Park City Powder Cats/Other Cat Skiing Outfits

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  1. #1

    Park City Powder Cats/Other Cat Skiing Outfits

    Hi All!

    So, after years of thinking about booking a helicopter or cat skiing trip, and with Warren Miller's famous tagline echoing in my head, I finally decided to spearhead a trip for my 40th birthday in February with a few of my skiing friends.

    We settled on cat skiing over heli skiing. We almost all work desk jobs; some folks I spoke with essentially said the benefit of a helicopter over a cat is that you get more vert with the bird. But the advantage of a cat over a bird is that a cat doesn't get grounded during a dump. So we went with the cat, figuring that whatever the max vert is that a cat can get you to in a day will be plenty for our white collar legs.

    We researched a bunch of outfits and locations with the help of a travel agent I know who happens to be a skiing fanatic (Swiss by birth I believe) and eventually settled on Park City Powder Cats.



    I was wondering if anyone had ever used them (or a similar outfit) before, and, if so, if you had any advice for our group. A few of us have taken cat rides to slack country terrain at Powder Mountain before, but otherwise, no relevant experience for something like this. Everyone is trying to focus hard at the gym to get in shape, and east coast season will start for most of us soon, during which we all have pledged to try to get the legs in a decent spot by February.

    We are staying in Park City and skiing 2 days with the cats and 2 days at PCMR (or whatever it is now called) on the off days. It's about a 40 minute drive from our rental to the cat outfit.

    Mods, if this is posted in the wrong spot, I apologize. I looked around and didn't see a better spot for it. I also ran searches on the subject and didn't find any on-point threads.

    Thanks all!
    2014-15
    Mount Snow: 12/5, 12/6, 12/7, 12/20, 12/21, 1/10, 1/11, 1/24, 1/25, 1/31, 2/1, 2/7, 2/8, 2/21, 2/22, 2/28, 3/1, 3/7, 3/8, 3/15, 3/21, 3/22, 3/28, 3/29.

    Total Days: 24 total (no April days, no vacation...baby #1 on the way in April!)

    "Skiing's the easy part, Karl."

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by jaywbigred View Post
    Hi All!

    So, after years of thinking about booking a helicopter or cat skiing trip, and with Warren Miller's famous tagline echoing in my head, I finally decided to spearhead a trip for my 40th birthday in February with a few of my skiing friends.

    We settled on cat skiing over heli skiing. We almost all work desk jobs; some folks I spoke with essentially said the benefit of a helicopter over a cat is that you get more vert with the bird. But the advantage of a cat over a bird is that a cat doesn't get grounded during a dump. So we went with the cat, figuring that whatever the max vert is that a cat can get you to in a day will be plenty for our white collar legs.

    We researched a bunch of outfits and locations with the help of a travel agent I know who happens to be a skiing fanatic (Swiss by birth I believe) and eventually settled on Park City Powder Cats.

    I was wondering if anyone had ever used them (or a similar outfit) before, and, if so, if you had any advice for our group. A few of us have taken cat rides to slack country terrain at Powder Mountain before, but otherwise, no relevant experience for something like this. Everyone is trying to focus hard at the gym to get in shape, and east coast season will start for most of us soon, during which we all have pledged to try to get the legs in a decent spot by February.

    We are staying in Park City and skiing 2 days with the cats and 2 days at PCMR (or whatever it is now called) on the off days. It's about a 40 minute drive from our rental to the cat outfit.

    Mods, if this is posted in the wrong spot, I apologize. I looked around and didn't see a better spot for it. I also ran searches on the subject and didn't find any on-point threads.

    Thanks all!
    1) Why did you choose this outfit? I assume you want some of the amenities of Park City because of all the cat outfits in the land, this isn't the first I would choose in terms of snow quality or terrain available, nor would I choose Park City as a base if this was the driver. Your travel agent is not the resource I would rely on for this information ultimately.

    2) I would focus more on cardio and prepping for elevation, vs strengthening the legs. You can ski much more in bounds by lunch compared to any cat ski day. Obviously you don't want to roll right off the couch but your lungs are going to hurt long before the quads coming from the EC.

    3) To an extent, helis and cats go down for similar reasons. You aren't going to magically get into steeper, deeper terrain when it snows just because you are riding a cat vs. heli. Avalanches don't give a rip how you got yourself there. Keep this in mind as you set expectations.

    4) You will only ski terrain suitable for the worst skier in your group. If you have one or two guys that are much worse than the rest, it can cause strife. I would try and ensure you are all of similar ability.
    Live Free or Die
    137 days 08-09
    16 days 09-10

  3. #3
    good advice.

    i haven't done cat skiing, but i have done silverton with a heli drop. fully agreed that cardio and elevation prep is everything. hiking at 12k feet will fuck you right up. it got me good, a 9-5 desker who lives 50 feet above sea level. i did a lot of jogging at max incline on the treadmill leading up to it.

    also agreed re: the skill level of the group being super important. i was the slowest hiker but strongest skier in our silverton group - last up, first down.

    and finally, also agreed re: why park city? i'd be shooting for interior BC probably.

    what are your thoughts on the cat skiing at powmow? will be there for a day in feb and i hear mixed reviews as to whether its worth the $20

  4. #4
    Pow Mow - $20 for each run - well - all depends - 1st time I did them we bought 3 - $21 at $7 each.

    Long run outs - If it's at least a foot of new. . . then maybe.

    It's all inside jammed in cat cabin - for $7 they had 3 long ropes with knots - towed maybe 15-24 skiers -


    then the regs (and the lawyers).

    Both tend to ruin it all for a few - ( and coincidently, the latter generally writes the former) -

    If you go and its dumping ( or dumped night before) get there early.

    was there 2 years ago. . . .5 days. . . 70" over 4 of those 5 days. Deep and empty chairs everywhere.

    My apologies to skier/rider attorneys. . . .

  5. #5
    Skied all over the globe, and BY FAR the best ever was Cat Skiing in BC w/ Chatter Creek.

    https://chattercreek.ca/small-group-cat-skiing/

  6. #6
    I'd seriously consider one of the outfits in interior BC. Its more of a hassle to get to, but well worth it imho. There's a reason BC is the cat/heli ski capital of the world and it aint because of all the pretty people and shopping like in Park City.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by AdironRider View Post
    1) Why did you choose this outfit? I assume you want some of the amenities of Park City because of all the cat outfits in the land, this isn't the first I would choose in terms of snow quality or terrain available, nor would I choose Park City as a base if this was the driver. Your travel agent is not the resource I would rely on for this information ultimately.
    Correct, we have some folks bringing their kids, and we wanted to all stay under the same roof, so having the daycare/ski school options of the PC resorts was attractive, as was the housing supply. Also, we have people coming from all over, NYC, Chicago, Florida, etc.. so easy travel access was important. Obviously BC has better terrain, snow, and outfitters, but the access issues just seemed too great. PC Powder Cats has 43,000 acres, which seemed ample, even compared to some BC outfits. I trust the travel agent implicitly, he is a Swiss ski fanatic, skies 70+ days a year, has been a travel agent for 30 years, and has been on "probably 100 heli ski trips and at least 30-40 cat ski trips." He said about PCPC, "Hey, it's not BC, but it is really really fun, especially for your first time." He had us review about 8 outfits, I think 6 were in BC. PCPC has been around a long time and the reviews across the board looked very solid, especially for a cat skiing newb. A good entry level experience into something like this.
    Quote Originally Posted by AdironRider View Post
    2) I would focus more on cardio and prepping for elevation, vs strengthening the legs. You can ski much more in bounds by lunch compared to any cat ski day. Obviously you don't want to roll right off the couch but your lungs are going to hurt long before the quads coming from the EC.
    Interesting. You feel this is true even at Utah elevations? I personally have never had an issue at any elevations including at 14,000 feet at Breck, in the Alps, and of course in Utah and Wyoming (being lower). I am getting old (turning 40, ha!), and not sure about all the other skiers in the group, so I will take this to heart (ha). But I don't believe there will be any/much hiking, so I figured the only real difference from skiing a day at PCMR or whatever would be the depth of snow, i.e. quad burning.
    Quote Originally Posted by AdironRider View Post
    3) To an extent, helis and cats go down for similar reasons. You aren't going to magically get into steeper, deeper terrain when it snows just because you are riding a cat vs. heli. Avalanches don't give a rip how you got yourself there. Keep this in mind as you set expectations.
    Got it, I am pretty aware re avalanche danger, I think that is kind of self evident. I have heard horror stories from people on heli skiing trips who were grounded because of storm visibility issues and I know cat outfits like to advertise not having this issue, which combined with the lower cost and more manageable-on-my-fitness amount of vert made cat skiing seem like the right choice.
    Quote Originally Posted by AdironRider View Post
    4) You will only ski terrain suitable for the worst skier in your group. If you have one or two guys that are much worse than the rest, it can cause strife. I would try and ensure you are all of similar ability.
    Yup, understand that, we had the conversation with a couple folks, but we are only 6-7 skiers in a cat that holds 10, so we are rolling the dice with the 3-4 strangers who will be with us anyway (and they with us, too).

    Thanks for the input everyone!!

    If anyone else has actual experience with PCPC, please chime in!
    2014-15
    Mount Snow: 12/5, 12/6, 12/7, 12/20, 12/21, 1/10, 1/11, 1/24, 1/25, 1/31, 2/1, 2/7, 2/8, 2/21, 2/22, 2/28, 3/1, 3/7, 3/8, 3/15, 3/21, 3/22, 3/28, 3/29.

    Total Days: 24 total (no April days, no vacation...baby #1 on the way in April!)

    "Skiing's the easy part, Karl."

  8. #8
    Hmm, I didn't foresee there being any real hiking with a cat, haven't read anything about that in any review...plus I believe everything is below 11,000 feet here.

    As far as PowMow cat runs, I'd say do one and see if you like it, it's only $10. I didn't love it, I think we did two runs and then went back to the lifts. It was dumping that day and everyone wanted to ride the cats, so it was pretty tracked out quickly. Plus, you have no guide, so you are kind of like..."can we go over there? Is this a good idea? Is there going to be a mandatory air in a minute that I don't see coming?"
    2014-15
    Mount Snow: 12/5, 12/6, 12/7, 12/20, 12/21, 1/10, 1/11, 1/24, 1/25, 1/31, 2/1, 2/7, 2/8, 2/21, 2/22, 2/28, 3/1, 3/7, 3/8, 3/15, 3/21, 3/22, 3/28, 3/29.

    Total Days: 24 total (no April days, no vacation...baby #1 on the way in April!)

    "Skiing's the easy part, Karl."

  9. #9
    Park City Powder Cats looks sick. You're going to have a blast. If you fall in love with cat skiing, the outfits in BC will be waiting for you in the future. I wouldn't be surprised if the snow is actually better in the Uintas than at most of the cat/heli outfits in the Canadian Rockies. Even at the highest elevations, places like Kicking Horse and Revelstoke get considerably less snow than the Wasatch, and I'm pretty sure that the Uintas where PCPC operates gets similar snowfall to Alta/Snowbird.

    Make sure to report back about your experience.

  10. #10
    SIKSKIER's Avatar
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    Have done catskiing 7 different trips in BC.Monashee Powder Adventures first 3 times and Mustang Powder the last 4.In roughly the same area about 50 or so miles west of Revelstoke,this area has the best snowfall in North America.Even in low snow years the lodge had at least 6-7 foot base.Mind you these are both destination lodges like Chatter Creek and they take an hour to get to the lodge by snowcat the night before you ski.3,4,and 5 day trips are what is offered and they are not cheap but the experience is incredible.I highly recommend.One advantage of interior BC is deep snow at relatively low altitudes,7-8000 ft peaks.The amount of terrain they serve is huge so they can almost always find good snow on different aspects.When I first started it was about $275 a day but Its more like $800-1000 high season.
    SIKSKIER

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