Powder Cat Skiing in Fernie BC at Fernie Wilderness Adventures

Q) Why book a trip with FWA? FWA is the only way to experience a Catskiing adventure with because of its non-intimidating fashion, affordable prices and down to earth mentality. It also helps that FWA has deep roots in the Fernie Wilderness as they have been operating for over twenty one years. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and they all share a passion for extreme adventures.

Q) Why try skiing/boarding the back country via a Cat? Snowcats can climb in almost any type of weather versus some of the flying limitations associated with heli-skiing. Other advantages of Cat skiing are: the ability to leave personal items on the cat such as extra clothing, being able to warm up in the heated cat between runs and the chance to meet and socialize with people from all over the world.

Q) What time does the day start and where do we meet? Guests meet at our office located at 561B Hwy 3 in the Fernie Business Centre at 7:30 A.M. They will then follow our guides out to our lodge which is approximately a 15 minute drive. If guests do not have their own transportation, it can be arranged for them at an additional cost, and they would be picked up and dropped off at their accommodation. Pick-ups start at approximately 7:45 A.M.(depending on number of pick-ups and locations).

Q) How many runs do we get a day? You should expect to get in between 8 to 10 runs which is approximately 10,000 – 12,000 vertical.

Q) Can I come alone or do I have to come with a group? We welcome all types of skiers lone, couples and groups. Sign up for our Last Minute Club to be notified if any openings come available and if there are any limited time special offers.

Q) Is lunch provided? Yes, a nutritious hand-packed lunch is provided.

Q) What time does the day end? Clients will arrive back at the lodge anytime between 4:00 – 4:30 P.M.

Q) Am I prevented from skiing on days of heavy snowfall? Unlike Heli-Skiing, the Cat can navigate during heavy snowfall.

Q) What do I need to bring? We recommend wearing a water-resistant, wind proof, breathable ski suit that has room for layers. If snow sticks to your suit, or if it is heavily insulated, it is best to leave it at home. A small pack is a good idea for goggles, extra gloves or a camera. These may be left in the cat while you are skiing. Anyone 18 years of age and younger must be accompanied by their parent. It is mandatory for minors to wear a helmet. Although helmets are not mandatory for everyone, Fernie Wilderness Adventures highly recommends wearing one. Fat skis can be rented (boots & poles not included). You definitely want to be skiing on fat skis. Half the effort, twice the fun.

  • Powder skis or snowboard (fat skis can be rental on site for a fee)
  • Ski boots/snowboard boots
  • Ski poles
  • Ski goggles or sunglasses.
  • Breathable and non-restrictive ski clothes suitable for all conditions and temperatures. (Layering is the best)
  • Sunscreen and lip protector.
  • Bathing suit for hot tub.
  • Warm gloves or mittens and hat.
  • Clothing for relaxing around the lodge.
  • Daily required medications.
  • Personal wine or spirits (for overnight trips).

Q) Do we get a discount if we book more than one day? There is no specific discount for booking more than one day but please check out our special offer section on the main page of the website.

Q)Do you rent ski and how much are they? Yes, $35.00 + GST. We highly recommend renting Fat skis as they will help one ski in deep powder, adding enjoyment to the day.

Q) What level of skier should I be?  At FWA there is no competition of skills or a race to the bottom, just a great adventure among friends. The excellent thing about snow catskiing is that people with different skiing/snowboarding abilities can take various routes to the bottom according to their ability and comfort level. At FWA we strive to make snow catskiing non-intimidating, our guides attentive care will ensure all of our guests feel comfortable and safe. Fat skis are highly recommended for deep powder skiing and will only further your enjoyment of the day. FWA offers fat skiing rentals right on site for $35.00+ GST. Please refer to our skier/boarder ability levels below. We highly recommend you be at least a level 5 skier/boarder, this will make for a more positive skiing experience.

Skier Levels

Level 1: First Time Skier
Never skied before. Or not yet able to stop confidently on easy, groomed terrain.

Level 2: Novice
Learning to snowplow turn in control on mellow slopes. May start to ski easy green runs.

Level 3: Confident Novice
Able to link strong snowplow turns or beginner stance parallel on green runs. Occasionally skis a blue run with caution. Rides chairlifts confidently.

Level 4: Intermediate
Able to ski parallel turns with pole plant. Most blue runs can be skied with confidence, but more advanced blues are still challenging. Looking to ride more varied terrain.

Level 5: Advanced
Can ski strong parallel turns with a pole plant confidently on all blue runs and easier black runs. Leaning towards hop turns, moguls, powder and more difficult terrain.

Level 6: Expert
Can ski in control on most black runs and enjoys all conditions and terrain.

Boarder Levels

Level 1: First Time Boarder
Never snowboarded before. Or not yet able to stop confidently on easy, groomed terrain.

Level 2: Novice
Able to stop safely. Can “Falling leaf” on heel and toe edges. Usually riding magic carpets.

Level 3: Confident Novice
Learning to link heel side and toe side turns on green runs. Experience riding chairlifts.
Level 4: Intermediate
Can link toe edge and heel edge turns confidently and control speed. Most blue runs can be ridden with confidence, but more advanced blues are still challenging. Looking to ride more varied terrain.

Level 5: Advanced
Able to link turns on all blue runs and easier black runs. Enjoys riding powder, off piste terrain, and can confidently make short turns.

Level 6: Expert
Can ride in control on most black runs and enjoys all conditions and terrain.

Q) Do you fill the cats by level of the skier? No, we fill up one cat at a time but there are different routes down to the bottom depending on the difficulty one chooses.

Q) How many guides are with a cat? There are two guides in each cat. One is the lead guide who navigates the mountain first and a tail guide who follows after all of the guests have descended down the mountain.

Q) How many people fit in a cat? Twelve guest can fit in a cat.

Q. Can I bring my own beer and wine? Yes.

Q. Is cat skiing safe?  FWA takes safety very seriously and treats every guest as if it were a loved one. Although there is natural risk involved we take all actions possible to prevent and minimize these risks. Our guides are experienced professionals with training in avalanche hazard forecasting, weather analysis, emergency first aid, mountain rescue, and ski instruction techniques. Most of our emergencies can be handled in the field with the extensive gear that our guides carry in their packs. The snowcat carries additional equipment including oxygen, a toboggan, spare ski equipment, and extra probes, skis and poles. There is continuous radio communication between the guides and the snowcat driver, as well as our mountain lodge. Weather permitting, a helicopter can be available within half an hour to evacuate an injured skier to hospital. Each of our guests are taught search techniques and are equipped with avalanche rescue transceiver at the beginning of each day.