Photos: Paul Morrison
|Terrain Accessed||15,000 acres|
|Annual Snowfall||384 inches|
|Lodging on Site||Yes|
|Single Heli Drops||N/A|
|Maximum Vertical||3,000 vertical feet|
|Closest Airport||YVR, 3 hours|
Reg and Kathy Milne, owners of Pemberton, British Columbia-based Backcountry Snowcats, know that they have something many ski destinations don’t:
“Location, location, location,” boasts the jolly Canadian. “We’re three hours from Vancouver International Airport and only half an hour north of Whistler Blackcomb. As soon as you pass Whistler, the mountains just get bigger and snowier and that’s why we’re right here.”
Milne isn’t kidding; the operation accesses 15,000 skiable acres blessed with an average of 32 feet of snow every winter. One humble snow cat services this expanse and it will take you everywhere your heart desires—from huge snowfields to steep bowls, courtesy of legendary driver Andrew Walsh. An avid backcountry skier himself, he’s lived in the area for 30-plus years and used to groom for Whistler Blackcomb before turning the page. Alongside Walsh, an experienced and friendly group of guides will show you the time of your life while keeping you as safe as possible from day one to day done.
If thoughts crossed your mind regarding “one cat not being enough,” go ahead and nix that. Backcountry Snowcats’ lodge—accessed via a 30-mile snowmobile ride into the mountains that gains 5,000 vertical feet—only hosts 12 guests at a time. This means that you have an overwhelming amount of skiing at your disposal and the Backcountry Snowcats team will do their darndest to make sure you slay as much of it as possible.
Hanging at the lodge is all part of the fun, too; it offers a hot tub, satellite TV and private cook. Reg and his wife Kathy share a family-style dinner with their guests every night, making the all-around experience as comfortable as possible.
These people pride themselves on making you feel at home, even if you’re nowhere near it. They have a variety of terrain to cater to many skill levels, multiple options to match your budget and the know-how to help you plan your dream snow cat trip, from start to finish.