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cat skiing utah or sw colorado

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
i'm a single skiier looking to snowcat in either utah or colorado in a couple weeks. I want to ski steep challenging terrain.
can anyone recommend an operation in these areas they've really liked.
looking at snowcat-powder.com...
post #2 of 11
Thread Starter 
another question is, do people think it is worth booking a trip like this 2 weeks out, or should i keep my options open to try and get a powder day at alta for example?
post #3 of 11
I've been looking at a day there too. As far as Colorado snowcat operations go El Diablo or San Juan Snowcats have the best snow this year. You should be okay booking in advance...the southern part of the state has had consistent big snowfalls this year. I've heard that SJS has better terrain...but I've seen video of El Diablo that looks pretty good. We hit SJS late season and despite the fact that the snow wasn't so great, everyone had an awesome time.

We also looked at Utah operations last year...much less to choose from but when you get 500 inches inbounds at the resorts, I can kind of understand that they have fewer snowcat operations. We opted to do the Ski Utah Interconnect (guided backcountry between the resorts) and all four of us thought is was a complete waste.
post #4 of 11
Monarch has a cat skiing operation also in southern Colorado. It is reputed to have challenging terrain and is pretty cheap. but you do have to book in advance because the cats fill up. you are in a good position being a single though. http://www.skimonarch.com/snowcat_tours.asp
post #5 of 11
Almost forgot, about half way down on this page I have a few photos from our San Jaun Snowcats trip:


Nothing spectacular, but may give you a feel for some of the terrain. Also keep in mind this was late season.
post #6 of 11
Definitely the San Juans this year. Utah just hasn't had the snow they usually get. The San Juans are buried in it and keep getting more. The 'Juans are also a great mountain range for skiing/riding.
post #7 of 11
I have skied with both El Diablo or San Juan Snowcats, and I'm also familiar with their terrain from backcountry skiing. If you are looking for "steep challenging" terrain I don't think either of these outfits ski anything real steep or with much vertical per run except in the Spring when the snowpack goes isothermal. SJ has a lot of skiing in tight trees, and ED has very open terrain exposed to sun and wind. They can both have good snow and fun skiing but the runs tend to be very short (less than 1,000 vert.) so you spend a lot of time getting in and out of the cat. I don't mean to be negative because both outfits can offer some good turns, but if your expectations are based on cat skiing in Canada or Alaska where you get 2,000+ vert runs in very steep terrain (because of the less avalanche prone snowpack) it is definitely a different experience.

Monarch also has short runs but steeper terrain. I tried but never managed to ski with them, although I have hiked and skied some of their terrain and from what I saw it looked pretty nice.
post #8 of 11
San Juan website says they are "closed for the 2006-2007 snow season." presume that to mean they are already booked.

Mudfoot are you thinking about the San Juan Skiing company snowcat tours out of Durango? They are known to be less steep and more treed. But that's an option too since the other San Juan out of Creede, CO is booked up. http://www.sanjuanski.com/
post #9 of 11
I was referring to the San Juan cat ski operation in Durango. We tried to go with the one in Creede late last year and they were closed, not booked up. Don't know their status this year
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
what's the best mountain in colorado to ski the san juan's?
I'm planning a solow road trip where I will leave vegas on next monday and i need to meet some people in taos the following monday. That sunday i will be skiing silverton.
other than that I'm on my own.
post #11 of 11
You don't have too many choices in the San Juans. Durango Mt. Resort a/k/a Purgatory between Durango and Silverton is very intermediate and if you enjoy Silverton Mt. then Purgatory would probably be a waste of money. They do have fairly good coverage, just really lame terrain. Telluride is the best skiing close bye. Crested Butte is the best mountain (but not actually in the San Juans) with the most steep skiing, but both are in need of snow right now. Anything steep on either mountain will be rocky, but they both have lots of high speed cruising. Wolf Creek has a ton of snow but is a small area with no sustained vertical pitches longer than a couple hundred feet. Sorry if I don't sound very encouraging. Taos is probably the best skiing in the area. I was there last weekend and it is better than anything around, including the Salt Lake City areas. If you have some time to kill stay in Gunnison and hit Crested Butte and cat skiing at Monarch, and then Telluride on the way back to Silverton. You could stay in Ridgeway which is in between the two and get a 1/2 price ticket for T-ride at your motel.

We've just had some snow that last 48 hrs., with more predicted for the next few days, so your timing could be good. Silverton Mt. had 18" in the last two days and is in very good shape.
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