Unearned Turns

Dec 4, 2008
Outside Magazine
Cat skiing

Cat skiing    Photo: Nathan Borchelt

By Cat

Island Lake Lodge, Fernie, British Columbia Cat skiing's main advantage—a truck-size snowcat that shuttles you to powder without the military-style stress of heli-skiing—is too often undone by the uptight skiers sharing the ride. Not so at Island Lake Lodge, where clients charter the entire 12-person cat. But what makes this the world's preeminent cat-ski operation is the terrain—7,000 acres of it, including old-growth glades and wide-open alpine expanses. $700 per person; islandlakeresorts.com

Park City Powder Cats, Oakley, Utah Although only a short drive from Park City, the Uinta Mountains feel remote. This is also one of the few east-west ranges in the country, meaning the north-facing slopes keep the 400 inches of powder that fall here flash-frozen fresh. Offering day trips for as little as $450, Powder Cats won't take you anywhere hairball, but they will find deep powder stashed in aspen glades on their 40,000-acre private tenure. pccats.com

Chatter Creek, British Columbia Chatter Creek, 60 miles northwest of Golden, represents the next generation of cat skiing, with its relaxed approach to the experience: Expect to ski steep terrain without a guide yelling at you to tighten up your tracks. Afterwards, you'll grab a Kokanee and shoot eight-ball in the lodge, which has a logger-skier vibe. But this place is all about the skiing: The cats haul you up to 10,000-foot ridgelines, and from there you have 92 square miles of open terrain beneath you. $465; chattercreek.ca