Best Cat Skiing Europe

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Wagner Custome Skis
 
Cat Ski in Macedonia with Eskimo Freeride.
Cat Ski in Macedonia with Eskimo Freeride.
Eskimo Freeride cat skiing powder in Macedonia.
Eskimo Freeride cat skiing powder in Macedonia.
Cat Skiing Bakhmaro in the Caucasus, Georgia (© whitehearts.de)
Cat Skiing Bakhmaro in the Caucasus, Georgia (© whitehearts.de)
Great powder skiing in the trees at Bahkmaro (Photo Florian Birnkammer).
Great powder skiing in the trees at Bahkmaro (Photo Florian Birnkammer).
Awesome terrain - Eskimo Freeride. Europe's longest established cat skiing.
Awesome terrain - Eskimo Freeride. Europe's longest established cat skiing.
Cat ski powder with Eskimo Freeride.
Cat ski powder with Eskimo Freeride.
It snows a bit in the Caucasus of Georgia - Cat Skiing Bakhmaro (© whitehearts.de)
It snows a bit in the Caucasus of Georgia - Cat Skiing Bakhmaro (© whitehearts.de)
Cat skiing Bakhmaro (© whitehearts.de)
Cat skiing Bakhmaro  (© whitehearts.de)

Cat Skiing

Cat Skiing Europe

Cat skiing anywhere is paradise for Powderhounds. With all that fresh powder to sniff out and face shots galore, a Powderhound’s tail will definitely be wagging if they go cat skiing in Europe.

Many avid skiers and boarders around the world don’t know what cat skiing is, but “knowledge is powder”! The Europe cat ski locations in Macedonia and Georgia have an added sense of adventure to them also.

What is Cat Skiing?

So why would a powder hound (a dog) want to go cat skiing? Shouldn’t it be dog skiing? So if you’re wondering what the hell cat skiing is, it’s a fabulous form of guided backcountry skiing and snowboarding.

Cats or snowcats are large grooming style machines that transport about 14 skiers and snowboarders up to backcountry areas in a purpose built cabin. Whilst skiers and snowboarders are guided down fresh powder runs, the cat makes its way back to the bottom to pick them up to take them on the next run. Most Europe cat ski operators have exclusive access to a large ski area that’s big enough to ensure riders always have fresh tracks for powder skiing – awesome!

Benefits of Cat Skiing Europe

Europe cat skiing offers an opportunity to get away from the congestion and crowds at the ski resorts. “There are no friends on a powder day” is a common saying, but when you go cat skiing there is no powder panic and no need to use your elbows to get fresh lines. Freshies are almost guaranteed, and you only have to share the powder with a small group. Of course another huge benefit of Europe cat skiing is that there you are in quiet almost wilderness settings with no unruly lift queues or skied off crud and moguls.

Snowcat skiing has some similarities to heli skiing, with one of the main differences being that it’s much cheaper. Heli skiing also has grounded days where the helicopter can’t fly due to the weather. Thankfully snowcats can still go out in snow storms, and when the powder is falling is when you most want to be out there skiing.

The only downside to cat skiing Europe is that it’s very easy to develop an addiction to powder skiing. You have been warned!

Where is Cat Skiing in Europe?

Cat-skiing was pioneered in Canada, but has struggled to establish itself in Europe. Hence cat skiing in Europe is a rarity, but it does exist and is actually growing. Cat ski operations are currently in Macedonia, Georgia and Italy.

The longest established cat ski operation in Europe is Eskimo Freeride Cat-skiing. Based in the small village and ski resort of Popova Shapka, 70km east of Skopje in Macedonia, Eskimo Freeride cat sking provides a wonderful ski, nature, gastronomical and cultural experience. A unique aspect to Eskimo Freeride is its family friendly options. Cats will go out specifically to cater for intermediate skiers and snowboarders including children on appropriate terrain that allows for quick and fun progression. Very few cat ski operations in the world have such a capacity.

A new cat ski operation has started in the Lesser Caucasus mountains at Bakhmaro in Georgia. Established by a professional Swiss crew, Cat Skiing Bakhmaro promises to deliver an exceptional new experience for more adventurous skiers and snowboarders. Having run its first season in 2016/17, it is quickly coming to terms with its superb terrain, establishing a new lodge and buying an additional snow cat for season 2017/18.

The only cat ski operation in western Europe is Powder Cat Ski Italy based near Sestriere.

Snowcat Skiing Safety

The discipline of cat skiing is not without risks considering that it occurs in the remote backcountry. Avalanches are one of the primary hazard concerns and the operations put various strategies in place to lessen the risk. Avalanche mitigation strategies and safety briefings are provided, plus all operators provide highly qualified lead and tail guides to accompany the cat skiing group.

Go Powder Cat Skiing

A large survey of cat skiing and heli skiing was commissioned in the world's biggest cat skiing area - BC Canada. The survey results speak volumes – 98% of first time cat skiers indicated that they plan to go cat skiing again. Once experienced, forever addicted!

Cat skiing operations tend to fill up quickly, so try to book ahead to avoid disappointment.

Europe Cat Skiing Packages

Cat Skiing Bakhmaro DETAILS
CAT SKIING BAKHMARO
7 Nights Lodging, Meals + 5-6 days cat skiing
From price based on 7 nights twin/double-share room, full board and 5-6 days guided cat skiing.
Base/invoice currency is in Euro ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,445
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
The ultimate European cat skiing adventure, Cat Skiing Bakhmaro includes airport transfers, 7 nights of accommodation in the traditional village of Bakhmaro, all meals at Bakhmaro plus 5 - 6 days of cat skiing.
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