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Powder Addiction Snow Cat

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 


Despite an unstable snow pack and a relatively bad snow year, Powder Addiction out of the Village at Winter Park served up a Delicious helping of whipped cream powder on Jones Pass for us this week.


The day started at 7:40 as we gathered with a couple of other folks at Powder Addiction's office in the Village at Winter Park. We loaded a van and drove the 20 or so minutes over Berthoud Pass to the Jones Pass parking lot just above Berthoud Falls. There we met up with more clients and guides and transferred to the very nice snow-cat for our first ride up. The excitement and nerves were palpable. (At least my nerves were!)


First of all, the territory where they operate is stunning in its beauty. Mostly high alpine, it is a very large cirque, reminding us a little of the top of Silverton with dramatic peaks and endless fields of pillowy looking snow and the occasional winding stream bed below.


Jamie Wolter, who used to be with Berthoud Pass when it still operated is the proprietor and lead guide, or Ski Boss. He has an infectious enthusiasm for what he does and that translates to all his guides. At the same time, it is obvious that safety is his main concern. In this bad snow-pack year, that was very comforting to us.


The first run was a relatively quick ride up and down in an open bowl, most likely to get the jitters out of the clients and not keep them in the cat too long for the first go. The snow was completely untracked and creamy smooth. It is the first few clips on the video. Then we went back up for the signature run between "Kittie's Ears" a perfect moniker for a couple of rock outcroppings. After that we did a few more until they took us through a some widely spaced trees (couldn't really call it a 'tree run') and we all loved it so much we did it three times. And each time the tracks were fresh, it was so big.


To give a sense of scale, Jamie said their territory is 2800 acres for 12 skiers vs. Winter Park/Mary Jane at 3300 acres for thousands in a day.


Lunch was provided by Back Bowl soup and sandwich company, whose proprietor Woody joined us. We did not stop for lunch as everyone was having so much fun, so we just nibbled on the rides up. The sandwiches were excellent and not the usual fare.


The day ended after 9 glorious runs and a ride back to HQ for a free beer in celebration.


I should add that six of the guests were women, which was really nice. All of them wonderful skiers and great fun. To a person, everyone was enthusiastic, fun, nice, smart, making for a truly joyous day.


Highly recommend Powder Addiction!



post #2 of 8

Thanks! I'm hitting that next Saturday...

post #3 of 8

Chip is another proprietor and he's a super nice guy.   I hope the best for them!

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Me too Shred. That's why I posted. Hope they stay in Business.


Here are a few snapshots that show a bit of the scenery.

The first two are of Kitties Ears and you can see why it's called that...


It's supposed to snow steady for the week so you should have a great day Habacomike.





post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

TR Habacomike?


With hurricane force winds for several days, finding safe and good snow will have been a challenge. But I suspect Jamie pulled through for you. Sure hope so. Anyhow, I am certain that with the bluebird skies, the views will have been spectacular.

post #6 of 8

Sorry for the delay in the post.  I was wrong about the date of my trip, but not that wrong:  it was Sunday instead of Saturday.  All week long, I thought we were going to be okay as my favorite weather forecaster, Joel Gratz of OpenSnow.com, was predicting a dump for Saturday night.  Unfortunately, the storm tracked north, Joel modified his forecast, and the Jones Pass area received little, if any, snow.  It did, however, receive a lot of wind.  Did I say a lot of wind?  That's right, a lot of wind.


The day before our sojourn, the wind was so fierce that clients were being blown over on the couple of short (5 minute) hikes they did.  One client had the skis blown off of his shoulder and down the hill.  The wind was still howling, but a less intense pace (what we would call a gentle breeze when I grew up in Wyoming) when we arrived and for the first couple of runs, but diminished through the day.


Even so, the wind had done it's damage.  The first few runs were in the high alpine country of Jones Pass.  There were two conditions:  polished bowling ball, and scoured wind lips.  Oh, and a bit of wind affected soft snow, with a smidgeon of soft snow in the few trees at the bottom of the runs.


As the day progressed, we worked our way to more northerly exposures.  These had a bit more wind affected snow that was soft.  It was ok skiing, but not quite what we hoped for.  All in all, we had a good trip, and enjoyed it.  Just wished we had better conditions.


PA provided skis for us.  All of us selected Liberty double helix skis.  At 121 under foot, they were the wrong tool for the conditions.  The traverses were tiring with such a wide ski underfoot.  These skis ski more or less like lunch trays in anything other than soft snow.  I wished all day that I had brought my own skis, the ones I had left in the trunk of my car at the Park and Ride.  Needless to say, none of my posse will be looking to acquire these skis.  They are, in my opinion, one of the worst skis I've skied on.  Last year, one of my buddies and I skied on a pair of Armada JJ's for our Aspen cat trip.  They were a much better ski, even skiing hard bumps in Franklin Dump on the way down the mountain.


What did impress me was the terrain that Powder Addiction has to work with.  It is more interesting than the terrain that Aspen has for it's cat skiing operation.  My buddies and I will try again when the conditions might be better.



post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Oh so sorry! if you'd just been able to wait one day...


The wind has been outrageous indeed.


A ski patroller who's worked the Jane for 36 years said he's never seen a winter like this one. There have been 5 wind events with winds over 100 mph and one event over 140. (that's equivalent to a level 4 hurricane!) The blow downs on top of Winter Park and Vasquez Ridge are so sad to see. As if the forest hasn't had enough with the bark beetle, now the wind comes and takes down even the green trees.


Hiking in the Rockies this summer may be a risky proposition! (do I hear "timberrrr!"?)

post #8 of 8
It was still a good day. Just not what we expected (or hoped).

I'm now at Steamboat -- there's lots of snow here!

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