Snowcat skiing is very similar to helicopter skiing except a snowcat is used to transport skiers rather then a helicopter. There are two main types of snowcat skiing; single day tours from town and multi day tours from a backcountry lodge.
All snowcat skiing takes place outside of designated ski resorts. Whether or not the snowcat company you choose is based in town or in the backcountry both will be operating with several groups of guests that are paying to ski in an area designated just for snowcat skiing. This means there are not other people using the same terrain, just you, your guide and 11 other individuals in an area often many time larger then the average ski resort.
A town based snowcat skiing operation will generally house their guests in a hotel or motel and let them find their own restaurants. This is less of a remote retreat that this type of clientele often desires but the price is far more affordable then staying in a remote lodge.
A backcountry lodge is the best setting for snowcat skiing. Often the lodge will be situated in the center of its skiing terrain reducing travel times from the lodge to the slopes. Town based operations are often an hour or more from the slopes where remote lodges may only be minutes to the first run. The ambiance in a backcountry lodge is often better as well.
People going snowcat skiing are looking for fresh untracked powder that is the essence of skiing. Most are professional males with a good disposable income who desire the freedom and adventure this sport offers.
Like any other winter sport in the mountains there is a risk involved. Snowcat skiing takes place in an area where there is no ski patrol or maintained runs. It is wild, unpredictable terrain where hazards are present. To counter this risk all snowcat skiing operations are required to hire certified, professional guides to lead their groups of skiers safely through the mountains.
Since snowcat skiing is a powder snow sport having the right equipment is a must. Layered clothing is always recommended for winter sports since you can add/remove layers as the temperature changes. A good outer layer of clothing that will repel wind and water is a must. Storm cuffs on the jacket and ski pants are also recommended since it will keep snow from accumulating around the waste and ankles. Good fog resistant goggles are also a must to protect the eyes and allow the skier to see. Gloves or mitts with storm cuffs are also required to keep the hands warm and dry.
Snowcat skiing is a sport that is very high in demand. Tours often sell out a year in advance with prime seats selling as much as 18 months before the start date. For those skiers with a big desire to go powder skiing but cannot afford the high cost of helicopter skiing, snowcat skiing is for you. Costs are about 1/2 that of helicopter skiing.