We like cat skiing – not as much as heliskiing – but it’s pretty awesome. We often get asked whether this or that heliski lodge has ‘cat skiing backup’ and if it is somewhere that we offer as a destination, the answer is probably no. There is a good reason why.
Cat skiing backup sounds like a great idea on the label. If the weather is terrible and the helicopters can’t fly, you jump in the snowcat and up you go to the powder. Perfect - never a wasted moment. You will be up skiing whatever the weather. So why doesn’t everyone have one?
The truth is that you don’t invest money in snowcats and the logistics involved to operate them unless you REALLY REALLY need to.
We’ve been involved in the heliski industry for over 20 years now and during that time a clear picture has emerged: the helski operations that invest money and time into snowcats are usually the ones that are located in areas where the weather is terrible and frequently incompatible with flying helicopters.
We’re not saying that it is necessarily bad to have a snowcat but we are saying that choosing where to go heliskiing based on the seemingly good idea of the place having a snowcat, can be a good way to pay heliski prices to go cat skiing…
So our tip is this: If you want to go cat skiing -- great idea, it’s awesome! Go cat skiing, and do it somewhere good like Mustang Powder in Canada. BUT if you want to go heliskiing, go heliskiing and choose somewhere that is reliable enough to not need a snowcat…there are plenty of them.