Kick Off Season 2022 - Be the First!
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:
Kick Off Season 2022, we're starting our first season!
After years of searching for the right place, we found what we were looking for in Svaneti. Bureaucratic hurdles had to be overcome and a lot of patience and persistence was necessary to get the dream of having our own small cat ski company on the road. Our thanks go to everyone who supported us. In 2022 the time has finally come. Summer 2021 will be hectic, but we're on schedule and looking forward to January. Despite good planning, the first season will be a dip in the cold water. Small mistakes will happen, we look forward to adventurous guests who help to optimize our project. We have not only kept our prices for the Cat Skiing Days as low as possible, we have also not provided any cancellation fees or similar in our booking conditions. That means: We only take money from you if the snowcat is in use all day. But it is important: Our security concept is in place and there are no compromises or uncertainties with that. We only work with reliable, certified guides and the avalanche equipment including airbags is new and is checked and serviced by us every day. So the most important things are 100% taken care of: the perfect mountain, no compromises on safety and like-minded people in an untouched, incomparably beautiful landscape!
Our cat-skiing mountain: Mount Koruldi at the foot of Ushba
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, the valleys are too rugged. There are hardly any forest roads. We searched a long time for a suitable place for our project. It was important for us to station our snow groomer as closely as possible to Mestia. Unlike with comparable projects, we didn't want to base ourselves in the absolute nowhere. Cold mountain huts, bulk beds far from any civilization, were out of the question for us. With its flair, the clean, family-run hotels and an infrastructure that is quite good for Georgia (also in terms of medical care), Mestia offers everything that makes the heart of the adventurous freerider beat faster. We finally found what we were looking for at Mount Koruldi. Less than 5 kilometers from our partner hotels at the foot of Ushba, which towers mightily over Mestia. Our terrain is not a classic cat - skiing area like you can find in Canada or Japan. Our area is smaller, but we can do almost 1600 meters of altitude on the longest run. About a third of our terrain is forest area, the other two thirds are located beyond the tree line, little wind and varied terrain offer enough space and opportunities to experience wonderful powder days in an impressive setting. So if you want to be a pioneer, maybe want to give a new run a name and don't expect a ready-made, thoroughly planned retort experience, we are the right place for you. We love what we do, are always on site and look forward to guests who "tick" like we do!
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)
8:00 - 8:30
Safety training and instruction (no longer necessary from day 2)
08:30 - 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, afterwards you go 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!