Yesterday we went to try the Mikuni Cat Ski operation up at Naeba and had a huge amount of fun.
It is billed as "backcountry for everyone", and would be a great introduction to skiers and boarders wanting to try riding outside the resort, but is equally good for the more experienced looking for a great day out.
We met at Naeba Ski Resort and were driven from there to the nearby base. Once everyone is assembled and the gear loaded, it is off to the cat, which is a groomer with a heated box on the back. A short drive takes you to the base of what used to be Mikuni Ski Resort. The lifts have been removed years ago but the empty slopes look inviting above you. A little bit of avalanche beacon explanation and training, and then it is back onboard, and the drive uphill begins.
After that it is run after run, led by the experienced guiding team. Some runs are down the abandoned slopes, other through the trees, and old access roads. We went on a clear. blue sky day (though snow began by the final runs) and there were still untouched fields of snow to play in.
There is no lunch break but food and drinks are snacked on in the cat on the way back up between runs in order to maximise skiing time. I lost count of the number of runs we did but by the end of the day, as we skied several kilometres back down the access road all the way to the car park, it felt like enough!
The Mikuni Cat Ski team make a point of not overselling the level of the backcountry experience, but we think anyone would happy with a day out here. What is not to like? Lots of runs down your own private ski resort with a taxi waiting for you at the bottom to drive you back up to do it all again and again. Great fun and highly recommended.