A Hucking Good Time at FWA Catskiing

Revision Skis hits the early January storm cycle just right.

Planning a catskiing trip is exciting but it can be stressful. You will find yourself watching the weather channel and becoming an amatuer - I mean professional - weather forecaster. It is always troubling when a warm trend is coming as fast as your trip date. These guys from Revision Skis were in this exact situation last Spring. It looks like Mother Nature pulled a switcharoo on them and the trip turned out epic.

Enjoy the video from Revision Skis and FWA Catskiing.

Early Season Adventure at White Grizzly Catskiing

Skiing the deep, deep in the BC Interior

Early Season Adventure at White Grizzly Catskiing

It was November and anticipation for the season to come was high. We were busy doing the early season rituals; reading all the ski mags, watching videos from the previous season, going to the ski movie premiers and planning out our first trip of the season. This particular season it was to be White Grizzly Catskiing. No one in our group had been to White Grizzly before but we had been wanting to check it out for some time. Rumors of long tree runs and steep powder had piqued our interest years before. Also the allure of an operation that runs only one cat and, for some reason, stays out of the lime light. We had to make the trek and check the place out.

We had made arrangements with Brad, one of the owners of White Grizzly, sometime in late November. As far as we were concerned, that phone conformation was the beginning of ski season. The trouble was that we lived in the low lands of BC and over the years it has become quite brown and dry through November. This is not a good thing for the psyche of a skier. As out mid-December tour date drew closer the weather systems had not fully engulfed the BC Interior yet. Some storms had hammered the coastal range but powered out by the time they reached mid-province. Brad, being the powderhound that he is, recommended that we wait a week and come out during the upcoming storm cycle. We were a little bummed but appreciated Brad's honesty...and foresight. He also said that there would be room for two more skiers if we had anyone in mind. We have a list.

Two of our great ski buddies from opposite ends of the province dropped everything and joined us at White Grizzly. One, from just south of us in Idaho, did some creative scheduling with his boss (a natural skill of any powder obsessed skier). As for the other, I am sure he has his vehicle packed at all times waiting for our call. We all met in Kalso BC just south of White Grizzly's lodge and headed up for our first turns of the season.

Upon arriving at White Grizzly, you feel like you have just pulled into a long time friend's driveway. We parked the truck and headed into the inviting timbre framed lodge. Lodge is probably the wrong word. It is more like someone's house that has been designed with catskiing in mind. Carole, Brad's wife and business partner greets us and shows us the lay of the land. They have the program dialed right from the first minute of your arrival. Each person gets a place to hang their gear and warm up their boots. Carole gave us the run down of events and then we were invited in for some beverages and appys. We gathered in the living room area after our tour of the lodge and started to get to know the other guests. Many of them had skied the day previous so the conversation mostly consisted of them smiling like mischievous school children with a secret and us begging them for details. We would find out soon enough what early season at White Grizzly Catskiing was all about.

After a delicious home cooked meal we were able to relax and unwind. The hot tub was all warmed up and the beer was all cooled off so we took the conversation outside. Once we solved the world's problems we nestled down in the comfy rooms and tried to sleep in anticipation for the next day. We were up early with a friendly wake up call from Carole and another fantastic meal to get our day started off right. The food spread was out to construct our lunches and we were off.

Down the road we went to find the rumbling snowcats warming up for us. It is funny how fast a group of skiers can move when loading a cat. It had snowed some more overnight and the stoke was high. The temps were a cool -14 so that meant light BC powder waited for us up top.

We skied run after run of fresh, light untracked powder with Brad as our guide. His passion for powder and leading backcountry groups is really evident when you are out skiing with him. He truly loves it. You can tell he gets joy out of showing people the terrain him and his team have spent years developing. It adds to the experience of White Grizzly for sure. Brad took us to some fun spots where were able to find interesting lines and cool features. Much of the glading at White Grizzly is natural with a little help from chainsaws in the off season. Eventhough it was early season, there was quite a lot of snow up there. We could ski pretty much anything we wanted. Usually operations have areas closed because snowpack hasn't built up yet or roads haven't been built. Also, the fact that White Grizzly only runs one group of 12 skiers at a time means that Brad doesn't need to farm snow. By the time all the runs are cut up with tracks, the next storm cycle has blown through and reset the place.

On day two we found more fresh and more steep. White Grizzly consists of mostly tree skiing and consistent fall lines. You should definitely be in shape to ski there and have a love for tree skiing. For me, tree skiing is where it is at. Growing up in BC, that is what we have here. Sure there is alpine skiing, but there is nothing like blasting through deep powder between massive old growth trees. Brad took us to a little spot hidden in the trees called Pride Rock. I am not sure how high it is but it was a good hit. Of course, once one guy went all of us had to hit it!

Back at the lodge that night we shared more stories from the day and really got to know the people we skied with. What we found interesting was that the rest of the group had been coming to White Grizzly annually for the past 15 to 18 years. We had no idea! These people consider Brad and Carole part of their extended families. It was quite a cool experience to hear these people reminisce. It was like they had some sort of ownership in the place, that part of it was theirs. I suppose in a way it is. This is their spot. The place they save up all season to go visit. The retreat they dream about while working long weeks. The great thing is, Brad and Carol realize this and do their very best to make the experience a memorable one for all of their guests.

So if you are looking for a down home feeling place where the owners are just as excited as you are and want to ski some light steep BC powder then White Grizzly just may be the place for you. Don't be afraid to book an early season date either. You will benefit from some early season rates and still get some incredible skiing in.

White Grizzly is located in the interior of BC at the top end of what is now known as the Powder Highway. They get a crazy amount of snow each year and it is always light and powdery. The trip is a bit longer than most but you really feel like you are in the BC backcountry. We've been to the area a number of times and once you have been, you will be drawn to it and feel the urge to go back. Especially during the hot summer after working all day!

So book your trip today and say hi to Brad and Carole from all of us at Catskiing.ca

Northern Escape Heliskiing Now Offering Early Season Catskiing

Start your first run catskiing with a heli drop!

Well this is a cool concept. Northern Escape Heliskiing just announced that they will be running a unique catskiing program for the 1st month of the season. Now skiers and boarders can experience the deep, remote powder of Northern Escape's terrain at a fraction of the price of heliskiing. And there is a bonus...your first ride is in a helicopter!

From December 11th to January 15th each season, Northern Escape will be offering this package - 3 days all inclusive unlimited vertical for $2299 per person. Not bad for 3 days catskiing from a heli lodge where you get a heli drop to start your day. Also, if the sun comes out, you will have the opportunity to make the switch to all-day heliskiing - for an additional cost of course. 

Learn more about Catskiing at Northern Escape here >>>

Northern Escape's GM John Forrest had this to say:

With the more accessible cost of catskiing over heliskiing, this initiative will plumb a new market, reaching skiers and boarders keen to experience catskiing in one of BC's most rewarding backcountry areas. Staying true to our roots, we've added the heli-ski experience as a bonus. Groups don't need to decide in advance; our helicopters are ready to fly to some of the best heli-skiing terrain in the World.

About Northern Escape:

Northern Escape Heli-Skiing is located inNorthern BC, two hours north of Vancouver. With its 7,000 sq km tenure, northern Escape Heli skiing offers skiers and riders wide open bowls, glaciers and steep, sheltered tree skiing every day of the season. With access to the latest equipment and a team of experienced staff who are passionate about heli-skiing and heli-boarding, guests can expect an incredible, high-quality experience that will have them returning year after year.


Fresh from the Factory - The Skevik Anton

They still have that new ski smell.

Fresh from the Factory - The Skevik Anton

Winter is here. Most of the major ski hills in BC are open. Everyday the snowcat operators are reporting on their road building. Like many of you, we are obsessed with gear and couldn't wait to pick up our new set of skis from Skevik Skis. We didn't go to the store though. Not even the distributor. We went right to their birthplace. The Skevik factory located in Vernon BC (very close to many catskiing and heliskiing operators!) 

We have skied the Skevik Anton before and love it. It is great to have a pair to round out our quiver. But there is something different about this pair. I am not sure if it is the stunning new Pell graphic or if the guys at Skevik are becoming masters at their craft. When I first picked up the Antons from the rack right outside the pressing room I was struck by the quality of the finishing. The bases are incredible. I have been in and around the ski business since the mid 90s and haven't seen factory bases this nice in a while. 

The fact that we know the guys who made these skis personally and that we were able to pick them up from where they were made just adds to the allure of Skevik. The independent ski manufacturing world has really progressed and we are excited to find out what interesting new designs Skevik will come up with this season. In the meantime, we have to get these new Antons mounted up and ready for our first trip. 

Here is a shiny gallery before we mount them up:

For more on Skevik, go here: www.skevikskis.com


Our very brief but to the point video review of the Skevik Anton:

Icebreaker Keeps Life Cozy with the Cold front

What's up with the Down?

Icebreaker Keeps Life Cozy with the Cold front

As the ski hills around British Columbia start the process of opening, it means that catskiing is just around the corner! As I sit here at the computer, constantly checking the forecast and willing it to keep snowing, a cold front is pushing through and dropping nighttime temps to below -20 Celsius. If there is one thing that will get you thinking about warm clothes, it’s that first blast of winter and being outside wearing something suited more for your fall adventures.

This is where I turn my mind to a good insulating jacket, something with loft. I have a number of down jackets, and they are great, but they have their “down” sides (hahah, ahhh….. nevermind). Stink and loss of performance when wet are just a couple things that make you consider the conditions when using your puffy coat. New from Icebreaker this year is MerinoLOFT, bringing the goodness and multipurpose of merino wool to the insulated loft jacket world.

The MerinoLOFT Helix jacket, shown here in green, is made with a re-purposed highly insulating wool loft for extra warmth when you need it. A recycled polyester exterior sheds the snow flakes, and a merino lining maximizes the good feeling and minimizes the stink. That is always a big plus for the sweaty types like us that don’t want to a smell like we just joined a non-showering hippie revolution. Throw in some cool features like internal wrist gussets and a shaped hooded for when the cold and snow pushes in, and you’re all set.

Taking it up a notch, the MerinoLOFT Ranger Jacket is a blend of outdoor function and urban style. Still the high performance of merino wool, but in a package that you can dress up and take out on the town. We have a review on that coming shortly...

Check out the full line of new Icebreaker MerinoLOFT products for yourself and then get out on the snow!


December Powder Skiing at Mustang Powder Catskiing

Here is why you go to Mustang in December.

If it is good enough for Riley Leboe, Tanner Hall and JP Auclair, it is good enough for you! Here is an edit from early December last season. As you can see, it does not look like early season up at Mustang Powder Catskiing. We have been there opening weekend a couple of times and it is always incredible. In fact, we have only been there early December and we love it! I mean, what a great way to kick off your season. Christmas party conversations will go like this:

Christmas Party Guy: "So, have you been to the hill yet?"

You: "No, not yet"

Christmas Party Guy: "Really?! Aw man, it has been epic shredding out there. I have 4 days in on my pass already. Too busy I guess eh?!"

You: "It's not that, I just spent opening weekend and Mustang Powder and now everything else seems...well...you know"

Christmas Party Guy: "Oh....uh...nice. I gotta get in on that action next December!"

Don't be that guy! There are still a couple spots left and they have been marked down to $500 per day. And did we mention it has been pounding snow for days?!

For more info, go here: Mustang Powder

New RMU Skis to Test Out This Season

We are stoked to get out and test these new pow skis!

New RMU Skis to Test Out This Season

As ski season draws nearer we, like most skiers, turn our attention to gear. If we can't ski yet we might as well be looking at, talking about, buying and generally driving our significant other nuts over gear. Today we got a little gift from Mr. Postman in the form or two fresh sets of skis from Rocky Mountain Underground - RMU. We haven't skied on anything from RMU in the past so we are very eager to get out and give these a whirl. 

In our possession is a set of The Whole Enchilada and a set of The Professors. We will be testing, reviewing and shooting pics of these skis this season so stay tuned. 

Until then, take a cruise on down to your local ski shop and share in the early season waiting pain with the fellow skiers, it is only a few more days here in BC!

Check out the RMU line up here: http://www.rockymountainunderground.com/

The RMU Whole Enchilada:

48 | 156 | 132 | 148 | 140

The RMU Professor:

146 | 120 | 136

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