Cat Skiing: How We Did It and Why Everyone Else Should
Cat skiing is on every skiers bucket list. More accessible than heli skiing, cat skiing takes you to new terrain that is full of fresh snow. If you’re looking for a new skiing experience, you should definitely be looking up your local cat skiing company.
Jans.com, Arc’Teryx, GORE-TEX, and Park City Powder Cats recently teamed up to bring our fans the Ultimate Powder Day Contest. Two winners were randomly selected from well over a thousand. They won baselayers, Whiteline jackets and pants, Atom LT jackets, and Quintic backpacks on top of a day of cat skiing with Park City Powder Cats. Not bad for no purchase necessary! A few chosen Jans employees and three of our sponsored athletes and myself joined the winners in the cat and set off to check cat skiing off our bucket list. What I learned is that cat skiing gives you a different feel and approach to skiing. You are more exposed, with far less people, but you still have the laughs and fun you normally get while skiing with friends.
Skiing in Park City is an experience in itself. There are three world-class resorts to choose from. If you want, you can go fur coat dodging at Deer Valley, or chat it up with your friends in twenty minute lift lines at Park City Mountain Resort. Or at Canyons you can really get a taste of nature as you ski around 10-20 million dollar second homes. And everyone loves battling for a table in the lodge or bar.
Don’t get me wrong. I ski at PCMR and Snowbird all the time. A lot of times though, I get off the lift and look at the hills that aren’t lift accessible and wish that I could be skiing those right at that moment.
So if you’re looking for something different than the magic of a ski resort, maybe you want a skiing experience that is less tainted by the wonders of modern man, but aren’t up to the task of touring. Look no further than Park City Powder Cats. Nestled into the 40,000 acre Thousand Peaks Ranch, Park City Powder Cats is located a short 35 minute (weather permitting) drive from Park City.
Crawling the hills of the Thousand Peaks Ranch are cat roads that lead to untracked zones littered with fresh snow. And up and up you go to the tops of picturesque mountains with beautiful views. Cat skiing really is like what you imagine it to be; Powder skiing, mellow vibes, and just a ton of fun.
How Cat Skiing Works
You and your posse of self-proclaimed expert skiers arrive at PCPC around 8:30 a.m. They have coffee, bagels, cereal, juice, and fruit out on a table ready for you. You strap on your gear, make small talk with others in the cabin, and let the hype build until about 9:00 a.m. Then a grizzly looking guy gives a quick rundown of how the system works. Basically, nobody messes with the guides, keep your beacon on (provided), and have a good time.
After strapping your skis and poles together and stashing them in the cat you climb in and get comfortable. It’s about 45 minutes until you’re actually out there skiing, so you have a chance to talk with your tail guide and others in the cat.
Usually runs are done one skier at a time, which furthers the feeling of being alone. A lot of avalanche control was done on zones, making the skiing safe. Each run begins with everyone as a group and ends that way. This keeps everyone accounted for and safe. And this is the process all the way to the last ride back to the lodge.
Our crew was employees and athletes of Jans plus the two winners from our Ultimate Powder Day Contest. We had all skied together before, be it testing skis or riding on our days off. And we all had a lot of fun egging each other on. There was energy all day and that made for a really fun trip. If you can book a cat with ten other friends, it will make for one hell of a fun day.
We did about eight runs, stopping only for a delicious soup and sandwich lunch. Riding in the cat up a ridge with sheer drop-offs on either side gives you a buzz and a shiver the first time. But run after run, we were soon used to it. And we finished the day off with a crusty and short pitch and a final shred down the road to the warm cat and cold beers in the lodge.
Arc’Teryx: These guys came through to sponsor our Ultimate Powder Day Contest by outfitting our winners with brand new Arc’Teryx gear. They also sponsor Park City Powder Cats, keeping their guides looking really good. Their product is some of the best outerwear in the industry.
Bob Merril: Thanks for donating the cat, guiding us to some really great terrain, and happy belated birthday.
Shaun Raskin: I’m glad you were able to join us despite the scheduling issues and thanks for being the best tail guide ever.
Our Ultimate Powder Day Contest Winners: Dave and Andy came with a ton of energy and know-how. I’m glad you won!
Joe from GORE-TEX: Joe showed up giddy like a kid on a candy high. However, he showed us what’s what when it comes down to some of the best outerwear fabric on the market.
The whole Jans crew: Everyone was stoked, played smart, and had a ton of fun. That made our cat skiing trip one of the best days I’ve ever had.
– Paul Boyle, Marketing Specialist