Cat Fever

Jan 1, 2006
Outside Magazine

Tracking Device: It's not how you get to the top, it's the ride down that matters

Retallack Resort and Alpine Adventures
Seth Morrison and fellow freeskier Dan Treadway filmed segments for a Poorboys Productions ski film in Retallack's high-alpine powder bowls last January. With 3,500-foot descents that take you through three different climate zones and more open-bowl skiing than most operators deliver near Nelson, Retallack is for devotees of steep and deep. The lodge, which sleeps 24, is powered strictly by its own hydroelectric plant, so the three-story fireplace comes in handy on cold nights—as do the heavy German chicken-fried steak and green beans, fuel for the next day, when you'll be arcing two-foot-deep turns down 30-degree faces.
»Where: 62 miles northwest of Nelson off Provincial Highway 31A
»Cost: US$443 per person per day, including meals
»SWEETEST STASH: Big Woody, a forest of 100-foot cedars
»Contact: 800-330-1433,

Valhalla Powdercats
Valhalla is one of very few single-day skiing options near Nelson, which makes it perfect for those who want an extra powder shot after skiing the groomers of nearby Red Resort or Whitewater Winter Resort. And with seasoned guides like Chris Moyle, who does harrowing heli-rescues in his spare time, you'll feel right at home among the 50,000 acres of steep fluted stashes, elegant rolling bowls, and hike-up summits.
»Where: Stay at historic Nelson landmark the Hume Hotel (doubles, $75; 250-352-5331, AND meet a shuttle west of town for the 30-minute drive to the snowcat
»Cost: US$333 per person per day (cat skiing only)
»SWEETEST STASH: If you've got a strong stomach and like big drops, Magic Nose is excitingly vertical, with no option but to go big
»Contact: 888-352-7656,