SNOW GHOSTS; wildfire-cut tree runs; cold, crisp air; deep snow; pillows, chutes, cliffs; over 18,000 acres of terrain; backcountry yurt rentals; and… a pet bobcat. You’ll discover all of that with Great Northern Powder Guides (GNPG), located in Montana’s remote Stillwater State Forest.
After a professional ski racing and ski jumping career, Jay Sandelin opened up GNPG north of Whitefish with the goal of exposing guests to the life-changing backcountry skiing opportunities in the area. Now, each year, multitudes of avid skiers express heartfelt thanks to him for having done so.
“People are blown away by the vastness and variety of our terrain,” Sandelin says. “We are a family-run cat-skiing business and we love sharing our passion with guests from all over the world.”
Those who visit have a couple of packages to choose from: The Powder Cat option includes an entire day in the cat, with 10 to 12,000 feet of vertical for up to 14 total guests and a warm lunch in a toasty yurt, 25 miles into the backcountry. If you wrangle up 13 of your closest friends you can go private, have the cat to yourselves and attain the same amount of vert with group pricing ranging from $3,400 to $3,700, depending on dates. And finally, the Steep and Deep option allows a group of 10 to commandeer a cat that prioritizes quick laps, skiing 12 to 14,000 feet of vertical, hitting gnarly zones and exploring GNPG’s newest terrain. For this latter option you’ll even do lunch on the fly so you don’t have to stop skiing. And you won’t want to.
“We have an amazing mix of steeps, pillows, chutes, bowls, trees and drops. You name it, we’ll find it for you,” Sandelin explains.
Whether you’re passing through northwest Montana or looking for an affordable, deep wilderness cat-skiing experience, checking out the goods at Great Northern Powder Guides can only serve to maximize your fun levels. When you do roll through, be sure to give a big hello to Sway for us—that’s Sandelin and his wife Ky’s very unique house pet that also serves as the operation’s mascot. She’s a real-life bobcat and you’ll find her managing the office. It’s all hands on deck at GNPG.