Outdoors: Powder Made Easy

November 2012

A funny thing happens at the bottom of a powder slope: You’ll do almost anything to get back to the top for a repeat.

In the backcountry, powder-hounds like me push through fatigue to feel another adrenaline rush. At the resort, we blow off bosses and even friends when they stand between us and an untracked stash. But on Buffalo Pass, where Steamboat Powdercats operates, all you have to do is climb aboard a heated snowcat for easy transport atop pristine slopes and let the guides show you to the softest pockets. They even hook you up with powder skis or snowboards.

Steamboat Powdercats has perfected the powder day because they’ve had time to fine-tune the details. The snowcat operation turns 30 years old this season. But back in 1983, when Jupiter Jones and his wife, Barbara, founded the operation, all they knew was that they craved powder—and others did, too. Fresh from their first heli-ski trip in Canada, the Joneses had become addicted to lapping the untracked. So they bought a snowcat, hired some friends as guides, and obtained a permit for 10,000 acres on Buffalo Pass, which sees more snow than anyplace else in Colorado.

Scads of cats now operate across the state, from Copper to Monarch, but three decades ago, snowcat skiing was in its infancy (only Aspen offered cat tours). Back then, clients used skinny skis that dove like submarines beneath the snow, where they tended to split company and leave the rider encased in neck-deep snow. These days, powder skiing is easier than ever. Technological advances in ski and snowboard design make planks float-y and easy to turn, and Steamboat Powdercats buys the newest and best for their clients’ use.

Their cats come equipped with cushioned seats, heaters, snacks—even an iPod dock, so a stoke-inducing soundtrack accompanies your ride uphill. The company even sends out a photographer to capture your best moments, and gifts you with a free CD filled with drool-worthy images you can use to inspire envy and awe among your co-workers.

To celebrate how far they’ve come, Steamboat Powdercats is planning an anniversary party on December 19. Details will be announced on the company website, but it's certain to get you pumped for the ’12-13 season.

For more information, contact Steamboat Powdercats at 970-879-5188.

—Image courtesy of Steamboat Powdercats