First Track Terrain: A Guide to The Best Cat Skiing

Boarder ready to ride Fernie’s untamed wilderness —  FWA an area covering 5,000 acres that is known for its legendary deep snow dumps

Exhilarating experiences that will often take you outside of your resort’s boundaries, in Canada, you will find some of the best heli-skiing and cat-skiing in the world. Arguably the more affordable of the two, cat skiing will transport you to terrain that would normally only be accessible by air. In between runs, there is the opportunity to enjoy breaks as your vehicle ascends the mountain, and by keeping its track firmly on the ground, the activity is much less dependent on the weather conditions, unlike its heli-ski counterpart.

From first-track terrain to serene backcountry bliss, here we explore four ski resorts where cat skiing adds unparalleled excitement to any ski holiday. Great value, number one on our list is Panorama’s “Monster X,” where a single ride costs only $20 per person.

Panorama Ski Resort

Tucked away in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Panorama Ski Resort offers an unparalleled playground for thrill seekers. With over 2,800 acres of varied terrain and a vertical drop of 4,000 feet, there is something for everyone, from gentle slopes for beginners to exhilarating runs for experts. Another added bonus, Panorama’s prime location along British Columbia’s Powder Highway ensures abundant snowfall, making it a haven for powder enthusiasts seeking untouched slopes.

The pick up for Monster X is at Kinbasket in Taynton Bowl—to reach the pick up point you will have a walk/ski along Outback Ridge for around 20-30 minutes ©Panorama Mountain Resort

Beyond the skiing, the resort provides a seamless blend of adventure and relaxation, with slope-side accommodations, gourmet dining options, and rejuvenating slopeside hot pools (Canada’s largest), but what sets Panorama apart is its renowned cat skiing experience, where powder hounds can indulge in untouched backcountry terrain without breaking the bank.

The “Monster X” is kitted out with comfortable seating for a dozen skiers and a knock-out sound system, with the comfortable snowcat shuttle (rides out on Thursdays to Sundays) giving you access to nine double-black diamond runs. Great value for money; a single ride costs only $20 per person, and you can simply turn up on the day.

Red Mountain Resort

One of Canada’s oldest resorts, Red Mountain’s charming and unpretentious atmosphere creates a welcoming environment for skiers and snowboarders alike. Nestled in the picturesque Kootenay Rockies in BC, its impressive 2,877 acres of skiable terrain caters to all skill levels. But it’s the 2,919-foot vertical drop, and annual snowfall of 750cms, which attracts North America’s hard-core skiers.

With operations usually commening in mid-January, the Mt, Kirkup Cat runs every Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 2pm, conditions permitting​ ©Red Mountain Resort

Off the slopes, apres-ski here is a cherished tradition. Whether you prefer cosying up by the fireplace with a hot drink or mingling with fellow skiers and snowboarders over craft beers, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The base area boasts a variety of dining and lounge options, with live music adding to the ambiance.

For thrilling off-piste skiing and an opportunity to admire the stunning landscapes of British Columbia’s backcountry, hitch a ride from the summit of Grey Mountain in the Trip Wagon, the vehicle taking you to the top of adjacent Mount Kirkup. The roomy snowcat takes 12 guests comfortably and will allow you to enjoy powder shredding with an incredible 2,054-foot vertical drop. As no avalanche gear or guide is required, all you need to do is purchase a ticket on the day, with the snowcat operating on Saturday and Sunday once snow depths allow.

Whistler Ski Resort

Whistler Blackcomb, North America’s largest ski resort, beckons adventurers with its unparalleled combination of vast terrain, breathtaking scenery, world-class amenities, and vibrant après-ski scene. With over 8,000 acres spread across two mountains—interconnected by the famous Peak 2 Peak Gondola—the resort offers endless opportunities for exploration. From perfectly groomed runs to challenging bowls and thrilling alpine terrain, skiers and snowboarders of all levels are within easy reach of their perfect adventure.

Beyond skiing and snowboarding, Whistler’s charming pedestrian village provides a lively atmosphere with an array of restaurants, bars, shops, and entertainment options, making it as vibrant off the slopes as it is on.

For access to first-track terrain, cat skiing is an ideal choice, as the combined tenures of companies operating in Whistler total nearly a million acres. The tours take place at Tricouni Mountain or Cypress Peak, the area traditionally receiving double to triple the snow from any storm cycle than the resort of Whistler Blackcomb, with the snow getting deeper and deeper as the cat climbs and gets closer to the powder runs. A full day of cat skiing includes six to nine runs.

Fernie Ski Resort

Another ski and snowboard mecca with cult status, Fernie is known for its adventurous trails; it also boasts the biggest vertical in the Canadian Rockies. Complete with over 2,500 acres of skiable area and 142 named runs, the resort excels when it comes to the steep and deep terrain, as there are five alpine bowls suitable for experts and intermediates: Sierra, Timber, Currie, Lizard, and Cedar, all filled with diverse ski and riding thrills. Beginners are also surprisingly well catered for, as the Mighty Moose and the Deer chairlift provide access to a large number of green runs.

The Fernie Wilderness Adventures (FWA) cat skiing package includes approximately 8 to 10 runs per day which equates to about 10,000 to 12,000 vertical feet ©Fernie Wilderness Adventures

From the slopes to the historic downtown, expect a serving of authentic Rockies mountain culture, and a combination of great-quality pub food, a real local vibe, and plenty of live entertainment.

If you are looking to escape the ski hills and experience drifting down a Canadian mountain on the down low, try Fernie Wilderness Adventures (FWA). Located south-west of Fernie Alpine Resort in an area covering 5,000 acres, this part of the world is known for its legendary deep snow dumps. Guides will take you over ridges, valleys, and spectacular gladed meadows, with the maximum elevation at over 7,150 feet. Booking for a full day of cat skiing should be made in advance, and a shuttle service is available.

Want to take your ski holiday to the next level? Contact our specialists about booking the ultimate tailor-made trip to Canada on 020 8776 8709 or email us at ski@frontier-travel.co.uk today. ATOL PROTECTED No 5405 ABTA W3207.