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A group of guests pose for a group shot before heading out for a brilliant day of cat skiing with Island Lake Lodge.
MIKE MCPHEE/Special to SnowSeekers
FERNIE, BC — You know you are somewhere incredible when every time you turn around you have to remember to pick your jaw up off the ground. Island Lake Lodge, located just on the outskirts of Fernie, British Columbia, is just such a place.
It was the setting for a recent powder-fueled binge which turned out to be the setting for some of the best turns of my life. And the Kodak moments are some of the best you’ll ever find.
It was more than 20 years ago that the foundation for this premier cat ski operation was laid by some of the biggest names in snow sports. Legendary snow sport athletes, Craig Kelly and Scott Schmidt were so impressed with the terrain and the opportunities, they were constantly up there, not only shredding but filming and taking lots of photos.
That coverage quickly travelled the globe and for marketing manager, Mike McPhee that was all he needed to see to get him into the business.
“It was twenty-odd years ago while I was living in Winnipeg where I first saw those photos. They really helped lead me into this business,” said McPhee, who is now truly ‘living the dream,’ and in addition to his duties of promoting Island Lake Lodge to the world, he also operates under the moniker of ‘McPhoto’ creating images that may help inspire aspiring photographers.
“It’s really about the terrain here,” explains McPhee. “Island Lake offers 10 powder bowls.”
We hit into bowls named FaceShots or Geisha that offered up incredible fall lines transport us into the next hemisphere of euphoria.
Expect face-washin' powder when you plan to go skiing or snowboarding with Island Lake Lodge Cat Skiing.
MIKE MCPHEE/Special to SnowSeekers
“This place is the best, I wouldn’t come anywhere else,” said Matt Singer, owner of Edmonton’s Mission Snowboards. “In addition to some epic terrain, you have a staff who are so incredible, I am not sure if you noticed but within 10 minutes of arriving everyone knows and remembers your name. That’s impressive,” said Singer, who was making his fourth visit to Island Lake.
We didn’t get to hit it on this adventure, but Singer was reflecting back on a run he took here called Woody off Mount Baldy.
“That was the best runs of my life, in through these perfectly spaced trees, where you think that you are at the bottom and done, but then there are another 10 turns and then another 10 turns – it never ends!”
Back in the cat, the chatter was all about the who and what of this area, and of course, the huge lines that were everywhere. That’s one of the greatest things for me about cat skiing, the drive back up gives you time to reflect and savour the moments. Next to savoruing those moments, the other half the fun is looking out of the cat on the way back up and staring at your lines, it's a very eye opening sight.
For your own look at what you are in for, click here to be taken to the Google Earth section of Island Lake Cat Skiing’s website which shows you just what you are in for. For more information on Island Lake, a place that National Geographic Traveler names as one of the top places to stay on the globe, visit www.islandlakecatskiing.com.
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