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This is a preview of the full content of our Banff & Canada’s Rockies app.

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Heli- & Cat-Skiing

Day 5

The Canadian Rockies offer some of the finest backcountry skiing and boarding anywhere. Here, a pristine mountain landscape of open bowls and challenging tree runs is smothered in untracked and often very light-weight powder snow.

Several heli-ski operators offer single and multi-day trips for around CDN$1200 a day. It's certainly not cheap, yet few regret spending the money. A more affordable option is cat-skiing – using snow cats not helicopters to transport you uphill. Though less glamorous this provides a similar experience at around half the price.

When shopping around, look out for the number of vertical feet in a package and try to get into as small a group as possible. Also look for a charge structure that allows you to stop skiing when you want.

With commercial helicopters forbidden in national parks, operators are concentrated just outside, near Golden and Panorama. The heli- and cat-skiing season runs from December to April; and booking well in advance is almost essential.

Read the full content in the app
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Castle Mountain Ski Resort

Hidden Gem

Fernie Wilderness Adventures

Catskiing, fishing & wilderness tours

Island Lake Lodge

Catskiing lodge ($$$) in winter, hiking retreat in summer.


Great intermediate skiing & good mountain biking

Text © Christian Williams

Images by Kris Arnold, Se Mo