Excerpt from an article by Patti Lefkos in North of 50 Magazine, describing her experience with an intermediate group at Big Red Cat:.
The leap from the security of groomed runs to the challenge of backcountry powder can be daunting. Heli skiing seems terrifying and ski touring requires incredible endurance. So what are those of us slightly over 30 and still up for a new adventure to do? Paula and Kieran Gaul of Big Red Cats near Rossland, BC have just the ticket to ride.
I’m precariously perched on a slippery bench inside what seems to be an aluminum box. I jam my knees against the seat ahead to prevent sliding forward as we rattle along in the red piston Bulley cat. We jiggle gently over every rut of the snow-packed corduroy road. Hemlock branches brush the steamy windows.
There are 12 of us; most aged 25 to 35, and two couples in their 60’s and 70’s, from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US. As usual, the majority are men.
“How many times did you fall yesterday?” I ask the 30-something guy sitting behind me. “At least ten,” he says with a laugh. “Most of us tasted snow.” I begin to feel more comfortable. A seasoned resort skier but backcountry neophyte, I am as nervous as I am excited about the day ahead. At 60, I’m afraid to be the only one who falls, worried about being the person who will hold up the hard core powder hounds and terrified of losing control and hitting a tree.
"Kieren packed in his Sydney gig in treasury finance to set up the Big Red Cats Skiing operation in Red Mountain Canada and never looked back. A former member of the Australian Ski Team, Kieren grew up in Canberra before moving to Sydney to pursue a career in finance but his love of snow took over and he and his Canadian wife, Paula, now spend the northern winters guiding clients in the backcountry of British Columbia through 18 500 acres of terrain. The envy of their friends, the Gauls have over 250 runs in deep powder for intermediates to experts in their own backyard."
Click for the full article by Rachael Oakes-Ash in Sydney Morning Herald
Here is the link: http://www.aftenposten.no/reise/article2204251.ece
The above link is to a review in a Norwegian newspaper. Anyone know what it says?
Article by Rachael Oakes-Ash
Cat skiing is oft referred to as the lazy man's way to see the backcountry. These giant groomer style machines with a purpose built cabin to seat up to fourteen people transport skiers and boarders to the backcountry. Most cat ski companies have a set and limited tender of hectares they can utilised for their guests.
Skiers and boarders take on virgin snow with a lead and tail guide for safety while the cat makes it's way back to the bottom to pick them up and take them to the next terrain. When the helicopters don't fly due to weather conditions the cat can still go out and most guarantee around ten runs in a day.
Canada's Powder Mountain and Big Red Cats offer day trips while Selkirk has lodges for overnight stays. South America's Ski Arpa offers steep and deep powder perfection in the Andes.
Read the entire article here: http://blogs.smh.com.au/travel/archives/2008/07/the_worlds_best_off_piste_ski.html
Good fortune begets great skiing
To find great skiing, you can prepare to be in the right place at the right time. Or just get lucky. Last week I asked Loulou Kneubuhler to join me for some "research" on Schweitzer's trees. He freed up Friday.
Last fall Ski Magazine rated Schweitzer among the top three resorts for tree skiing in North America. A day there in the forest was on my list.
Loulou and I carpooled to Schweitzer with my friends, Jim Joy and Dave Watling. We picked a perfect day. A storm that dropped a half-foot-plus was playing out. Attendance was sparse.
Schweitzer is rich with terrain – and trees. Choose a glade from any lift. We didn't ski the same trees twice. People will argue about the top three for trees. But the attention Schweitzer has attracted is understandable.