Valhalla, a mystical place ruled over by the god of Odin. It’s where warriors go when they die, a heaven full of food & fighting. Each day the soldiers go to war and regardless of the outcome they come back fresh the following morning as if nothing had happened. An eternal groundhog day of sorts. Tucked into the Kootenay mountains lies Valhalla, a place where skiers and snowboarders go to feast on powder and mind-blowing terrain. And for the lucky few they groundhog day packages are available.
Valhalla Powdercats Review
Some snowcat operations look to push as many clients into the mountains as possible, it’s a business model that’s used extensively throughout North America. Valhalla Powdercats does things differently with only 2 snowcats operating daily offering access to some 21,000 acres of backcountry skiing terrain.
Safety comes first and foremost at Valhalla Powdercats. To start the morning each guest received an avalanche beacon, avalanche airbag (which some other operations charge to rent), shovel and probe. Once we got to the snow we were shown how to do beacon searches and practised in real time.
Along with the beacon drill which is fairly standard the Valhalla Powdercat guides also worked on probing techniques. Which even someone like myself with many years of experience and certs in the backcountry was able to learn from.
Each snowcat can hold a total of 12 skiers or riders so at most there will be 24 people skiing an area 6 times the size of Whistler/Blackcomb. The terrain is big, that’s for sure but what about the snow?
Valhalla Powdercats location in the Selkirk Mountains receives about 13 meters (40 ft) of snow annually. This equals lots of powder to ski and ride via the snowcats without ever having to cross any old ski tracks. There is no “powder farming” here as seen in other snowcat and heli-ski operations. You get to ski and ride the terrain you see.
One thing we recommend before booking a trip is to invest in a big powder board. The snow here is deeper than you will be accustomed too.
Starting from the first run of the day the terrain at Valhalla Powdercats is certainly impressive and not just of the amount of snow on the ground but the variety of options each run was offered by the guides.
“Looking for steeps head this direction”, “want an easy run down follow these tracks”, “looking to hit some cliffs head over towards the right”. Throughout the day our team of professional snowcat guides really made a point to search out the terrain for each and every person in the group. As we say in the backcountry all the time you are only as strong as the weakest link in the group.
Valhalla did an incredible job of managing 12 skiers and riders of all ability levels with ease. It’s the sort of place you can comfortably come to as an advanced intermediate skier all the way up to the guys filming for the ski films. This place has something for everyone, heaven for powder skiers and riders.
Run after run the entire group could be heard hooting and hollering through the open powder glades, in the trees and of course once back to the snowcat. The pace is fun you ride hard, get to the bottom jump back in the snowcat, have 10-20 minutes to rest and then it’s go time again.
Somewhere in the middle we found time to eat a delicious lunch which was provided by Valhalla, most of the food in this part of B.C. is pretty darn good and Valhalla knocked it out of the park.
From the office staff to the guides, snowcat drivers and everyone in between Valhalla Powdercats offers a first class experience guaranteed to please even the jaded powder snobs out there (myself included). The problem with coming to a place like Valhalla is skiing and riding will never be the same once you have experienced real powder.
Best of all the price is one that you can come back year after year to experience as many repeat Valhalla Powdercats guest do. They must be onto something…