What is Cat Skiing?
After arriving at the Smithers airport off a direct flight from Vancouver, I’m ushered to a nearby helicopter and whisked from a lakeside tarmac westward towards the Skeena Mountains.
Below me, I watch rivers wiggle through a diverse landscape as frosty wetlands turn to evergreen forest. The mountains are shrouded in fog and clouds, hinting at the snow that hides within. The pilot deftly winds his way through gentle valleys to find his way up. As the clouds become thick and snow begins to fly, I turn and smile at my friend beside me. We are going cat skiing. It doesn’t get much better.
Cat skiing is powered by big, strong, tractor-like machines called cats, with heated cabins fitted on their backs to carry skiers and snowboarders to powdery peaks. Think of it like a chunky shuttle bus capable of fulfilling your deepest powder-filled ski dreams.
Compared to more known heli-skiing experiences, cat skiing tends to be slower and a bit more relaxed and social. Guests can converse openly in the cabin, crank the tunes, shed layers of outerwear freely and snack away while being shuttled to the next drop off point. The ability to access day packs while inside the heated cabin can be a major plus for many. It’s also considerably more affordable.
Sure, you may not get back to the top as quickly as in a helicopter, but this more relaxed pace allows for more connection with the land, as well as family and friends or the new ski pals you’ll bond with over this intimate experience in the mountains.FAQs - Skeena Cat Skiing