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Chatter Creek Snowcat Skiing

Chatter Creek SnowCat Skiing operates in a 238 sq. km area on the western flank of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, just east of Kinabasket Lake, north of Bush Arm and south of the Sullivan River. The Kitchen Range lies in the western portion of the Chatter Creek tenure and Stovepipe Mountain and part of Vertebrae Ridge also lie within it. Chatter Creek's Vertebrae Lodge sits near the confluence of Spruce Creek and Chatter Creek, quite central to the tenure.

The Chatter Creek ski terrain has recently increased by 108 sq. km. The additional terrain came in two parts, the Lakeside Addition lying to the west, between the original tenure and Kinbasket Lake and the Spruce Pass Addition lying north of the original tenure.

Guests arrive at Vertebrae Lodge by helicopter flight from Golden, BC. On each day of a 3- or 4-day tour, guests ride in three independent snowcats, each group with its own guides, fanning out from the lodge to ski and ride different parts of the tenure. Scroll down for a tour of the Chatter Creek ski terrain.

Click any image to enlarge it. Use the browser's "Back Buttom to return. Many images will expand to fill your screen so use a large window.     Underlined text may be a link to other information.
Glacier Skiing at Chatter Creek
The view east and north from Vertebrae Glacier.     Photo by Christopher Stratas.

Chatter Creek Cat Skiing Terrain

From SX3 and MCO to the Clamshell on Chatter Creek's South and West Sides
Parts of West Side & South Side Terrain.          Click to enlarge.
The Chatter Creek ski terrain is accessed by five cat road networks. These start at Vertebrae Lodge and fan out to the extremidies of the tenure. Follow the links below to view photographs and descriptions of the skiing areas and runs serviced by these road networks. To find information about a particular ski run or ski area at Chatter Creek, refer to our Ski Run Index.

Chatter Creek is grateful to Steve Neill of Alpenglow Aviation of Golden, for much of the aerial photography presented here.

The five road networks are:
A. South Side Super Road : leaving Vertebrae Lodge, the road climbs to MCO, passes branches to Elbow Drive, RUZM Gully and the Gong Show and continues to South Park, Lakeview and Harbourview. There are also branches to SX3 and SX2. Click the link to take a tour.

B. West Side and Oyster Bowl Road : leaving Vertebrae Lodge, the road rises through the Staff Trees and the lower Table and then climbs through the Clamshell bowl to the Pearl, which is the col at the top of the ridge to the west of the lodge. In the Clamshell, a branch crosses the bowl northward to Forbidden Fruit and the Plank. At the Pearl, the road crosses to the west of the ridge and into Oyster Bowl in the new Lakeside Addition. In Oyster Bowl the road branches north to Game Creek and south to three more large watersheds in the Lakeside Addition.

C. Lodge Ridge Road : leaving Vertebrae Lodge, the road climbs the south end of Lodge Ridge to its crest, which it follows north to a point beyond Spruce Pass on the east and close to the Chatter glacier on the west. The road services Mommy's Run and Crystal Lite to the east and Dewar's Bowl and the Chatter Creek watershed to the west.

D. Road to Vertebrae Glacier : leaving Vertebrae Lodge, the road traverses Lodge Ridge to the Spruce Creek gully, between Lodge Ridge and the Megahooped Trees. Beyond the trees, a branch forks north to Spruce Pass. The main road turns back and climbs above the trees, where a second branch forks south to Mullet Bowl and Steph's Thumb. It then continues to climb Stovepipe Mountain, crossing the whole slope between Jo-pal and Megahooped, and skirts a ridge to pass onto the Windlip, north of Jo-Pal. Near the top of the Windlip, the road turns north through the Keyhole and onto the Plateau at the top of Vertebrae glacier. Before the Keyhole, a branch of the road forks to continue to the top of the Windlip and a pass-through to Jo-Pal. On the Plateau, a branch of the road turns southeast to cross the glacier.

E. East Ridge Super Road : leaving Vertebrae Lodge, the road passes south across the Home Run cut block and onto the flank of East Ridge. The road traverses the west side of East Ridge as it climbs to the crest, at it's south end, which is called the Nose. From the Nose, the road reverses direction and climbs the crest of the East Ridge north to a point on Super Spruce, high above and a little south of the Megahooped Trees.

This Ski Weblog (blog) is part of the Chatter News family of blogs about snowcat skiing at Chatter Creek. Use the links above to view the cat skiing terrain serviced by each of the five major Chatter Creek road networks. If you're looking for a particular Chatter Creek ski run or zone, or any Chatter Creek name, try our Ski Run Index.

Ski Photography by John Dougall
Ski Photograpy by John Dougall - photos of Chatter Creek cat skiing guests out enjoying great powder skiing.

Glacier Skiing at Chatter Creek
Glacier skiing on the Vertebrae glacier. The backdrop is Stovepipe Mountain. At almost 10,000 ft, it is the highest point in the Chatter Creek tenure. Click any Chatter News image to enlarge it, use the browser's "Back" button to return.

A Perspective on Terrain

The Chatter Creek tenure has increased in size from 50 sq. miles to 92 sq. miles, or about 238 sq. km. At any one time, this area is shared by 36 skiers and boarders and 6 guides.

By comparison, the area of Whistler-Blackcomb is about 33 sq. km., Vail has about 22 sq. km. and Squaw Valley has about 16 sq. km. (ref). Hence, the Chatter Creek tenure will be over three times the size of Whistler-Blackomb, Vail and Squaw Valley combined.

This huge area permits Chatter Creek to consistently provide high quality powder skiing and "fresh tracks" through long periods of drought. As dry, snowless periods draw on, snow on south- and west-facing slopes become sun- and wind-crusted and only the north-facing slopes retain the light powder snow that Chatter Creek is famous for. In 2005, there was a 5 week drought without snow. However, Chatter Creek was able to provide great skiing every day, right to the end. The new addition to the tenure will ensure this capability through even longer periods without snowfall.

See our Ski Run Index for detailed information and photos for each ski run and ski area at Chatter Creek.
Powder Skiing at Chatter Creek Cat Skiing
Click to enlarge.