Cat skiing is a guided backcountry activity where skiers and snowboarders are transported up the mountain in a snowcat. Essentially a grooming machine with a cabin on the back. The snowcat can take a group of up to 10 people in heated comfort for multiple laps in purrrfect powder snow. Once the cat drops you at the top and then disappears, you’ll be surrounded by nothing but mountains, blue skies, and miles of untouched powder to lay your claws into. A great alternative to a helicopter or hiking to the top during March & April! The mountains surrounding Valdez offer the unique experience of skiing all the way down to sea level with incredible views of the port and Harbor.
Over the past 20+ years Valdez has had snowcats prowling many different mountain zones including Sugarloaf port area and East peak just minutes from town, plus numerous options in Thompson Pass just up the highway. Cat ski/boarding is suitable for intermediate to advanced riders. The terrain ranges from mellow to extreme so there is sure to be a run to suit everyone’s ability. Bring your bro’s or bring the family. With so much room in the cat, bring them both! Jump in with a group or book a private cat day. Your choice!
Valdez has two different snowcat operators: Black Ops Valdez and 907 snowcat LLC. Full days can include up to 6-8 runs from 12,000 to 16,000 ft vertical a day depending on fitness and motivation of the group. You’ll get a bit of a rest between runs where you can relax, warm up and dry out in the snowcat. The good news is if someone gets tired, they can always sit out for a run.
Have you ever seen a cat climb a mountain. It is amazing to see the steep slopes that the snowcat can climb, but understandable when you speak to the experienced mountain men who drive these cats. They put in the long hours in the middle of the night and during storms to put in the road systems.
Riding in the cat up the mountain is an thrilling experience. Feel the turn of the tracks underneath and the angle of terrain as the snowcat takes the scenic route to the top. Plenty of time to enjoy the breathtaking views and pick your line for the way down. Although the snowcat is a slower pace to the helicopter, there is always a great buzz as you load your gear onto the back or top of the cat and cram into the cabin. The cabin is the hub of the party with everyone sharing the joy of the previous run and getting excited for the next one. Plenty of room to leave a bag with spare layers, a packed lunch and a beer for the way home.
Blue sky’s are always preferred but, when the weather is stormy and even the helicopters can’t fly, cat skiing in the trees can be the top pick of activities for the day. Put on your fat skis or powder board and you’ll feel like a complete legend. All mountain safety gear is required including beacon, shovel and probe. If you don’t have your own, rentals are available.
Plan a day or plan a week playing in the mountains around Valdez during the spring and be sure to book some Cat skiing. No I don’t mean taking your Cat skiing, but I'm sure you figured it out by now.
Whether your a big mountain enthusiast or just ready for a new adventure, cat ski/boarding should definitely be on the list when you visit Valdez this winter.