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  1. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    land of the free
    Posts
    8,220
    Quote Originally Posted by Trackhead View Post
    I
    I was completely obsessed with snowcats and starting a snowcat biz, hence my screen name "trackhead". .
    I did not know that.


    I hope you get to live your dream someday.
    Who knows, maybe there is a trustifarian on the board or a benevolent investor that might just be your backer in a private land lease cat operation.
    If I had real money, I would certainly step forward.
    Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.
    Hunter S. Thompson

  2. #27
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Creekside
    Posts
    1,277
    The BC goverment actively promotes Cat Ski operations with what are really low lease rates on land, and a goverment established limit to the operators liability which reduces the insurance costs significantly, without that I doubt that there would be so many operations around. I don't think there is anything like that in the US, and with a lot more limited area to work in I think you are just risking your $ on something which probably has little chance of making you a decent return for all the work you have to do. Apparently this year, Powder Cowboy, which is Island Lakes second operation is not running as it couldn't get enough visitors last year to stay open. This is an operation that has been around for over 10 years and is owned by one of the biggest names in cat skiing.

    If you really want to do something which might be affordable, start a yurt based, heli/snowmobile/cat accessed back country operation, a lot fewer hoops to jump thru as you don't need a motorized permit for operations, and costs are a lot lower. Isssue here is maintaining exclusive access for your guests, (if you can get there with a cat, so can snowmobilers) and get sufficient supplys in if you are snowmobile accessed.

  3. #28
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Flavor Country
    Posts
    2,567
    Listen to Trackhead. Look for private land that might work or start saving and planning for the approval process before worrying about which cat to buy.
    "They don't think it be like it is, but it do."

  4. #29
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Portland
    Posts
    2,035
    What about something like this? My guess is a bit limited about what they can go up, and the wear and tear might be a bitch, but maybe not?

    Be careful about buying snowboard goggles for skiing. Snowboard goggles come in right eye and left eye (for goofy-footers) dominant models. This can make it hard to see correctly when skiing because you are facing straight down the hill, not sideways.

  5. #30
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    SE Alaska
    Posts
    11,693
    Quote Originally Posted by Crystal_Mt_Dreamin View Post
    What about something like this? My guess is a bit limited about what they can go up, and the wear and tear might be a bitch, but maybe not?


    Poor PSI rating due to small track size relative to vehicle weight. The Mattrax system is upwards of $25,000. Better off buying an LMC 1500.

  6. #31
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Portland
    Posts
    2,035
    Damn, was hoping maybe that driver's side ding would make it the value play
    Be careful about buying snowboard goggles for skiing. Snowboard goggles come in right eye and left eye (for goofy-footers) dominant models. This can make it hard to see correctly when skiing because you are facing straight down the hill, not sideways.

  7. #32
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    112
    Sweet thread - I alway dream of running a cat operations. Not much money it I would guess from what everyone is saying - however there are a lot of outfits. Do they get tax breaks in BC? I would love to see financials for these companies.

    I think there could be some pretty neat ways to set up cat operation for managing costs etc.

    Anyone offloading a cat anytime soon?

  8. #33
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Bellingham, USA
    Posts
    79
    best thread of the year!

  9. #34
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    218
    I know it's an old thread, but it's a good one. Why is there no cat skiing in Europe? Land tenure? Cultural? Lack of consistent snow? Just curious. BC, Alaska etc seem pretty much at capacity and Japan is having a go, but there is little if any traction (sorry) in Europe.

  10. #35
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Mt. Baker
    Posts
    1,378
    How to make a small fortune in the ski industry... Start with a large one.

  11. #36
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    5,275
    In case anyone was wondering I bought the house, but there is an old ski area on Pine Creek pass that seems like it could conceivably work. I still dream about it but trackhead was not wrong, there is a lot that goes into a snow cat and reliability seems questionable at best.
    Live Free or Die

  12. #37
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Bellevue
    Posts
    5,068
    South of Victor? A yurt or route tow round be pretty rad there if cat skiing isn't an option

  13. #38
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    SE Alaska
    Posts
    11,693
    Quote Originally Posted by AdironRider View Post
    In case anyone was wondering I bought the house, but there is an old ski area on Pine Creek pass that seems like it could conceivably work. I still dream about it but trackhead was not wrong, there is a lot that goes into a snow cat and reliability seems questionable at best.
    I still dream about it. This is an old thread, but I bought another snowcat in 2013 for $7,000. Painted it, sold it three weeks later for $15,000. Ha!

    I tried again in 2012 and was very close to having an operation on a HUGE private ranch with unreal terrain in Utah, but again, the deal fell through, probably for the better. Bummer, because the terrain was perfect, as was the access.

    I've also had a tracked Samurai since then, and a tracked ATV. Both fun and affordable. Simple maintenance with cheap parts. Options for snowcat enthusiasts who don't want the expense of a snowcat. Not as cool, but fun toys.

  14. #39
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    OREYGUN!
    Posts
    12,319
    Nice to see you 'round here again Trackhead. Always enjoyed your posts

  15. #40
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    218
    Maybe it’s the time of year, but while I think the market for a new BC/Alaska cat/heli op is pretty saturated, I’d be curious if a low budget “club style” hill might have a shot though. A handful of cheap surface lifts to great terrain, a grill with decent, simple food, and bar and cheap lodging at the bottom. Somewhere for people who want to actually ski for skiing’s sake, in good terrain and deep snow. Avy control is minimal, it’s a ski at your own risk sort of thing (maybe a poorly groomed escape road), but just old time, affordable for a family wanting to ski, skiing. I know some of the hills in NZ are struggling, but with BC’s land tenure and issuance system and proximity of some great terrain to airports, not to mention the US population – you’d think a low budget, steep and cheap sort of place could carve out a place….

  16. #41
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    5,374
    Quote Originally Posted by Trackhead View Post

    I tried again in 2012 and was very close to having an operation on a HUGE private ranch with unreal terrain in Utah, but again, the deal fell through, probably for the better. Bummer, because the terrain was perfect, as was the access.
    Was it on this land? http://www.whisperridgeutah.com/home

    My friends rode with them last year. Cat broke down. Since they were snowboarders, they had a long walk out. The company had no snowmobiles or spare cat to come get them. Hope they get their shit together next year.

    Edit: Looks like they have 6 cats now, dang!!!!!

  17. #42
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    the big dirty
    Posts
    682
    how do they make money giving free rides to washed up pros and bros?

  18. #43
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Paradise
    Posts
    3,760
    It sounds like a sweet business as long as you don't need to make any real money.
    dirtbag, not a dentist

  19. #44
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    218
    There must be a way to make a good living for a few people, no? Thinking about it last night, and it's not that different from what they've done at Shames - just that Shames is so far away from a population centre big enough to support it. Costs would come down even more if you forego grooming and have a 100% off-piste access lift. I'd bet closer to a bigger city (or a major airport), you could get enough traffic to keep it afloat while not getting over crowded (though I'm sure the guys at Shames may disagree with any more people...) Almost a North American La Grave, but perhaps a little more accessible for the good but not extreme skiers.

  20. #45
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    226
    So if interested, KPow (http://www.kpow.ca) is a "temporary" car skiing operation that is being operated by the owners of Fortress Mountain Resort in Kananaskis Country in Alberta, Canada. They are using the old resort as the ski terrain while the get all their permits and rebuild the resort infrastructure. They have been operating for about four or five years. I think prices were in the 350 range for a day. They operate about 4 days a week as they don't have a ton of terrain and that allows for days where the snow can renew. I have booked two sessions for clients but both had to be cancelled due to weather. One buddy books five days a year for his clients and he loves it. Easy access from Calgary, relatively inexpensive and the terrain works for intermediates on up, with zero crowds.

    Details on the website. Might be a model to use. The motivation is to keep heir licenses current while they redevelop the ski area though. I don't think they make much of any money.
    Using Tapatalk

  21. #46
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    SE Alaska
    Posts
    11,693
    Quote Originally Posted by muted View Post
    Was it on this land? http://www.whisperridgeutah.com/home

    My friends rode with them last year. Cat broke down. Since they were snowboarders, they had a long walk out. The company had no snowmobiles or spare cat to come get them. Hope they get their shit together next year.

    Edit: Looks like they have 6 cats now, dang!!!!!
    No, wasn't that land.

  22. #47
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    In the mountains
    Posts
    114
    I'd focus on finding land and getting a permit first... it's not a quick processes and could take several years, particularly if you are looking at USFS lands. Finding cats is going to be the easy part after that.
    "I'm looking pretty good, don't you think?" - the other says "watching you ski is like watching a retarded monkey rollerblade on a gravel road"

    www.majesticheliski.com

  23. #48
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    304

  24. #49
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    218
    I think land in Canada (BC anyway) is much easier to come by. The gov has recognised the economic value of backcountry use and seems to have lots of programs to promote it.

  25. #50
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Vernon BC
    Posts
    1,675
    Quote Originally Posted by knowsam View Post
    I think land in Canada (BC anyway) is much easier to come by. The gov has recognised the economic value of backcountry use and seems to have lots of programs to promote it.
    Much of the land in BC's interior, particularly what would be accessible by cat is already part of other ops recreational land use permits...There are a few big heli ops who control most of the tenure here. BC government awards tenures to companies largely based on how financially viable they will be. So if you are bidding on parcel of land for a recreational permit, and another company can demonstrate that they would be more viable, then you could lose out... there was a recent cat Op locally who paired with a heli op, and are sharing tenure... I believe that was largely motivated by the fact that the larger more established heliops wanted that tenure too, and the smaller op wasn't confident that their model was strong enough independently.

    Crazy to hear about powder cowboy, my impression of the industry locally was that there is such a high demand for the service that , even these half ass ops are doing ok. I have heard rumours that a local, well established cat op is up for sale.... price seemed reasonable, considering what our newest Op is putting out to establish infrastructure (without a client base).
    "Its not the arrow, its the Indian" - M.Pinto

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