Why stick to the beaten path when you can embrace the American spirit and find your own trail down the mountain with the help of a souped up snow cat? Climb aboard the beast and set forth at one of these four cat skiing hot spots in North America.
The Best Cat Skiing Destinations in North America: Powder Mountain
BEST FOR: CONVENIENCE
Just an hour north of Salt Lake City, Powder Mountain’s Snowcat Powder Safari picks up guests near the main lodge in one of two 10-person cats. With access to 3,000 acres of backcountry terrain and an average annual snowfall of 500 inches, knee-deep powder turns are a guarantee. After nine to 15 runs, head back to Salt Lake or book a condo at Wolf Lodge (from $110). $425; includes bag lunch and avalanche safety gear.
The Best Cat Skiing Destinations in North America: Baldface Lodge
BEST FOR: ADRENALINE
Baldface’s 50-degree pitches and 3,000-vertical-foot runs make it a prime destination both for Teton Gravity Research filmmakers and for experts seeking virgin terrain. Of course, skiing 20,000 feet a day means you better listen up when the company recommends you get in shape before you arrive. But if you’re a fit thrill seeker, the payoff is huge. With access to 32,000 acres of terrain, guests are consistently bagging—and sometimes naming—first descents. After skiing, watch a 20-minute action film starring you and refuel on corn-bread-stuffed pork. Three-day trips from $2,549; includes lodging, meals, and avalanche safety equipment.
The Best Cat Skiing Destinations in North America: Aspen Powder Tours
BEST FOR: FAMILY
Aspen Mountain Powder Tours allows intermediate skiers of all ages to pack in 10 to 12 runs down the mellow, 1,000-vertical-foot open bowls behind Aspen’s Ajax Mountain. Led by certified ski instructors, groups meet at 8:15 a.m. and ski until 3:30 p.m., with a break for a family-style lunch of, say, leg of lamb or enchiladas served inside a cozy woodstove-heated cabin. After skiing, bunk at the Limelight (doubles from $450), which has family movie nights and a fire pit for s’mores. $419 per person; includes lunch and avalanche safety equipment.
The Best Cat Skiing Destinations in North America: Lake Island Cat Skiing
BEST FOR: LUXURY
With 2,600-vertical-foot runs and an annual 470 inches of snow, it’s hard to believe the skiing isn’t the best part about Island Lake. Located nine miles from Fernie, the facilities include a full spa with massage therapists, bedrooms with soaker tubs, and a bar that serves local beers like Ol’ Willy Wit, a Belgian white ale. You can’t beat elk osso bucco with truffle polenta in the Ancient Timbers dining room while you gaze up at the lines you skied on the Lizard Range’s 7,000 acres of terrain. From $730 per day; includes lodging, meals, avalanche safety equipment, and gear rental.