Cat Skiing Europe

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Cat-skiing in the Balkans can be done in North Macedonia & Kosovo, pictured is Pelister & SF Freeride
Cat-skiing in the Balkans can be done in North Macedonia & Kosovo, pictured is Pelister & SF Freeride
Eskimo Freeride cat skiing powder in Macedonia.
Eskimo Freeride cat skiing powder in Macedonia.
Cat skiing in in the Kaçkar mountain of Türkiye opens up a world of possibilities
Cat skiing in in the Kaçkar mountain of Türkiye opens up a world of possibilities
Tree skiing after being dropped off by the cat at Bakhmaro on a stormy day
Tree skiing after being dropped off by the cat at Bakhmaro on a stormy day
Awesome terrain - Eskimo Freeride. Europe
Awesome terrain - Eskimo Freeride. Europe's longest established cat skiing.
Cat skiing during another winter storm in Bakhmaro Georgia
Cat skiing during another winter storm in Bakhmaro Georgia
Powder in Adjara, Georgia with Powderproject
Powder in Adjara, Georgia with Powderproject
Lynx Freeride cat skiing terrain in the Accursed Mountains of Kosovo
Lynx Freeride cat skiing terrain in the Accursed Mountains of Kosovo
On top of the world at Pelister with SF Freeride cat skiing
On top of the world at Pelister with SF Freeride cat skiing
Eskimo Freeride cat skiing.
Eskimo Freeride cat skiing.
Cat Skiing in the Accursed Mountains of Kosovo with Lynx freeride
Cat Skiing in the Accursed Mountains of Kosovo with Lynx freeride
Fabulous modern accommodation in the Pioneers Lodge when cat skiing at Bakhmaro Georgia
Fabulous modern accommodation in the Pioneers Lodge when cat skiing at Bakhmaro Georgia
For a boutique ski adventure, try snowmobile assisted skiing at Ovit Mountain in Turkey
For a boutique ski adventure, try snowmobile assisted skiing at Ovit Mountain in Turkey
Find your inner hound when cat skiing in southwest Georgia
Find your inner hound when cat skiing in southwest Georgia
Go cat skiing with a new operator like Nord Freeride in Kosovo
Go cat skiing with a new operator like Nord Freeride in Kosovo
Cat skiing in Kosovo
Cat skiing in Kosovo
Cat Skiing Bakhmaro.
Cat Skiing Bakhmaro.
Powder in North Macedonia with Eskimo Freeride.
Powder in North Macedonia with Eskimo Freeride.
Visit one of the world
Visit one of the world's best cat ski operations in Bakhmaro & Adjara, Georgia
Off into the sunset at Eskimo Freeride cat skiing.
Off into the sunset at Eskimo Freeride cat skiing.

Cat Skiing Europe

Cat Skiing in 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. And some of the European cat ski adventures rate amongst the best in the world. Whilst we love cats (but we couldn't eat a whole one), we adore cat-skiing in Europe compared to other continents for its affordability and quality of experience in remote parts of the world that we otherwise may never have visited.

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 remote parts of North Macedonia, Georgia, Kosovo, Russia, Türkiye and Ukraine have an added sense of adventure to them also. Click here to see all our European cat skiing packages. Kosovo is rapidly becoming Europe's cat skiing hotspot with 4 operators in 3 different mountain ranges.

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 (one we don’t actually agree with!), 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 will generally be 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 two of the main differences being that cat skiing is much cheaper and operates more often. Heli skiing has many grounded days where the helicopter can’t fly due to the weather. Thankfully snow-cats can still go out in snowstorms, and when the powder is falling is when you most want to be out there freeriding.

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

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 with stress-free access to untracked powder in some of the more interesting parts of the world.

Cats or snowcats are large snow grooming machines that transport up to 14 skiers/snowboarders/guides in a purpose-built rear passenger cabin up into backcountry areas. 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!

Pros & Cons for Cat-Skiing & Cat-Boarding in Europe

Pros

  • The best locations are in high snowfall zones in parts of the world that are often ‘off the beaten track’ in culturally intriguing countries that you may otherwise never visit. If not for cat skiing, would you ever visit the Shar mountains in Nth Macedonia & Kosovo, the Lesser Caucasus in Georgia, the Accursed mountains of Kosovo & Albania, or the Kaçkar mountains in Türkiye? Here’s your chance.
  • All cat ski operators now have modern snowcats with comfortable cabins for safe, reliable uphill transport. (Note that breakdowns can & do occur, but such is life in the mountains).
  • Extensive (& in some places unlimited) off-piste freeride terrain for that includes alpine peaks, bowls, ridges, couloirs, plus pine, birch & larch forest glades and traditional rural landscapes.
  • No lift or restaurant queues, no crowded pistes, no competition for first tracks.
  • Stress free access to untracked snow.
  • Safe off-piste backcountry skiing/riding with local guides that fully understand the local snow & avalanche conditions.
  • All operators provide an exceptional culinary experience vastly different to anything on offer in other European snow destinations (i.e. the Alps, Pyrenees or Scandinavia)(let alone Nth America, Oceania, UK etc).
  • Options exist to have fully private multi-day tours for your own group of friends & family.

Cons

  • Skiable vertical per run and per day may be overall shorter than in the better European ski resorts, but quality usually trumps quantity any day!
  • Village atmosphere can be lacking in most cat skiing locations.
  • Difficult to undertake a trip at the last moment as most cat ski operations are booked out in the peak period well in advance of the season starting.
  • Relatively short operating periods - most (but not all) start in late December/early January and end in mid the late March.

Pro or Con (depending on your perspective!)

  • Can, on the face of it, appear to be an expensive undertaking on a price per person basis, however the inclusion of all meals, accommodation, transfers and guiding (as a minimum), puts the price point into perspective and makes it compare more favourably to alot of holidays in major ski resorts.
  • Après ski may not be as lively as in a ski resort or mountain village, but it is usually a fun, intimate experience with a group of like-minded new friends after a great day of freeriding – what could be better?
  • After dinner entertainment is limited, but you may need your rest after a few BIG mountain freeride days.
  • No groomed trails (unless one counts the cat track!).
  • Not a family or beginner friendly activity. Unless it a fully private group tour, all cat ski operations require reasonable off-piste ski & snowboard skills.

Benefits of Cat Skiing Europe

Where is Cat Skiing in Europe?

Cat-skiing was pioneered in Canada but has struggled to establish itself in western Europe. Hence cat skiing in Europe is a comparative rarity, but it does exist and is actually growing in the east where there is a bit more room to move. Cat ski operations are currently in North Macedonia (three operators), Georgia (one major & several minor operators), Kosovo (4 operators), Russia, Turkey (several options), Albania and Ukraine.

One of the best cat ski experiences in the world is in the Lesser Caucasus mountains of southwest Georgia at Bakhmaro. A well-established operation known for its amazing skiing, super deep snow, safety & exceptional hospitality. Established by a professional Swiss/German crew, Powderproject delivers an exceptional experience for more adventurous skiers & snowboarders. Having run its first season in 2016/17, it quickly coming to terms with its superb terrain, establishing a new base lodge and expanding its number of snow-cats and offerings. In 2019, the Adjara Wolfsbed Mountain Hut was established as a new location in the high alpine zone above Bakhmaro for expert skiers & snowboarders. More recently a completely new zone has been developed called Project X. If you hurry up & visit you can still name your own run!

Also in southwest Georgia, Goderdzi ski resort is further up the valley on the bouncy road past the turn off to Project X. Goderdzi has fun cat skiing, perfect for those just starting in this field of endeavour! Old growth forests and lots of mellow deep powder slopes await. See here for a Goderdzi Cat Skiing tour with our local partners at Vagabond Adventures.

The longest established cat ski operation in Europe is Eskimo Freeride, based in the small mountain village and crumbling ski resort of Popova Sapka, 70km east of Skopje in North Macedonia. Eskimo Freeride cat skiing provides an intriguing ski, nature, gastronomical & cultural experience across 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) of alpine & forest terrain. Eskimo's large number of snowcats and upper mountain bases guarantees the best access to terrain in the region. Best of all is the location in the Shar Mountains, which has some of the most reliable snowfall & deepest snowpack in the Balkans.

Also in North Macedonia is the super fun SF Freeride. Cat-skiing near Pelister ski area and within the Pelister National Park, the crew at SF Freeride know how to get the most out of any powder day with their tree & alpine terrain. Their enthusiasm is infectious, the skiing great, & the food needs to be seen to be believed.

A now well-established player on the block in the highest (& remotest) mountains in Kosovo near the Albanian border is Lynx Freeride. A cosy lodge & excellent food add to the vast terrain exclusively accessible to only one group each week. Also in Kosovo, Dane Freeride has been plying their cat skiing trade since the ski lifts at the once huge Brezovica ski resort starting to stop turning. With terrain in the old resort boundary as well as super long valley runs into local villages, a couple of days in Kosovo with Dane Freeride was one of the more interesting ski experiences the Powderhounds have ever had (& we have had a fair few!).

One of the newest cat ski operations is Nord Freeride, with two nice base lodges in remote valleys on the northern side of the Shar Mountains in Kosovo. The terrain is long but mellow when compared to the options over the border in North Macedonia, but it still provides the kind of experience that will create lasting memories in mountains that will feel like your own private ski/snowboard area.

Another new player in the mechanised ski world is Ovit Mountain Snowmobile Skiing in the Kaçkar Mountains of northeast Türkiye. A remote, high-elevation alpine pass, deep snow, amazing untouched terrain, a boutique hotel, and fast snowmobiles to get you most of the way up the hill, before blissfully silent descents in untracked snow. What could be better!

To the east of Ovit Mountain, in a remoter part of Kaçkar Mountains in Türkiye, Turkey Snowcats has ben operating for a few seasons mow and is looking for adventurers to explore their huge terrain. The boutique hotel, fine food & service make this a bespoke snow destination, perfect for private groups of friends or family.

In the Ukrainian Carpathian mountains, Drahobrat has been a base for cat-skiing for many years. Located in the far west of the country near the borders of Slovakia, Hungary & Romania, Drahobrat is home to several cat ski companies including the experienced Golden Ride crew. Watch this space as we get some of their tours up on Powderhounds once the invasion by the Ruzzians is pushed back for good.

An intriguing cat ski option in the vastness of Siberia, Russia, is run by the Pri Freeride Company out of the small town of Priiskovy (or Priiskovoe), a 6hr drive from the closest major city of Krasnoyarsk. Pri Freeride cat skiing has been running since 2007 and operates 5 snowcats. Winter comes early at Priiskovy, with premium cat-skiing conditions already in early November and lasting well into May and sometimes June. All the splendid isolation of a classic Canadian cat-ski operation, but in Siberia. What could be more adventurous? But whilst the invasion of Ukraine is ongoing, we are not supporting businesses in Russia. Let's hope they survive.

Snowcat Skiing Safety

The discipline of cat skiing/boarding is not without risks considering that it occurs in the remote backcountry. Avalanches are one of the primary hazard concerns in the back-country 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. All cat skiing participants must wear an avalanche beacon and carry a safety pack with shovel, probe and (usually) an airbag.

More Reasons to Go Cat Skiing in Europe

If want to experience something different in a more remote part of Europe, try a week of cat-skiing. Most of the cat ski operations are discovering new territory in high snowfall zones where untracked powder is the rule, not the exception. From an affordability point of view, cat skiing and cat boarding is a fantastic alternative to heli-skiing, and usually experiences more days of operation AND better snow conditions from top to bottom!

Another reason to go cat-skiing in the Balkans, Georgia or Türkiye is for the food experience. Dine like you have never dined before!

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! Wonder how long it will take us to get the name changed to dog-skiing. Time will tell!

European Cat Skiing Tours & Packages
Cat Skiing Bakhmaro
GUIDED BACKCOUNTRY CAT SKIING
8 Days | 7 Nights | 6 Days Cat Skiing
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Ultimate European cat-skiing experience at Bakhmaro Georgia, with amazing snow, terrain, food & lodging. Includes transfers, 7 nights lodging, all meals plus 6 days of guided cat skiing in the snowiest part of the Caucasus. Join a tour as a group or solo from December to late March ....
Price p/p From price based on 7 nights twin-share in low season.
Base/invoice currency is in Euro ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 3,024
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Catski Wolfsbed Hut Adjara
GUIDED CAT SKIING FOR EXPERTS
8 Days | 7 Nights | 6 Days Cat Skiing
Ability: Expert
A true European powder cat skiing adventure, Catski Wolfsbed Hut Adjara in Georgia explores expert only terrain near the famous Bakhmaro. Tour includes transfers, 7 nights lodging in a ski-in ski-out alpine hut, all meals plus 6 days of guided cat skiing in the snowiest part of the Caucasus. Join as a group or solo ...
Price p/p From price based on transfers, 7 nights in Wolfsbed Hut, all meals & 6 days guided cat skiing in low season.
Base/invoice currency is in Euro ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 2,700
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Lynx Freeride Cat Skiing Packages
BACKCOUNTRY CAT SKIING PACKAGES
8 Days | 7 Nights | 6 Days Cat Skiing
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Let the Balkans adventure begin with Lynx Freeride cat skiing in Kosovo. Amazing powder ski packages in the Accursed Mountains with 6 full days of cat skiing & snowboarding inclusive of accommodation & all meals. Join a fixed date tour or organise a private tour with your own group of friends ......
Price p/p From price based on 8-day fixed date package during low season, twin share accommodations
Base/invoice currency is in EUR inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 3,024
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Nord Freeride Cat Skiing Packages
GUIDED CAT SKIING PACKAGE
4 or 8 Days | 4 or 7 Nights | 3 or 6 Days Cat Skiing
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Nord Freeride offers great terrain on the north side of the Sharr Mountains in Kosovo, with descents over 1,000m vertical plus tree skiing. Week packages run from Sunday to Sunday & include 6 full days of cat skiing, all meals & drinks, transfers & accommodation. Go solo or in a group & join a 4 or 8-day tour ...
Price p/p From price based on 8-day Sunday to Sunday package, twin share
Base/invoice currency is in EUR inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 1,809
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Eskimo Freeride Cat Skiing Packages
CUSTOMISED CAT SKIING PACKAGES
7 Days | 6 Nights | 6 Cat Skiing Days
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Europe's longest running cat skiing operator, Eskimo Freeride offers customised, multi-day, cat ski & snowboard packages in the Shar Mountains of Nth Macedonia, incl. guiding, safety equipment, accom & all meals. Choose your own dates & duration to get the best conditions. Add ski hire, transfers & a night in Skopje...
Price p/p From price based on 7-day package which includes 6 days cat skiing & 6 nights lodging in low season (pre 15th Jan & post 20th Mar) (2024 rates)
Base/invoice currency is in EUR inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 1,458
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See all Europe Cat Skiing Tours Here