First of all: Our offer is aimed at women and men alike, as well as at skiers and snowboarders. If we forgot to address everyone one time or another, we ask you to be lenient with us! We have specialized in (small) groups. We ask for your understanding that we do not put groups together ourselves, experience has shown that this does not work. Most easy: Motivate friends and like-minded people to come along. All prices are for groups of 6 per person. We are happy about your inquiries (here)!
Cat Skiing, a powder dream!
What is cat skiing, how does it work and why the whole thing?
Cat = snow groomer. Cat-skiing uses snow groomers to get freeriders up the mountain as efficiently and quickly as possible. The cats are powerful and equipped with heated passenger cabins. Cat - Skiing is becoming increasingly popular in Canada, the United States and Japan. Many large heliski providers have also discovered cat skiing for themselves and offer combi packages, or switch to the snow groomers on the down days. There are hardly any offers in Europe because it is difficult to obtain permits and the effort is rather big. There are some key differences to heliskiing. First the points where we think the snow groomer is ahead:
A report of our first season!
With a delay of one year due to the Corona Pandemic, we started our first cat skiing season in 2022. We had some great powder days and gained a lot of important experience for the years to come. On, or shortly after the regular days with heavy snowfall, we had the best days and fantastic untracked slopes that offered perfect conditions even in poor visibility. As soon as the sun came out, the snow quality decreased quite quickly due to the southerly exposure. The most important conclusion: In order to be able to offer more cat skiing days, we need a second area to go for. We started preparing last winter and found the perfect (additional) terrain. A second snow groomer will be carted to Mestia in late summer and is ready for 2023. Due to the fact that from 2023 we will have additional spot that is completely different in terms of exposure and terrain, it will be possible to use one of the two snow groomers almost every day to take you to untracked terrain. On snowy days, our pristine spot is perfect, offering gorgeous tree skiing and open glades. As soon as the sun shows up, we will use the new site. The difference couldn't be bigger. The new terrain is huge and we start at over 2200m, no trees and endless space for lines in untracked powder. The snow groomers are just as different as the areas in which we operate. For our first area we have exactly the right device with the small, manoeuvrable caterpillar. The roads leading to the powder are narrow. The big cats are too wide. There are no trees or bottlenecks at the new spot, so we have found a real monster groomer, almost 500 horsepower ensure to reach our starting points quickly and gain verticals quickly.
Our cat-skiing terrain: Mount Koruldi and Tednuldi
Basically, it is not easy to find a place in the High Caucasus where cat skiing is possible. Most of the mountains are too steep and the valleys too rugged. There are hardly any forest roads. In both summer and winter, we have been looking for a suitable location for our project. The aim was to station our snow groomer as close as possible to Mestia. Unlike comparable projects, we didn't want to station ourselves in nowhere. Mattress camps, far away from any civilization, were out of the question for us. Mestia, with its flair, clean, family-run hotels and infrastructure that is quite good for Georgia (also in terms of medical care), offers everything that makes the heart of the adventurous freerider beat faster. We found what we were looking for at Mount Koruldi, where we started our first season in 2022. From 2023 we will have a second area available: At the foot of the impressive Mount Tednuldi. The two spots are completely different and depending on the conditions, we can use our snowcats in one of the two areas almost every day to reach the untracked. What follows is a description of the two spots so you can get a rough idea of what to expect when cat skiing with us.
Spot 1: Mount Koruldi, at the foot of Mount Ushba!
Less than 5 kilometers from our partner hotels and at the foot of Mount Ushba, which towers mightily over Mestia. Our terrain is not a classic cat-skiing area like you find in Canada or Japan. Our area is smaller, but we can descend almost 1200 meters in altitude on the longest run. About one third of our terrain consists of forest and forest area, the second third is a mixture of clearings and partly already open terrain, the third third is above the tree line, little wind and varied terrain offer enough space and opportunities for wonderful powder days in an impressive setting to experience. Perfect for days with snowfall and one-off tree runs even in poor visibility.
Spot 2: Mount Tednuldi and Adishi
New from 2023! In order to be able to offer you alternatives for days with sunshine and warmer temperatures, we have found a second spot with infinitely large terrain and different exposures. Our Cat is at the bottom station of the Tednuldi ski area at 2260 meters above sea level, about 15 km from our partner hotel in Mestia. The ski area does not open before 10 a.m., so we can start our cat skiing day undisturbed around 9 a.m. For the first (up) ride we use the slopes of the ski area and spend the day in untracked terrain between 2260 and 3100m. If the conditions are right, the day ends in the wonderful town of Adishi (picture left) at 2040 meters, where you will be picked up after a cup of tea or a beer and the adventurous journey back to the hotel begins. You can expect open terrain, freeriding at its best and lots of space for your lines.
Powder Day! From Dawn Till Dusk...
Cat skiing days are long and can be exhausting. We take care of (almost) everything. You don't have to worry about the transfer to the starting point, lunch, or anything else that might keep you from enjoying your powder day. The daily routine is primarily determined by sunrise and sunset: From Dawn to Dusk! We do not count vertical meters or limit the time that our snow groomer is on the move. Like everything we do and offer, we always try to stay as flexible as possible.
A "normal" powder day:
You will be picked up at your accommodation (the exact pick-up time depends on daylight, earlier in March than in January)
08:30 - 09:00
Safety training and instruction (no longer necessary from day 2)
09:00 - 12:00
Powdertime: Depending on the weather and snow conditions, the guides will find the best possible runs for you.
12:00 - 12:45
Lunch on the mountain. When the sun is shining you can eat at over 2200 meters, a wonderful picnic high above Mestia.
12:45 - 16:00
Powdertime: more powder, new runs!
With tea, mulled wine or beer there is certainly a lot to talk about before heading back to the hotel for dinner.
Safety, guides and equipment
Even though our first season is coming up this year and a lot is new for us too, safety comes first and is anything but new territory for us. We will provide you with the complete avalanche safety equipment for the Cat Skiing Days. This consists of: avalanche backpack + shovel + avalanche transceiver + probe.
All of this is included in the package price. We make sure that everything is perfectly maintained and in good condition. If you prefer to use your own avalanche transceiver because you are used to it, you can of course do so. However, we ask for your understanding that we check the function at the beginning of the day. The same applies to the avalanche backpack. During our cat-skiing days we strongly recommend wearing a helmet and ask you to comply with it. Our guides of course have appropriate first aid packages in their backpacks and in the snow groomer we have additional emergency equipment with us. In the unlikely event of an injury, Mestia has a well-equipped hospital for primary care. The rescue can also go to the bottom of the mountain and takes less than 7 minutes. There is of course a safety briefing on the first day of cat skiing. Most of you are certainly very familiar with the avalanche transceivers, but our guides do a little refresher. It doesn't take long and is an absolute must. If you want to use our equipment during the days we are not traveling with the Cat, you are welcome to rent the safety equipment at moderate prices. We will clarify the modalities with you in the booking and planning process.
An essential, safety-relevant aspect for a perfect day in the powder are the guides. Our guides are all from Svaneti, grew up in the mountains around Mestia and know every stone there. All are GMGA (Georgian Mountain Guide Association https://ifmga.info/) certified, some speak English very well, all can communicate security-relevant more than enough. For all mountain activities with a guide, a maximum group size of 6 people per group applies. Our snow groomer can carry a maximum of 12 guests, so there will be 2 guides. With homogeneous groups there is a head and a tail guide, with different levels of performance and / or condition we can split the group with one guide each.
For a cat skiing day you need everything you would take with you on a "normal" day of freeriding. The passenger cabin of our snow groomer is heated, so you are exposed to not insignificant temperature differences. At almost 3000m, it gets very cold, even on the sunniest day. An additional jacket and an extra shirt should be included and easily fit into the avalanche backpacks we provide. We recommend skis with a middle width of at least 100mm. Since we are not just about cat skiing, it is always a combination of ski tours or freeriding AND cat skiing. We know that it is difficult to pack the right ski or the right snowboard. A ski you climb 1000 verticals with, is rarely suitable for a day of powder using the snow groomer. You don't have to make any compromises here, we have powder slats in 3 different lengths, which we would be happy to provide, at a very moderate price. On request, we will clarify the modalities with you in the booking and planning process.
100% money back, fair comes first!
Our top priority is customer satisfaction. We offer packages that are by no means suitable for the masses and our range of products is in a small niche. We do not do classic advertising, but rely on the fact that those who have been to Georgia with us come home enthusiastically and with positive, unusual impressions and images in their heads and report to like-minded people. We have had good experiences with this and it should stay that way.
It is hard to plan a week in the mountains in detail months in advance. Weather and snow conditions are crucial. Therefore, we have deliberately no fixed days on which we "have to" travel with the Cat. We remain 100% flexible and only start our Cat when the conditions are right. If for any reason, weather, snow or other events a cat-skiing day booked does not take place, we will return the full amount for the respective day. We do not keep anything and take care of an alternative program adapted to the conditions. So you can arrive relaxed, cat skiing needs only to be payed if it takes place!