Snowcat Skiing in the Rockies

Mj 618_348_snowcat skiing in the rockies
Scott Cramer / Getty Images

Nothing says elegantly hardcore like snowcat skiing at Beaver Creek, Colorado’s most luxurious resort. For experienced skiers, the new Perfect Mountain Gentlemen package offers three nights at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek and a full day of cat skiing deep in the Rocky Mountain backcountry with Vail Powder Guides. 

On ski morning, it was dumping snow. We happily dodged CDOT snowplows during the half-hour drive to the Vail Pass Rest Area, where we met our guides. The cat was idling on the snowbank beside the parking lot. The 25-minute ride up snowy forest service roads to Ptarmigan Pass felt a lot like sitting in a school bus – only with a dozen of the school’s best athletes and a touch of vertigo courtesy of the steep angle and frost-obscured windows.

At the top of the pass – 11,700 feet – we disembarked and tested our beacons. The gusty winds above the tree line made everyone even more anxious for the first run. After some final safety reminders from the head guide, we dropped into the glades (one at a time to minimize avalanche risk). Each person cut a fresh set of tracks beside the last person’s, for 700-vertical feet of pristine powder turns. We regrouped at the waiting cat, nestled in a grove of pine trees. Fifteen minutes later, we were back on top of the ridge, unloading for another run

We fit in nine runs in six hours, including a break for lunch in a yurt. Each time, the snowcat explored a new aspect of the pass – Queen Bee, Barbeque, Dale’s Glades –  making every descent pure untracked bliss. As the light started to fade, we loaded one last time into the cat to roll back to the parking lot. Back at the room, a complimentary bottle of top-shelf Scotch from a Colorado distillery capped off what has since become known as the best ski day ever.

More Information: From $939 per person

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