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People Are Taking Their Cats Skiing. We’ll Just Leave That One Here…

If you’ve been backcountry skiing, you may have seen dogs bounding after their owners on the slopes. Maybe you’ve even seen ski patrol dogs at work at the resort. But a cat? Carving turns? 

These days, more people are bringing their cats with them on outdoor adventures, said Canadian skier and cat dad James Eastham in a recent interview with Shaw Spotlight. That includes skiing.

Eastham started taking his own cat, Gary, backcountry touring with him several years ago. He’d noticed that whenever he left the house, Gary would meow loudly at the door. So, one day, Eastham put him on a leash and brought him along. Pretty soon, Gary was joining Eastham on all sorts of adventures, riding in the front of the boat during paddling trips and perching on Eastham’s shoulders while he skied. 

Eastham ultimately started posting photos of Gary online. Today, the white-and-gray fluffball has garnered nearly 500,000 Instagram followers and has become something of a local celebrity in the Canadian Rockies. 

Gary isn’t the only feline shredder on the Internet, though. Libechen, an orange tabby based in Aspen, Colorado, has risen to a similar level of stardom. The cat accompanies his owner, Erin Geldermans, on skiing, hiking, and stand-up paddle boarding trips and now has 190,000 Instagram followers to show for it. 

Both cats wear miniature coats and goggles on the slopes to protect them from the elements. Gary even has his own ski pass

Of course, it’s hard to take just any cat skiing and expect them to get the hang of it—or even like it—right away. Eastham and Gary spent several years mastering leash-walking, then hiking, then skiing in a slow, careful progression.

“You have to be really in tune with your cat and understand what they need and what they want to be able to do this sort of thing,” Eastham noted in the Spotlight interview. That said, it’s not impossible. There are plenty of online resources and communities these days for people with adventurous cats. And, of course, there are plenty of social media celebs to look up to—Gary and Liebchen included.  

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