brush off your avalanche safety skills before you go! Get out that beacon and practice with it.
- Go celebrate your epic day and join the Apres scene at the Longhorn. Order a drink called the Bullfrog ;) It happened to be New Years Eve when we were there, so we got a special fireworks show!
Above photos by by Mike Crane & Powder Mountain Cat Skiing. Following photos by Christine Donaldson and Abe Kislevitz.