With more than 431,000 followers on Instagram, there’s no cat more recognizable through the Canadian Rockies than Gary the Cat, who took a little trip west of his hometown of Canmore to ski Kicking Horse Mountain Resort recently.
Gary is a seven-year-old rescue who’s been spotted through the Rocky Mountains for the past several years skiing, hiking and paddling with his human, James Eastham, a former ski patroller at Nakiska Ski Resort.
Eastham and Gary took in some views at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, as a part of a larger tour of Resorts of the Canadian Rockies mountains, which includes Kimberley Alpine Resort and Fernie Alpine Resort.
“We got to meet quite a few of the staff up at the hill, everyone was pretty stoked to meet Gary and say ‘hi,’” Eastham says.
“It’s not every day that you get to see a cat on the ski hill, plus he is pretty cute.”
Eastham says that Gary’s journey as an adventure cat first began when he persistently tried to escape their home in Canmore.
He says he had his concerns over the life expectancy of free-roaming cats in mountain towns, where many pets can run into wildlife like bears or other cats, which is when he decided to start leash training.
Initially, he started with shorter walks around the neighbourhood until Gary got comfortable and slowly progressed to longer adventures.
Now, the duo is a staple of the Rockies, with other adventurers reacting with glee when he’s spotted on the trails.
“Now he screams at me if we don’t get enough outside time,” Eastham says.
“People love to point him out on the chairlift or grab a selfie-and give him a little scratch.
“And I’m always happy to stop and chat with people and Gary is pretty willing to say hi.”
Eastham says the duo enjoyed their time at Kicking Horse, despite the cold weather.
“The snow is amazing and the hill is wonderful,” Eastham says. “And Gary makes a pretty good scarf out there.”
Gary wears a dog coat to stay warm, and a special pair of goggles that are also intended for canine companions, as shredder cats are still few and far between.
When he’s on the slopes, Eastham says that Gary likes to stay engaged and take in the world.
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