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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    199

    best catskiing operation in BC?

    i have a week sans wife and child before xmas and i'm thinking of going catskiing. never been. i'm a pretty good snowboarder, been doing it a lot longer than i haven't. looking for steep terrain and guides willing to take me there. i'll be solo and don't want to be in a cat with beginners, so i'm looking for places that cater to experts. from what i've read so far, mustang powder and chatter creek fit the bill. budget will be around $2500, so prob only 3 days max. where should i go?

    i normally blow that kind of money on a week at a touring operation. should i just do that instead? or is catskiing everything it's hyped up to be?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Vernon BC
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    1,561
    The better way to frame your question would be " the best cat ski operation that has availability" , as the best are usually pre-booked for the next year, prior to the current season ending.

    Going solo is always a gamble, as the group could be anywhere from ultra rad to ultra fucked... and a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If you tour self guided extensively, you may be in for a disappointment in relation to the radness of the terrain you will be able to access. But the food and ambiance and the fact the that you don't have shelp for your pow turns is what you are really paying for.

    Mustang, K3 and Monashee Powder all have great terrain. But I dont know much about how they operate as I am usually just enjoying the crown land as a non paying citizen (rather than a guest).
    Now, I could tell you who I think the worst cat ski op in BC is (based mostly on terrain)... but that kind of slander doesn't win any friends in the b/c and I need all the karma out there I can get.

    where abouts are you located? / Where do you usually tour?
    "Its not the arrow, its the Indian" - M.Pinto

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Banff
    Posts
    19,694
    and location: where are you driving from, or flying into? (reve and some other small BC places are hard to get into with even a bit of bad weather)

    If you have a bit more cash, a 2-3 day here (and ski shames) is a great options
    https://www.neheliskiing.com/
    you can fly into terrarce with bad weather (bigger airport)
    easy flights from calgary and vancouver,
    lodge is 10 min away from airport.
    cat skiing backup if weather is crap.
    I think they have some cheaper packages over your time frame? email and ask.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    199
    i wanted to hear what the best operations are, then worry about availability. but yeah, looks like a couple places mentioned don't have availability in my timeframe.

    i'm in vancouver, toured the south coast extensively, done a bunch of hut trips in the selkirks (icefall, snowfall, GAH, fairy meadows). would be driving from van to the interior.

    going to terrace and heli-skiing not in budget or timeframe

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Vernon BC
    Posts
    1,561
    Quote Originally Posted by raypruit View Post
    i wanted to hear what the best operations are, then worry about availability.
    well then... good luck with that.
    "Its not the arrow, its the Indian" - M.Pinto

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    northern BC
    Posts
    16,308
    Skeena catski is 45min down the road to the Suskwa drainage ... pretty much a no brainer

    i'm thinking before x-mas she'll be low tide eh ?

    the guide and tailgunner were both snow boarders

    last time I went we packed the cat with 12 locals for a pretty fun time
    Last edited by XXX-er; 11-25-2018 at 07:30 PM.
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    80
    I can't say what is the best as I have never actually successfully ridden any of them but I was planning a BC Cat Lodge trip for Jan/Feb 2019 for my 40th birthday for a group of 4. From my research I narrowed it down to Retallack, Chatter Creek, and Mustang Powder Cat. I tried to start booking Sep 2017 for a Jan/Feb 2019 trip and was unsuccessfully in all 3 places.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Spokane/Schweitzer
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    4,864
    Good luck getting into any of these but, I would rank these three: Retallack, Mustang, Chatter Creek. As a snowboarder, you might look at Bald Face, too as they tend to cater to snowboarding a bit more but the terrain at the three I ranked is better. All are good with boarders so it's really not an issue.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Vernon BC
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    1,561
    Quote Originally Posted by XXX-er View Post
    Skeena catski.....i'm thinking before x-mas she'll be low tide eh ?
    I don't think they start regular operations until January. tide is that low.
    "Its not the arrow, its the Indian" - M.Pinto

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    vernon
    Posts
    2,237
    Monashee pow off to a good start! https://www.instagram.com/p/BqjFu0hn...=1nnfx2iwxg7gt

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Vernon BC
    Posts
    1,561
    I even check the place I consider to be one of the worst, and they are booked solid.

    Demand > Supply
    "Its not the arrow, its the Indian" - M.Pinto

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    433
    Quote Originally Posted by cmcrawfo View Post
    I even check the place I consider to be one of the worst, and they are booked solid.

    Demand > Supply
    At least give us a clue: Has your least favorite place been mentioned in this thread?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    199
    hmm, of the options mentioned here only retallack and monashee have availability when i can go. monashee doesn't have any maps or give any terrain specifics, which makes me nervous. i'm starting to lean towards a week long touring hut trip. costs about the same as a 3 day cat trip and looks like terrain is better touring.

    keep the suggestions coming though... i haven't given up yet

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    150
    dec 21, RK Heli-ski opens.

    That work?


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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    433
    Caveat: I've only been cat skiing once - last Spring at Baldface - but I had an awesome time. I know their terrain isn't considered as steep/crazy/gnar as some of the other lodges but it was arguably the three most fun days I've had in my life on snow. The whole experience was awesome: getting picked up on a heli, taken to a lodge in the middle of nowhere, good food/drinks, nice rooms, super friendly staff and the skiing (of course). It prob. helped that it was dumping last March/April up there.

    Baldface was built/founded by snowboarders. I was one of two skiers (me and a guide) in the whole place but everyone was super cool. I've honestly never hung out with that many snowboarders before but the group I was with were a ton of fun and all pretty good. Not a dentist / intermediate in the bunch. We didn't do anything scary (a ton of tree runs, some bowls, a few pillow lines) but it never felt like pow farming, either... the guides were letting us rip as we saw fit.

    It looks like they have some openings in Dec. Might be a good option if you don't need to shit your pants on every run.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Spokane/Schweitzer
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    4,864
    Quote Originally Posted by raypruit View Post
    hmm, of the options mentioned here only retallack and monashee have availability when i can go. monashee doesn't have any maps or give any terrain specifics, which makes me nervous. i'm starting to lean towards a week long touring hut trip. costs about the same as a 3 day cat trip and looks like terrain is better touring.

    keep the suggestions coming though... i haven't given up yet
    I haven't skied Monashee but friends have. Similar to Mustang so not a bad bet. Don't wait too long or you will be hiking, for sure. I recommend going if you've never been. Great times. Again, Rettalack is solid so also a good call.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Montucky
    Posts
    929
    Monashee Powder has a beautiful lodge, excellent food, quaint bar, and very cool staff. Outdoor hot tubs too.

    Originally, it was part of the Mustang Operation (if Im not mistaken) but new owners took it over many years ago.

    Did my CAA avvy course there a few years ago. I saw beautiful tree skiing there, big pillow lines, and higher alpine stuff.

    Look up Colleen Genteman and Laundromat Studios. Shes the staff videographer and would have specific terrain shots.

    Id go back if given the chance.



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  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    back40
    Posts
    467
    Call Eagle Pass and find out if they have space for a single day, or two if the numbers work. Then tour Rogers Pass for a couple days. Small bird operation so your chances of getting a fucked crew is less. Less links in the chain to fail. Best of both worlds!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    vernon
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    2,237
    Quote Originally Posted by mooseknuckles View Post
    Call Eagle Pass and find out if they have space for a single day, or two if the numbers work. Then tour Rogers Pass for a couple days. Small bird operation so your chances of getting a fucked crew is less. Less links in the chain to fail. Best of both worlds!
    Mona pow has a great mix of terrain. Incredible tree skiing and a good amount of alpine. I actaully like early season there as there is a ton of stuff to jump off of. Pics all from this past weekend. They are off to a good start with excellent coverage compared to other areas in bc right now.Click image for larger version. 

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  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Before
    Posts
    18,842
    We liked the terrain at both Retallack and Monashee Powder Adventures, the latter when it was run by Nick and Ali who sold that operation to start Mustang.
    Each has great terrain with Retallack having more of a posh lodge experience which seemed to draw the less hardcore.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    vernon
    Posts
    2,237
    ^^^ not sure why that quoted anove post . Reply was to o.p.

    Its always risky cat skiing if you dont know the group. Mona pow gets a lot of return groups so they should be able to indicate level of riders. I have been before on a free trip and the group was ok except for 2 fancy pants from n.y. who made it hell on guides and other riders.

    They are also opening new zones for the year in December so good chance of fresh

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  22. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    664
    Mustang was great, I went early season and it was pretty low tide. Terrain was awesome but there just wasn't enough snow to hit any of the really big lines. Guides were great and actually told two Texan's to spend the afternoon in the cat because they couldn't up.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    40
    I've only been to Mustang as friend who has been many other places cat and heli-skiing says it's the best. I sat out 2017 as I already had trip planned to Whistler and connecting my Mustang dates to Whistler trip would have had me away from home for too long. When the economy is good, most people renew their spots a year in advance which leaves few openings. Good thing our $ is strong as I'm not sure I'd want to pay if our $ was on par with Canadian $.

    The owners of Mustang used to operate Monashee, but moved their operation and built new lodge at Mustang when tenure became available due to more and more variety of terrain. We've had snowboarders (including two surgeons from Toronto) in our cats. They do some wallowing, but generally keep up. While Mustang is booked in 2nd half of December (other than over Christmas and New Year's), you may want to contact them and get on their contact list in case their are cancellations. There are deals if you can go 1st half of December and you won't have to pay $100 extra each way for 8 min heli transfer vs. nearly 2 hr. bus and snowcat. I'm OK with heli on the way our as it can get you on the road well before dark, but find the bus/snowcat ride in part of the charm. Another option already mentioned is K3 in the same area and they have both day and lodge trips.

    2018 Some great deep, dry powder and some difficult windcrust http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boa...hp?f=3&t=12606
    Click image for larger version. 

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    2016 An average year = great skiing http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boa...hp?f=3&t=12065
    2015 Difficult snow year, even in BC but we had some good snow in Alpine http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boa...hp?f=3&t=11729
    Last edited by tseeb; 11-26-2018 at 10:33 AM. Reason: Added a picture

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    northern BC
    Posts
    16,308
    Quote Originally Posted by el hefe View Post
    Its always risky cat skiing if you dont know the group.
    you want a whole cat full of rad dudes, so when the op is > an hr away one can fill a cat completely with local rad dudes and dudettes

    so this guy won the radest dude contest, he was laying down the figure 11's ... no waiting that day
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    none
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    6,012
    Quote Originally Posted by XXX-er View Post
    so this guy won the radest dude contest, he was laying down the figure 11's ... no waiting that day
    On AT bindings?

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