Catskiing: What You Need to Bring

Catskiing is a great way to enjoy some winter fun. There is nothing better to enjoy in the winter snow in a private area with a few of your family and friends. Catskiing allows you to do just that since you are able to ride a snowcat machine to a remote area where you can snowboard and ski on fresh snow. This makes for a great vacation for a small group of friends and family, an incredible adventure for a corporate retreat, or a fantastic place to film videos for online content creators. No matter what the reason, it is important that you ensure you take the proper equipment with you for the trip. This article will review a few of the most critical items you need to have for your next catskiing adventure.

Boots – You need to make sure you bring your boots for your snowboard or skis. Not everywhere will provide a rental pair.

Skis – Bring your favorite pair of skis, or be sure they are available for rental where you are going.

Indoor Shoes – Don’t let your excitement for hitting the slopes cause you to forget that you won’t always be outside.

Cellphone – Don’t miss out on the opportunity to use some great apps to help you enjoy your time and stay safe at the same time. Many can track your friends’ location, and others provide you with maps of the area and more. You can also use your phone to record the great times you have.

Drone – Make some incredible videos to share with your friends back home or your online followers.

Appropriate Clothes – Dress for skiing or snowboarding, and make sure to have layered outfits to ensure you stay warm.

Gloves & Eyewear – Bring more than one pair of each to be on the safe side.

Sunscreen – Just because it’s cold does not mean you can ignore proper protection for your skin.

Open Mind & Great Attitude – Be safe, be smart, and remember to relax and have a great time.

Catskiing one of the best ways to enjoy your time with the people you know and care about the most. Pack your most essential items in your carry-on luggage to ensure you have everything you need the most on day one.

Ski News: Grand Targhee Removes Catskiing

Grand Targhee officials have requested the Caribou Targhee National Forest to remove cat skiing in the South Bowl from the resort’s development plan. The plan included constructing new lifts in the South Bowl, mountain-top restaurants, and expanding the resort boundaries. If CTNF implemented the plan, skiing would be relocated to the South facing South Bowl until a second lift is installed on the peaked mountain.

Skiers were not comfortable with the idea, and many of them complained about the development plan. They did not want to stop skiing on Peaked Mountain since they could access it from the saddle between Peaked Mountain and Mary’s Nipple. Also, they would have a hard time skiing in the South Bowl since its terrain is complex. Although Geordie Gillet, Grand Targhee’s general manager, did not think about it that way, he positively took the people’s complaints. As a result of this, he wrote CTNF a letter, requesting it to ensure that the south bowl remains gated. In the letter, Gillett also requested the area to be used for guided tours and skiers not to enter the area without a guide until lifts are installed.

Jay Pence, a ranger from Teton District, said that the CTNF would consider Gillett’s request through the CTNF’s formal process. He further added that the feedback from skiers and the development plan’s nature have made CTNF delay in approving the initial plan. The CTNF is likely to make a final decision on this matter in March 2022.

Together with the S.E Group, Gillett has decided to expand the resort boundaries. For instance, they have decided to expand the South Bowl’s ski terrain and Peaked Mountain into Teton Canyon. Once this expansion is done, 1200 acres will be added to the 2500 acres already in use under a permit from CTNF.

Stay at Wildhorse and Ski at Steamboat—The Ins and Outs of Colorado Skiing

In a previous post, we mentioned and briefly discussed Wildhorse Meadows and the convenience afforded by Homestead. Our favorite, U.S.-based “Wildhorse,” Wildhorse Meadows is currently the only residential resort master-planned community to have its own private gondola connecting residents directly to the Steamboat Ski Area—the perfect combination of optimal convenience and maximum privacy. If you’re lucky enough to snag one of these condos for a weekend of skiing, you’ll have a few decisions to make before the trip: Do I want to rent skis? Should I buy my lift tickets at the window? Are there any other nearby resorts to take advantage of? Vacation planning, especially when it involves skiing, is notoriously tricky. We’re here to make the process easier.


Renting vs. Bringing

Every person heading out on a ski vacation must face this essential question: Should I rent, or should I bring my own? In most cases, the answer will depend on your vacation destination. If you’re flying to Colorado, renting may be the more convenient and affordable option. A rental calculator will provide a price estimate around which you can budget the rest of your trip, allowing you to know exactly how much money you’ll spend for the convenience of not having to bring your own skis. If, however, you’re simply driving a few hours to your nearest resort, bringing your own is the most cost-effective option. Investing in a roof-top ski rack can save money and space. Plus, you’ll have the comfort of skiing in your own equipment.


Strategically Purchasing Your Lift Ticket

There are several ways to save money on lift ticket prices. At Steamboat, for example, you can save up to 15% on lift tickets if you purchase them online at least seven days in advance. Additionally, purchasing a three-day pass is less expensive than purchasing three one-day passes during the week. Keep an eye out for lift ticket specials on Steamboat and other Colorado resort lift tickets as the ski season draws closer.


Should I Spend My Whole Vacation at One Mountain?

The answer to this question is completely up to you and your level of adventurousness. If you’ve rented a condo at Wildhorse, you’ve likely done so for the convenience. If you choose to spend your whole week skiing at Steamboat, we don’t blame you; the combination of convenience and excellent skiing would make anyone ski the same mountain for a few days. If you’re interested in setting out to find a new mountain after a few days, there are several resorts in the area.  Beaver Creek and Breckenridge are just around an hour’s drive away. However, we should note that buying a week-long pass at Steamboat will be less expensive than jumping from mountain to mountain. If budget is your primary concern, staying at Steamboat is the way to go.

A Beginner’s Guide to Cat Skiing

Wildhorse Cat Skiing is one of Canada’s premier cat skiing destinations. But what exactly is it? For Americans and Canadians without backcountry experience, cat skiing might sound like a technique or style of skiing. While you may have deduced what this practice is from our previous post, we want to provide a more comprehensive look at this interesting and resourceful ski method.

Cat skiing began over thirty years ago at Selkirk Wilderness in British Columbia. The founders, Brenda and Alan Drury, figured out that the machines used to groom ski hills—snowcats—would make an excellent tool for increasing backcountry access. Sturdy, built for snow, and perfect for mountain traversing, these machines could access all types of backcountry terrain with a limited network of snow roads. In essence, cat skiing is a form of backcountry skiing wherein skiers and riders utilize a snowcat to access portions of backcountry terrain. They drive up with a guide, spend the day skiing, and drive back in the snowcat.

Since that original epiphany, cat skiing popularity has expanded each year—with the past ten years seeing an especially accelerated growth. Improvements in technology have made it a strong rival of heli-skiing (for our post on the benefits and disadvantages of both backcountry options, see here). Advanced snowcats are better at climbing through tough terrain, allowing backcountry enthusiasts to access steeper grades and exponentially more terrain. Cats can now drive more smoothly and quietly, making for a nice, relaxing drive up to the run.

When embarking on a cat skiing adventure, your group will likely consist of a lead guide, a tailguide, a driver, and around a dozen ski guests. As with all backcountry sport, the weather will determine the type of terrain used each day. Clear days can bring snowcats up into the alpine, whereas snowy or cloudy days will be spent in the trees and glades. A typical run of 2,000 feet of vertical will take about twenty minutes to ascent in a snowcat and a similar amount of time to descend on skis. Some cat skiing operations build in a picnic lunch out on the snow, providing a bit of comfort not usually experienced on backcountry expeditions.

What Makes for the Best Ski Resort Lodging?

We talked in a previous post about the relative appeal and trade-off between cat skiing and heli-skiing. And these two forms of extreme backcountry skiing can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But there’s also the other side of the coin when it comes to the Ski Wildhorse site. We also want to discuss and explore what makes fo the best ski resort lodging experience. Not just at Wildhorse Meadows in Steamboat Springs, but anywhere.


Access to Lifts and Slopes: Even if skiing isn’t the only thing you care about, if it’s even one of the things you care about, then you’ll want to consider how convenient the lodging is to get to the lifts and ski runs. True ski-in/ski-out access is, of course, the gold standard, but there are any number of variations on a theme. Some spots may be just ski-out access as you ski down a slope to get to the main resort lifts but then you need to find a way to get back up the hill to your lodging. Moreover, ski-in/ski-out access may mean that you’re more tethered to a single ski area than you might otherwise prefer. A more central, if remote lodging option, can give you reasonable access and transportation to multiple ski areas without switching your lodging choice mid-trip.


Comfort and Amenities: Après-ski is most often talked about in terms of dining and entertainment. However, in recuperating from your time on the mountain and preparing for the next day, the comfort and amenities of your lodging will play a huge role. It starts with a comfortable bed, reliable heating, insulated walls and guest policies to ensure you have a reasonably good night’s sleep. Other restorative and popular amenities for skiers include a hot tub, easy ski storage, and generally responsive hospitality services.


Private vs. Social Vibes: More than the individual room and amenities, the lodging site will have some type of vibe or character that you should consider. Standalone cabins, for example, offer superior privacy and intimacy for your group and experience. Standard hotel floor plans create more shared amenities and entertainment spaces. These types of ski resorts can deliver a more social vibe in which you’ll have plenty of opportunities to mingle and meet new people during the trip. Likewise, some resorts may skew more toward a family-friendly vibe, while others carve out more spaces and policies that are popular with young singles.



Cat Skiing vs Heli-Skiing: Which Provides the Better Experience?

This is one of the classic debates among serious and affluent backcountry skiers who are looking for the ultimate thrills and weeklong ski vacation that the industry has to offer. While modern-day ski lifts and air-tram technology is impressive on its own, new forms of mountain transportation are delivering higher powder turn and access to more remote mountain slopes and backcountry trails. But which offers the superior experience: snowcats or helicopters?

The snowcat provides a more natural and convenient shelter. You’ll have a built-in place to eat lunch. There’s more of a connection to the mountain and landscape. Snowcat skiing is also considerably more affordable—with sources quoting average prices of $4,000-$7,000 for cat skiing per week and $7,000-$12,000 for heli-skiing. These are for group experiences. Small private parties will pay more.

As such, in terms of overall trip experience and dollar-for-dollar value, most people vote cat skiing. On the other hand, in terms of daily vertical, heli-skiing offers a far superior powder turn for skiers are looking to get in as much top-notch skiing as possible. Even accounting for the extra cost, if the trip is all about the skiing for you, this might make more sense.

In the United States, there’s also a question of availability. Cat skiing is more popular in Canada where there are close to a dozen operators. The number has been growing in recent years but there are only about a handful of commercial cat skiing companies in the U.S. By contrast, there are a dozen U.S. heli-skiing operators in Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. This difference also speaks to a larger cultural difference. Heli-skiing is for the affluent who are willing to put down a pretty penny in return for the exclusivity, powder turns, and sheer thrill that comes with heli-skiing.


Wildhorse Meadows in Steamboat Springs

Our other favorite Wildhorse skiing spot, the Wildhorse Meadows is located at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area and offers one of the best skiing experiences in all of Colorado. Especially over the last decade in which the Wildhorse Gondola has connected the lodge to the larger ski area, this spot has come to define convenience and affordable luxury. It used to be the only residential ski community with its own private gondola, but we’re not sure that’s still true anymore.


Homestead is the newest addition to Wildhorse Meadows with three and four bedroom new construction condominiums that live like single-family homes. Each residence includes access to all of the Wildhorse amenities steps from your front door, including the gondola, Athletic Club, grotto spas, game room, heated outdoor swimming pool, private shuttle and the Ranch House.


Where is Wildhorse Meadows?

1468 Bangtail Way, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487


Wildhorse Cat Skiing

Wildhorse Cat Skiing is located in the center of BC’s powder triangle with amazing road trip opportunities in all directions. Ymir is located 20 minutes south of Nelson, British Columbia on Hwy 6. It’s 10 minutes north of Salmo, which is at the junction of Hwy 3 and Hwy 6.


Multi day packages start with accommodation for the night prior to your first day of skiing. Accommodation options include the Ymir Palace or the Ymir Hotel in Ymir. Find the Ymir Hotel on main street and go one block uphill – you will see the large Wildhorse Catskiing sign. Ymir has a population of around 300 but historically is a turn of the century mining hotel when it boasted a population of around 5,000.


By Airplane:

Closest Canadian Airports – Trail, BC or Castlegar, BC, or Cranbrook, BC

Closest US/International Airport – Spokane, WA.(USA)


By Car:

Spokane, WA 4.5 hours south

Castlegar, BC 1.5 hours north

Vancouver, BC is 8 hours west.

Calgary, AB is 7 hours east.

Revelstoke, BC is 2 hours north.


Nearby Ski Resorts

Whitewater Ski Resort. 20 minutes

Red Mountain Ski Resort. 1 hour

Fernie Snow Valley. 3 hours east

49 North. WA. 1 hour south.

Schweitzer Resort – Sandpoint ID . 1 hours south

Other Attractions:

Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort – 45 minutes east



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