What is catskiing? What do I need to know? - Gostlin Keefer Lake Lodge
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What is Catskiing, Cat-skiing or cat skiing?

However you spell it, the sport is addictive. Catskiing began almost 40 years ago in Canada and is still growing fast. From the Selkirk Wilderness came a brilliant idea to use a ski hill grooming machine to access backcountry skiing. And it has never been more popular.

Never the same run twice. Always epic. A day catskiing is a Very Good Day.

This is a Cat Skiing

We do not do this!

This is Catskiing

We do ALOT of this!

Some Catskiing FAQs...

What level of ski or boarding ability do I need?

You should be an expert rider. We do not have beginner terrain.

You should have some experience off-piste, be able to handle deep powder snow in the backcountry and comfortable skiing amongst trees.

We reserve the right to restrict guests from skiing or snowboarding if they are not able to safely keep up with the group. No refunds are available for these guests.

All efforts are made to group guests with similar abilities. The best way to ensure that you get the best experience is to organize a whole group of friends and fill a snowcat with compatible skiers.

Your trip can include wide open bowls of deep snow and steep tree runs and everything in between.

How many runs will I ski?

As many as you can. We try to ski as much as the ability of the group will allow.

A typical day might have you ski 7 to 12 runs per day and about 15,000 to 20,000 vertical feet. We try to give our guests a full ski day – about 7 to 8 hours.

The ride up provides an important few minutes for you to reflect, relax, and catch your breath. If you find you need more recovery time, no problem. Just sit out a run and JUMP UP FRONT FOR AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE riding down with the snowcat.

What are the runs like? How steep?

We are deep in the Monashees – there’s a lot of variety and both moderate and steep terrain.

Big open bowls, rolling meadows, steep trees runs, cliffs, chutes, open tree burns, rock gardens, fluffy pillows, and long, soft, endlessly falling tree lines.

Most days you’ll do a variety of runs.

Weather and snow conditions rule, as well as the riding ability of the group. On the day, the guides will lead you to the best runs and the most skiing possible that day.

If you want to carve super-fast, clock the most laps, or shred the really big stuff, we can help you. In this case, we recommend bringing a group of friends with expert ability and filling a whole snowcat.

How many days can I come for?

As many as you can. It really depends on your fitness and budget.

Every week we offer 3 day and 4 day tours. For longer tours just call the office and we’ll build a custom itinerary for your group. Day skiing is also offered – please call to check availability.

It’s a great idea to arrive a day or two early and ski at a local resort like Big White or Silver Star. This helps mitigate winter travel realities – cancelled or late flights, luggage delays, and highway closures. Arriving a few days early ensures you get your gear and your legs ready for your big catski trip.

Can I use telemark skis or ride my snowboard?

Yes you can. We love anyone who loves to carve.

Everyone is welcome to enjoy the Keefer on their favourite plank(s).

The rules are the same – all guests must be able to handle all backcountry conditions including steep treed terrain, deep snow and an occasional traverse.

Telemark skiers should be expert ability and capable/experience at skiing dense glades. Telemark skiers should also bring and alpine set-up if they have both.

Snowboarders should be strong-intermediate to expert and be able to comfortably navigate traverses and low-angle ski outs.

We suggest snowboarders carry collapsible poles that can be stowed in a backpack.

What is the weather like? When should I come?

Keefer Lake Lodge is located in the Monashee Mountain Range – a very snowy location all winter!

The alpine elevations see about 60 feet of snow each year from October and June. The lodge gets about 30 feet of snow from early December to early April.

December and January daytime temperatures are usually in the -5 to -15 Celsius range. February and March see typical temperatures from 0 to -10 Celsius. Between December and February it can briefly reach -20 to -30 Celsius when the arctic air sweeps through – usually bringing big dumps of snow with it.

March and April can have bright, sunny days with temperatures above zero. With longer days and more light, the snow continues to change and soften throughout the day.

This is a rough guide only. Mountain weather can change rapidly and vary significantly year to year.

Be prepared for all mountain weather conditions, no matter what time of year you book with us.

Good and bad conditions can happen at any time during the season. We try to keep snowcat skiing as much as the conditions allow and have fun no matter what. We cannot tell you when to book, or guarantee fantastic waist-deep snow on a particular date. It just happens here most of the time because the Monashee Mountains are magnets for snow.

No refunds or rain checks are given for any reason.


All packages include emergency medical and evacuation insurance.

We highly recommend Trip Interruption and Cancellation Insurance solely for the benefit of our guests; as no refunds or credits will be issued. Please spend a few moments to review and purchase Trip Interruption and Cancellation Insurance.

If you are concerned you may have to cancel – this is your only option to obtain a refund.

Can I bring my own skis or snowboard?

Yes. Skiers should have big fat powder skis. Boarders should have a wide all-mountain board.

We have high-performance equipment available at the lodge.

We carry a selection of skis from our friends and partners at Skevik – the Anton, Oda, and Loken. We also hold DPS and Salomon QST Blanks. Demo skis are available on a first come first serve basis, and encourage guests to bring their own equipment, if they would be uncomfortable skiing their 2nd or 3rd choice ski.

Please note that you are responsible for any loss, damage, or breakage of demo/rental equipment.  In the event of loss or damage you will be responsible for repair or replacement charges.

Is there a waiver?

Yes there is.

All guests must acknowledge and accept the inherent risks associated with backcountry skiing.

All guests must read and sign a Release of Liability and Waiver of Claims Agreement prior to their booking being CONFIRMED. A second copy will be signed at the lodge, before the start of their trip.


Should I tip? How much?

Most heliski and catski guests leave a tip. It is customary, but not mandatory.

In general, in the service industry in Canada it is normal to tip if you feel that you had good service.

Kind words and tips are always gratefully received. As there are a lot of people behind the scenes making your holiday special and your stay memorable, we operate with a tip pool that delivers gratuities to all of our staff members.         

Industry standard for gratuities is anywhere between 15% – 25% of your Tour total and can be paid in cash or added to your credit card.  Based on the feedback of our former guests, we will add the standard 15% onto your final lodge invoice.  You can change this amount however you see fit!

Any and all gifts are greatly appreciated.

If you enjoyed your stay at Keefer Lake please tell a friend. If your trip did not meet your expectations, please call us so we can fully understand. Thanks!


Can I leave early if I have to?

Yes. Access to Keefer Lake is easy. We are conveniently located and easy to get to.

Some lodges are just too remote to be practical. Or too hard to reach to be convenient. Or require a multi-stage trek to get in or out. Or require an expensive helicopter ride to get home early.

Keefer Lake is deep in the Monashees and still easy to reach at the same time.

We are accessible by car and closer to an international airport than any other catski operator in Canada.

If you need to leave early, simply speak to one of our staff and they can help you arrange a private transfer at the time you require.