As any mountaintop veteran can tell you, skiing can be difficult at the best of times. Adding a curious Canadian lynx to the mix makes it an even more interesting challenge, as skiers at Big White Ski Resort in Kelowna, British Columbia recently discovered.
To the credit of both the skiers heading downslope and the ones filming the adventurous feline, everyone manages to keep their cool – including the lynx, who saunters over to other side of the ski trail without incident (and without getting any closer to the skiers than either human or cat would like).
The same lynx was later spotted staring down a camera nearby.
Though a lynx is certainly not the first thing you might expect to encounter on the ski slopes, local residents are hardly strangers to a wandering tuft-eared cat or two. Even the mayor of the neighbouring city of West Kelowna has reported seeing a lynx (perhaps the same one) elsewhere on the mountain.
"Saw one last week at Snowpines on Serwa," Findlanter told local news outlet Eagle Valley News.
Outside of ski areas, Canadian lynx (Lynx canadensis) are quite common across their namesake country, and parts of the United States. The felines are closely related to another wild cat they share territory with: the bobcat (Lynx rufus). The two are regularly mistaken for each other in sightings, but there are some noticeable differences in appearance. Local wildlife expert Patrick Mark Mulligan notes that the cat on the ski slope was definitely a lynx.
"Even though lynx and bobcat look similar – same genus – they do have differences. The lynx is bigger, longer tuffs, legs, paws and body," Mulligan told Eagle Valley News. "This beauty looks like a Canadian lynx. Bobcats are more compressed, with similar markings."
Like most cats, Canadian lynx are curious creatures, which can lead to run-ins with humans, especially when development projects encroach on lynx habitat, as we've reported before. And though they're much smaller than cats like mountain lions, and generally not aggressive towards people, they're still wild animals – so if you happen to spot a lynx on a ski trip, be sure to give it a wide berth.
Top header image: Marty Mellway/Flickr