This past long Easter weekend, Allan and I headed out to Mustang Powder for some freaking incredible catskiing. We had 3 days of amazing untouched powder and pretty much snowboarded until our legs fell off. Oh — and we took TONS of video footage… so stay tuned for that video coming soon. I also have a contest in this post for THREE full-day lift tickets to Grouse Mountain, so keep reading.

What is catskiing or catboarding you ask?

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

Well, you load all your gear into the bus…

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

… then you head up the mountain on a “snowcat”… which is a huge machine with a cab for twelve people that can take you up and down the mountain.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

You arrive at the lodge, in the middle of nowhere with gorgeous mountain ranges all around. Yes, you are living and sleeping right at the top of the mountains. Allan and I were very fortunate. I won a contest to go to Mustang Powder (although Allan paid for his full trip)… so we didn’t really know what to expect. It was my first time EVER going catboarding.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

The rooms are comfortable with their own private bathrooms… but to be fair, you almost never spend any time in them.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

The lodge is soooooo amazing. Vaulted ceilings, all wood beams, and they didn’t use a single nail (apparently it’s some kind of peg system?). There’s enough room for 24 guests there, but since it was the end of the season they only ran one cat… so 12 guests.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

The lodge really is in the middle of the mountains.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

And there was a HECK of a lot of snow. It had been snowing all week and we got a few feet of fresh powder the day we arrived.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

Their terrain is pretty incredible. Allan has gone catboarding before and he said it was the best operation he’s ever been to. The amount of terrain they have above the tree line is breathtaking.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

Yep, you couldn’t wipe the grins off our faces. It was ridiculous.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

We were riding in waist and knee deep snow the entire trip. We hooked up the GoPro HD for a few shots by sticking it on a pole to get a better wide angle. Worked pretty well!

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

The gladed runs were probably my favourite. They have a ton of old growth trees, but also some great runs with new baby trees that were fantastic.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

The food. MAN. I did NOT expect this kind of food. It was gourmet meals every day for breakfast and dinner, not to mention a huge lunch spread to make your own.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

Meals included chicken with beurre blanc sauce and capers, lamb osso bucco, a huge piece of bison tenderloin, fresh homemade pastry for lemon meringue, cheesecakes, carrot and coconut soup, broccoli cheddar soup, beautiful salads, and fresh blueberry pancakes for breakfast! My only complaint was that they didn’t seem to get the allergy concerns we listed on the admission sheet, so my recommendation is to make sure the kitchen receives your concerns on the very first day.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

There’s a lot to do in the lodge too. There’s a full bar with premium liquors, a huuuuuuuuge outdoor hot tub, and a games room with pool and foosball and books.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

One of the days I also got to go out on a snowmobile and do a private film shoot with one of their ski stars, Bruno. It was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to show you the video footage.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

It was great to make new friends in the group, and I hope we all stay in touch.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

This is one of my FAVOURITE photos from the whole trip. Check out our lines in the snow. Check out the incredible terrain. Holy crap, yes, that was a LOT of powder this past weekend.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

The snowcats were brand new too, so they were super fast and we rarely ever had to wait for the cats to pick us up and bring us up and down the mountains. They have over 30,000 acres of terrain, so there was always a new untouched run to do.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

The group we had was fantastic… 11 guests and a couple staff members to guide and help out. I can’t say how awesome the guides were (thanks for helping to carry my camera gear and dig me out on multiple occasions!) and the group was a really fun mix of people who were all friendly, and good skiers and snowboarders! From left to right back to front: Garrett, Roger, Dell, Kieran, Gail, Paula, Allan, Nigel, Ben, Greg, Bruno, Cam, and me. Kieran and Paula are owners and operators of Big Red Cats, so it was neat to see them there too and talk about their operation as well.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

Our group had a pretty fast pace and on one of the days we managed to cover 22,000 vertical feet! Yes, that is for ONE day of skiing! It was surreal to look back up at our tracks.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

At the end of each day, I felt exactly like this dog. I was exhausted. But I was also very, very happy. By the end of the third day I was actually getting my legs underneath me and I think I’ll be a lot more prepared for next time.

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

Nick and Ali Holmes-Smith are the owners and operators of Mustang Powder, and they are one of the nicest couples you will ever meet. I gotta say they have a pretty charmed life with their three girls, dogs, catskiing operation for the winter and summer farm with horses for the summer. Crazy, eh? They invited us back for next year and I CAN’T WAIT!

Mustang Powder Catskiing/Catboarding

It was the end of the season so the entire group of guests plus all the staff said their goodbyes. It was sad when it was over. It was the best snowboarding trip we’ve ever gone on, and without a doubt we’ll be back next year. Stay tuned for videos!


I am also giving away THREE full-day lift tickets courtesy of Grouse Mountain here in Vancouver, BC. You’ll have to use them before the end of the season, but considering the amount of snow we are getting, you could very well have a powder weekend!

What: Three, full-day lift tickets for Grouse Mountain that must be used before April 30, 2010.
How: Just leave a comment on this blog post and you’ll be entered!
When: I will draw the winner on Saturday, April 10th at 10:00 PM. (So you can use them on Sunday if you want)

Good luck, thanks for reading :)

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  1. Sean Says:

    Looks like a cool trip.

  2. Justin Says:

    That sounds like the trip of a lifetime. The closest I’ve come to a trip like that was a kayak trip where we camped on a private island in the middle of Clayoquot Sound, kayaked around exploring, and our guides caught fresh fish for dinner. This seems like the winter version.

  3. J Says:

    Looks stupid I hate it.

  4. Vancity Allie Says:

    Haha that’s because you were supposed to be on the trip, J ;)

  5. Shawn Says:

    Awesome photos Allie! That must have been exhausting in waist deep snow.

  6. Tawcan Says:

    Damn it Allie get it right, it’s called CATSKIING!!! :p

    Looks like a lot of fun. Now you know why backcountry skiing is so appealing… I think it’s a lot more worthwhile than CATSKIING or slackcountry (take lift then head out of bound) because you earn your turns. Makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

  7. Vancity Allie Says:

    Catboarding, catboarding, catboarding! ;)

    Yeah I’ve done a bit of backcountry before, but it’s so much work. I totally think it’s worth it for the amount of fresh tracks you get ;)

    Then again, if I was as fit as you, maybe I would do backcountry more! ;)

  8. Shay Says:


    Such a great write-up with photos! So stoked for your snowboarding ventures this season and can’t wait to see you soon!

  9. NYC_YVR Says:

    ..you pics really make me wanna get into skiing,snowboarding

  10. Ranelle Says:

    Looks like it was a sweet trip!

  11. Lynn Says:


  12. westcoastgrrl Says:

    Allie Where Is This Lodge Located? Looks Like You Guys Had A Great Time..

  13. Rooster Says:

    Looks SICK!!!

  14. LC Says:


  15. Ine Says:

    Waauw thanks for the info on the catboarding! Sounds amazing, definitely on my to do list…

    As for the draw, I would love to be entered for the draw prize!

  16. Mike Says:

    Count me in for the draw! :)

    That catboarding trip is ASTOUNDING. It’s definitely firmly on my list of to-do. Must’ve been like being in your very own snowboarding DVD filming.

  17. louise Says:

    add me in for the draw.

    love your pictures! i went catboarding last year in revelstoke and it was great. i wish we got more glades and open runs (those are the runs i love), our trip was mainly crazy old growth tree runs. it was really intimidating the first couple runs but i felt pretty good about it after warming up. i was even the first tp hit a (small) cliff and got to name it ;)

  18. Anita Says:

    Wow, that looks amazing, so rustic….
    and your food pictures makes me totally want to raid my fridge to make some yummy stuff.

  19. Megan Says:

    That trip looks like it was amazing.

    I’d love to get in some more snowboarding before the season is over, so definitely count me in for the draw.

  20. Rosemarie Says:

    Wow! Pics look amazing Allie! Catboarding is definitely something I would like to try someday! I’m really not looking forward the Summer coming with these pics lol…must snowboard more!

  21. Gail Says:

    You toque on my picture in the hottub looks like an old lady swimming cap! haha. Nice write up, looking forward to more.

  22. Teresa Says:

    Wow, that sounds like so much fun. The picture with all your tracks’ is pretty incredible!

  23. liv Says:

    what a helluva trip Allie! I don’t even snowboard really anymore and I”m jealous. love that the owners of Mustang have a horse farmtoo in the summer. wonder who takes care of the horses in the winter?

    where is this place exactly? would you say this is mostly suited for intermediate/advanced to advanced skiers and snowboarders?

  24. Jacqueline Says:

    How awesome!! wow.. i love the 8th photo down of the mountains and snow, so unbelievable. Don’t enter me in your competition though, cause i’m in Australia and as much as i’d like to, I don’t think i’ll be able to get there somehow :)

  25. Tim Z. Says:

    amazing. i went catboarding for the first time in utah last month and it was great having all that acreage just to our group. although color me jealous, that above-the-treeline terrain… dope

  26. Lisa Says:

    I want to go catboarding!

  27. Nikki Says:

    That looks like an amazing trip! Beautiful scenery, and the food! Oh the food!

  28. Michelle Says:

    wow that looks like so much fun!! im jealous!

  29. Rob B Says:

    Count me in!…. oh and the 11th is sunday btw, not saturday :).

  30. Vancity Allie Says:

    Oops, you’re right. Changed to the correct date, Saturday, April 10th :)

  31. ragjuicecrew Says:

    Wow! Cracking post Allie, fantastic photos and it sounds like a LOT of fun. That lodge looks amazing and from what you are saying the boarding itself is superb. Yet another place to add to my ever expanding must-visit list!

    I always look forward to your snowboarding posts most of all, and judging by what you’ve been saying and the photos you’ve shared the videos of your last few adventures will be great. Can’t wait!

    P.S. You can exclude me from the competition draw as I wouldn’t be able to use the passes, just wanted to comment on the post.

  32. Vinci Says:

    Surreal :) You get to go on the best trips.

  33. Laura Says:

    Great pictures!!
    I’ve never do that, but it looks like a lot of much fun!
    The snow looks so perfect to ride!!

    The place seems so comfortable and the food so yummy too.
    Good for you!

    - Laura

  34. Cristina Says:

    Wow! What a beutiful place! I’d love to take pictures there.
    The snow looks so perfect!

    It has to be a lot of fun but so hard too, right? I’ve skied, but I don’t think I can do that!

    And the rooms and food seems amazing! Food the most!


  35. Steven Says:

    Catboarding looks like fun! I’ll try it next season.

  36. Brianne Says:

    I am a Vancouver-ite, born and raised, and have never been to Grouse. How cool would that be.

  37. Lindsay Says:


  38. Erin Says:

    Your passion for snowboarding and your incredible photos and stories motivates me to get better at it.

  39. Web Design Dave Says:

    Sure I’ll bite! Lift tickets! :)

  40. Vancity Allie Says:

    And the winner is…. #36, Brianne!

  41. Vancity Allie Says:

    (Please e-mail me to pick up the tickets)

  42. Sand Sock Girl Says:

    Whoa! The snow looks like heaven. The photos looks lotsa fun!! I can really tell you had the best trip ever! I would love to be there too, soon.

  43. El Camino Says:

    nice photos.

  44. snowboarding Says:

    looks like an amazing trip!

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This the blog of a 28 year-old Vancouver girl who loves and writes about everything “Vancouver” and West Coast. This is the blog of a girl who works in Vancouver's video game industry, it's also a surfing blog, snowboarding blog, food blog, Canucks blog, gadget blog, and photography blog. VancityAllie.com is an award-winning blog that receives over 2.7M unique visitors every year and over 4,500 followers on Twitter. VancityAllie.com has been featured in books, newspapers, magazines, and television.

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