What type of skier should you be?
Guests must be, at minimum, strong intermediate skiers or expert snowboarders capable of dealing with deep powder snow in the backcountry. A visit to Mustang Powder will usually entail skiing both open bowls and steep tree runs. Powder skis make skiing deep snow much easier for any skier; however, you will still need a certain level of expertise. Should guests arrive who are not able to keep up with the group, we reserve the right to restrict them from skiing/boarding. No refunds will be available for these guests.
We also try to organize groups that have similar abilities, however this is not always easy or possible. The best way to ensure that you are with compatible skiers is to organize a whole group.
How steep are the runs?
Within our ski area we have a lot of both steep and moderate terrain.
During a typical day you will likely do a variety of runs. We will generally work our way to the far reaches of our area, and then work our way home again. Rarely do we do more than just a few laps in the same area. Please be aware that the stability of the snow sometimes dictates the terrain that we can ski.
How many runs do we ski per day?
We normally ski 12-17 runs per day. On the first day of your ski holiday you will likely ski approximately 15,000 – 20,000 vertical feet (due to the morning safety briefing, beacon search and snow cat safety talk). On subsequent days you will ski between 18,000 and 23,000 vertical feet, our record is 23,800.At Mustang Powder we have high speed snowcats this means that it is not uncommon to ski over 20,000 vertical feet in one day. We have a philosophy of giving our guests full ski days (about 8 hours). If you are not sufficiently fit, it is no problem for you to sit-out some runs (and ride down in the front of the cat with the driver).
How many days should I come for?
This depends on your fitness and budget. We mainly schedule 3 and 4 day trips. Due to our remoteness, anything shorter is just too short! We do however recommend that you arrive in the area a day or so early and ski one of the local resorts. (Revelstoke, Silver Star, Big White or Sun Peaks). This is prudent since cancelled/late flights, closed highways and lost luggage are unfortunately a reality of winter travel. Guests traveling from the East should also be aware that occasional highway closures due to avalanche control work could prevent you from arriving at our meeting place on time.
What about snowboarders & telemark skiers?
We welcome everyone to come and enjoy snowcat skiing and boarding with us. Snowboarders and telemark skiers need to be accomplished, experienced and able to handle all backcountry conditions including treed terrain. In short, you need to be an expert. Our guides do their best to accommodate all our guests. There will, however, be times when traversing and even climbing uphill, will be necessary. Collapsible poles that can be stowed in a small pack are recommended for snow boarders.
What is the weather like? When should I come?
Mustang Powder Lodge is located in the Monashee Mountain Range – a very snowy location! In our alpine elevations we receive and average of 60 feet of snow between October and June every year. At our lodge site elevation we receive 30 feet of snow in our four month operating season (early December to early April).
In December and January you can generally expect the daytime temperatures to be in the -5 to -15 Celsius range; in February and March you can expect temperatures from 0 to -10 Celsius. This is only a rough guide and it is important to realize that mountain weather can change rapidly and vary significantly from historical averages. For example, prior to mid February we sometimes get brief periods of very cold arctic air with temperatures in the range of -20 to -30 Celsius. Please be prepared for all mountain weather conditions, no matter what time of year you book with us. Well over 90% of the time you will encounter good or excellent snow and weather conditions. Occasionally, due to warm weather and/or rain, the conditions are not that great and on the odd occasion, conditions are just plain BAD. Our policy is to keep snowcat skiing whatever the conditions are like and to try and have fun no matter what. Please accept the fact that we cannot control the weather, and no refunds/rain checks are given for bad weather.
Good and bad conditions can happen at any time during the season. We cannot tell you when to book, or guarantee you fantastic snow on any particular date. To help you make a decision, see Mustang’s historic weekly averages for temperature, snowfall and total snowpack during our four month catskiing season. For current weather information in the region, please go to the Weather Links section of our Guest Downloads and Links page.
Do I bring my own skis?
Yes, if you have good fat skis and are travelling by car, you can bring them if you want. Otherwise, no, at Mustang Powder we have a huge selection of high-performance powder ski rentals. With many airlines now charging to bring skis on a flight, it makes sense to leave your skis at home and use some of ours that were built to ski in deep-powder.
What should I bring?
- Flashlight (headlamp style is best). Have it ready when you arrive at our trailhead parking lot – it is dark and remote.
- Good warm outdoor snowboots or insulated gumboots. Put these on once you arrive at the Skyline truck stop – you will be in snow from here onwards.
- Casual clothes and slippers for the lodge.
- A small unbreakable thermos for tea at lunchtime in the snowcat.
- Bathing suit for hot tub.
- Snow boots, ski goggles, gloves, helmet and normal ski clothes that are suitable for all conditions and temperatures – snow boots and warm clothes should be packed at the top of your bag ready for the trip up the mountain.
- Ski Boots – we recommend that you take them on the airplane with you as carry on luggage as we do not rent boots at the lodge and will be unable to help you out if anything goes wrong.
- Guests participating in the Small Groups Steep Chutes program will require extra gear. Please read Small Groups, Steep Chutes
We require all guests to carry a pack containing a collapsible avalanche shovel and probe. Bringing your own is not mandatory as we do have ‘guest packs’ available at the lodge.
What should I NOT bring?
We recommend that you do not bring a briefcase full of business/office homework. However, if you must keep on working, we do have wireless internet at the lodge. Starting this year we are asking guests to go to the mezzanine area or their room for computer/mobile device use, and to refrain from using these in the bar/dining room area. To encourage social interaction, and discourage digital introversion.
Do I need to sign a waiver?
Yes, Mustang Powder is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable experience. Nevertheless, skiing and boarding in a backcountry mountain environment exposes participants to inherent risks. Guests must be prepared to accept these risks. All guests must read and sign a Release of Liability and Waiver of Claims Agreement before the start of a holiday at Mustang Powder. Be sure to review the waiver prior to your holiday and contact us if you have any questions. *Liability & Waiver of Claims (PDF).
*SAMPLE DOCUMENT FOR PERUSAL ONLY – WAIVER MUST BE FILLED OUT IN THE PRESENCE OF A MUSTANG POWDER EMPLOYEE*
How much should I tip?
It is customary in the Heli and Cat industry for the guests to leave a tip for the staff (if you feel that you have had good service). It is not mandatory. Last season the average tip was $100/per guest/day. So for a 4 day holiday that would be $400. Some guests leave larger tips and some guests are less wealthy and leave a smaller tip. Anything is very much appreciated.
The tips are spread evenly among all staff (20 staff members are at the lodge during your stay), since there are many people behind the scenes, making your holiday fun and pleasant (mechanics, dishwasher, housekeeper etc.). Tips can be given in cash, or on your credit card at the end of you stay.
Can I leave earlier if I have to?
Mustang is a VERY remote lodge and logistics are challenging and often extremely difficult. We do guest exchanges with snowcats or helicopter, but to get a single person out to civilization by snowmobile is usually difficult, and often impossible via snowmobile since they get stuck if it snowing lots. Snowcats or a helicopter can make it out much easier. Furthermore we only get our access road ploughed for guest exchange dates, and it is often impassable on other days (if it snowing lots). So the answer is yes, but only if you pay for a helicopter to come in and pick you up. The price would be slightly less than $1,000 CAD.