Cat Skiing Adventures with Big Red Cats
One of the world’s largest cat skiing operations is based here at RED Mountain!
Big Red Cats offers daily trips for skiers and riders in separate cats for expert, advanced, and intermediate groups.
Big Red Cats will shuttle you from Red to nearly 20,000 acres of untracked glades and bowls, only 20 minutes up the road! Qualified guides (CSGA, ACMG and CAA qualifications) will show you the best snow and terrain available. Enjoy 8-14 runs per day, each of about 1200-1400 feet, for an average vertical of 10,000-18,000 feet per day (depending on ability level).
Red Mountain season pass holders are eligible for $50 off your day of cat skiing.
You can email or call us at 778-457-5001 to speak with a Get Lost Adventure Centre representative about booking your next Cat Skiing adventure! Or feel free to stop by in person – located next to the magic carpet and the base lodge.
|High Season||Low Season|
|Adult (single day)||$599||$499|
|Full Cat (12 seats)||$6500||$5500|
|48 hr Standby||$499||$399|
|Rentals: Skis, Boards, Airbags||$39||$39|
High Season – (Jan 18 to March 8) The most consistent conditions of the year and the most popular. Standby seats a rarity in February and early March.
Low Season – (Dec 20-Jan 17 and March 9-24). Often some of the best days of the year after fresh snowfalls, however the days are longer and snow is more sun-affected, especially after a few days without snow, and rain events are more likely.
“Refundable” ticket costs an extra $100 and provides a full refund if the group is offered to reschedule because of poor conditions, or for documented medical situation (Trip cancellation insurance is cheaper, but doesn’t cover poor conditions). Those not choosing a “refundable” ticket will not receive a refund, but will be offered a transferable 2-season rain cheque if conditions are not safely skiable. Most people just get the regular booking, as they plan on coming back anyway.
- Tickets are NON-REFUNDABLE. If you prefer to have the flexibility of a refundable ticket, add the $100/day refundable ticket option. Note that in this case the $100 is not refunded, just the regular ticket price.
- Dates are flexible and need not be consecutive. Please book the ability level which pertains to the slowest person in your booking group so that they can make it through the day without having to sit runs out.If weather is looking potentially hazardous or just not like much fun, we’ll let you know and will in many cases offer the option of a transferable rain check which is good for the remainder of the season, plus two more seasons.
- Lunch is included. Breakfast and coffee are not included, but are available starting at 6:30am next door at “FRESH Cafe & Apres”
- All prices in Canadian dollars. Cat skiing subject to $4/day Crown Land user fee and 5% GST. Lodging 16% taxes.
- Bookings are 100% payable at time of booking
- All guests will be required to read and sign the Big Red Cats waiver prior to skiing.
- Please take time to read and understand our terms and conditions carefully – particularly that we do not provide refunds.
- We strongly suggest that you purchase travel insurance that contains both trip cancellation insurance and medical evacuation insurance.
- We recommend that all people use fat powder skis to make the day more fun. Also, if you rent, your skis won’t get damaged in transport or in the snowcat!
Skiers & snowboarders at this level are those who:
- May have little or no powder experience.
- Are confident on blue runs and will occasionally ski black runs on a lift served ski area, but may fall regularly in the woods.
- Are comfortable making smooth parallel turns
- Enjoy new challenges and have a good attitude.
- Seek to build their powder confidence.
- Are reasonably fit, though sometimes not as fit as they used to be.
Advanced skiers and riders enjoy diverse terrain including gladed areas, open bowls, steeper terrain and trees. We ski and ride at a comfortable pace, allowing everyone to enjoy their runs without a rushed feeling, and regroup a couple of times on the way down for a breather and a laugh. Advanced skiers and riders:
- Have previous powder experience.
- Are comfortable on almost any terrain.
- Divide their time between blue, black and double black runs on a lift served ski area.
- Enjoy groomed and ungroomed terrain, and now how to handle adverse snow conditions.
- Are comfortable in gladed areas and tree runs.
- Might enjoy a few small jumps if conditions are just right, but aren’t generally keen on cliffs.
This group is suited for ski patrollers, ex racers, freestylers, instructors, or locals of Rossland BC – who are without doubt the best skiers in the world! For some, “expert” is not enough. If you WANT to jump off of 20-foot cliffs, if you want runs where jumps are mandatory, if you want really steep drop-ins and pillows, if you are extremely fit, very experienced, young and strong, and you have found that people who have classified themselves as “expert” have been slowing you down, ask about “Uber Expert.”
Skiers and snowboarders at the expert level:
- Have significant and extensive powder experience.
- Are comfortable on any terrain at any speed.
- Able to ski tight tree runs well (helps with exits and when stability is poor).
- Ski and board black and double black runs with style.
- Know how to handle any snow conditions.
Are you BETTER than most of the people in the “Expert” group? Are you worried that if you sign up for “Expert” that there will still be pretenders in the group who will hold you back? Well, we do our best, but that can happen sometimes, so if you are truly really strong, this is what you do: Request an “uber-expert” group, if you can handle all of the requirements of “expert” and you also:
- Like jumps and drops. Lots of them. Mandatory air. All day long.
- Are super fit and can ski or ride top to bottom all day without a rest.
- Don’t chicken out from a jump. If the guide can do it, you can do it, because there may be no way around where this group goes.
Can I change my reservation? Is there a cancellation fee?
You may change the date of your reservation any time 90 days or more in advance of the trip, provided that space is still available. Your reservation is NOT locked in until after we have received your payment. Once payment is processed, you have the reservation, and the payment is irreversible.
In the event that the weather renders the skiing conditions hazardous, you may be given the option to reschedule to another date in the same or following season. If you evaluate your options and do not want to opt for a rain check, that is fine, we will take you cat skiing, though the terrain on offer may be limited, and the experience may be less than desirable. However, if we do offer a rain check, it is transferable, and it is likely that is a good choice to ski at the resort instead, and return another day.
Can I bring the whole family? What age?
We have several family groups, and groups consisting of 2 or 3 families, who return year after year. If you rent a full cat, you can bring children of any age, as long as they are capable of skiing deep snow in the backcountry, and you ski with them at all times.Children under 12 are discouraged unless you have your own private cat, for social reasons.
I want a multi-day lodge type experience. Can I get that at Big Red Cats?
Yes. While we don’t have a remote lodge, we do have a 6-bedroom “Big Red Lodge” if you have a group of 12, and most of the guests at the Red Shutter Inn and many at the Ram’s Head Inn are catskiers, so there is plenty of opportunity to socialize. Dinners may also be catered in for your group by pre-arrangement, if you don’t want to eat out at restaurants every night.
I want to holiday with my wife, but she’s not up to cat skiing. What can she do?
As we are resort-based, Big Red Cats is an ideal choice for those who would like to travel with their wife and/or family, but get in some powder skiing as well. Staying at the base of Red Mountain, you can have breakfast together, and they can do other activities while you are cat skiing for the day, before meeting up again for dinner and apres-ski time together. Lift passes at Red Mountain, the spa or shopping in Rossland (only 5 minutes away), nordic skiing at Black Jack (2 minute drive away) or hiking along the Centennial Trail are all popular things to do. Mobile massage therapists can also be arranged to come right to where you’re staying – though this is best arranged in advance. There are several excellent restaurants at Red Mountain and in Rossland as well.
Can I cat ski every other day and get the multi-day rate, or subsequent days only?
Some people are worried that they won’t have the leg strength to cat ski 3 days in a row, but would still like the multi-day rate. To them, I say: YES! Because we offer day trips, and are resort-based, we are able to package a holiday which includes lodging for a week, for example, with lift passes at Red or Whitewater, or rest days for the spa, interspersed with your cat skiing days. This is often ideal for people whose fitness isn’t what they’d like it to be, or for couples where one person wants non-stop powder skiing, but the other would prefer to do a day, and then spend the next day reading a book, relaxing in the hot tub, and getting a massage or spa treatment before tackling the next day in the backcountry.
How far is it from the meeting point to the snowcat?
Big Red Cats has very quick and easy access to its ski terrain, which makes a multi-day experience simple and painless, even while staying at the resort. It is about a 25-30 minute highway drive from our meeting point at Red Mountain Resort to our snowcat shed. Because the highway takes us all the way up to 1500m, it is a simple and quick process. You can take our shuttle bus, or there is parking for your own vehicle if you prefer. The daily avalanche training is performed there, and from the cat shed, it is only 40 minutes to the top of the first run.
Note: If you are a part of a multi-day full-cat group booking, you only need to do the safety briefing on the first day, and can arrange for the quick program on subsequent days. In that case, it is just a 12-15 minute drive to the close highway drop, and only 20 minutes in the snowcat before your first run – not significantly different than the first-run travel time if staying at a remote lodge! Only one of the 3 cats can do the quick drop, and the group heads out to the more remote terrain at Mt Mackie, Venus, and Claw – skiing on the way out and in on Mt Crowe and Neptune.
Can I bring my own transceiver, probe & shovel?
We provide transceivers (Mammut Pulse), and we prefer that all guests use the transceivers provided, so that the safety briefing is the same for all. It is highly unlikely that transceivers wouldn’t “speak” to each other, but we still prefer to use all the same beacon, as we have checked and double-checked our transceivers and it minimizes risk. We have a guest pack available for every guest, with probes and shovels. If you prefer to bring your own pack with probe and shovel, you are quite welcome to as long as your equipment is high quality.
We have a few avalanche airbag packs for rent. You need to book these in advance. You are welcome to bring your own if you have them, but if you are flying make sure to arrange an air canister in advance, as you can’t fly with compressed gas.
Can we drink alcohol or smoke weed during the cat ski day?
No, of course not! It is not permitted to drink alcohol or use any non-prescription drugs during your cat skiing day. It is permitted to bring a can (cans only please) of beer to enjoy after you have completed your final run of the day, and what you do in the evenings is your own business, but there can be no drinking during the day, as your inability to focus on instructions may impact the safety of yourself and others in the group. If you are found to be doing either of the above, you will be “benched” – told to sit in the snowcat for the rest of the day and discontinue skiing. If you request to be removed from the area, there is a $50 charge. If you must smoke cigarettes, please consider others and position yourself downwind, so that they can enjoy the fresh air in the great outdoors.
Lunch is provided and is eaten during ascents in the snowcat, which allows us more time for skiing each day. We focus on whole and organic foods as much as possible, with two sandwiches, two cookies, and an apple per person, as well as water. If you don’t like ham sandwiches, please tell us in advance and we’ll make you something else.
What is the weather like?
Big Red Cats is very close to Red Mountain BC which is in BC’s famous Powder Triangle. It snows and snows hard – sometimes it will snow for weeks without stopping. We receive about 40ft of it per year. In general, temperatures range between -1 and -10. However, prior to mid February we potentially can get brief periods of very cold arctic air with temperatures in the range of -20 to -30 Celsius. Please be prepared for all mountain weather conditions. We recommend that you bring a face mask or a snorkel for those days when the powder is so deep that every few turns you have a mouthful of snow.
Am I ready for snowcat skiing in deep powder?
If you are a strong intermediate skier or boarder, able to ski with confidence on blue (red in Europe) runs at ski resorts in varying snow conditions (not necessarily powder), you are then ready for snowcat skiing with us. You should have been skiing actively for several consecutive years. Backcountry snowcat skiing is not for beginner skiers. As a local rule of thumb, you should be able to ski Red’s Paradise “Mini-Bowls” before signing up for an Intermediate tour, you should be comfortable in the “Powderfields” before signing up for an Advanced tour, and you should be able to ski the killing fields of Red’s “Cambodia” before considering an Expert tour. If you aren’t sure, it is better to underestimate your ability than to over-estimate.
Do you offer discounts for groups?
Yes! Our full-cat pricing is based on “buy 10 seats get 2 free.” 12 seats is considered a full cat. Some of our cabins have space for 13 or 14 – though if you bring extra people, they have to pay a pro-rated amount for their seats.
Can I rent fat powder skis?
Yes, we have a large fleet of skis, but it’s best to book the skis when you book your trip, to request the style and size that you prefer. That way, if a shortage is foreseen, we can make arrangements to get more skis. Ski rental is $39 for a day, or $29/day if booking multiple days. Poles are $5/day
What’s the vertical? How many runs?
The vertical depends on which group you’re in. The runs are generally between 1200-1800 feet each, and average around 1400ft. (The top elevation is about 2200m, and the bottom is about 1650, but most runs are less than that).
An expert group typically gets 10-13 runs in (15,000ft or more) , an advanced group typically 7-11 (10,000 or more), and an intermediate group 6-9 (8000 or more). So that’s a pretty large range.
If you don’t get at least 6 runs in, we’ll give a partial credit to return.
We have had an expert group get in over 30,000ft one day, but that’s the record.
They just keep going all day, it isn’t capped at any particular number of runs.
If it has been a long time since the last snowfall, we will have to travel further between runs to find fresh tracks, and you may get fewer runs in. If you come in March, the days are longer than in December, which will also affect the number of runs. Each run is about 1200 feet,on average.
Where and when do I go when I arrive?
You’ll need to be at the BRC office at the base of Red Mountain ski resort at 0800. It is at 2-4430 Red Mountain Road, in the Red Robs condo building. If you are renting skis, you’ll need to arrive ten to fifteen minutes earlier. Even if you have pre-arranged ski rental, you’ll have to fill in and sign the ski rental form and waiver.
You’ll sign your waivers and you can self-drive or we can take you by bus out to our snowcat staging area.
If you are traveling in from Nelson or points west for the day, you may arrange to meet us directly at the staging area. From the Nancy Greene Junction of highways 3 and 3B, travel 400m south on 3B towards Rossland. Then turn left (east) and go in about 500m to the parking area. If you want to meet here instead, it must be arranged in advance, and you must arrive by 0845.
Questions? No problem! Simply email us here or call us at 778-457-5001 to speak with a Get Lost Adventure Centre representative.