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NOT NECESSARILY SNOWCATS Forum General snowcat and winter/wilderness lifestyles

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Old 01-05-2010, 02:03 PM
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Talking Snowcat Skiing starts up in Silverton Resort (Colorado)

Colorado snowcats will be rolling in January
12:00 AM CST on Sunday, December 27, 2009
WALT ROESSING POWDER PLAY wlroessing@cs.com
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcont...1.4c104dc.html

Adventurous skiers and snowboarders seeking thrills in untracked stashes of pristine Colorado powder have a remarkable choice of off-piste and hike-to terrain, heli-skiing and snowcat skiing.

Silverton Resort is strictly a perpendicular playground for skilled skiers. It excels as both a hike-to and heli-skiing paradise. Silverton is one of the few U.S. ski areas to offer heli flights directly at the resort. Its terrain spans 1,819 acres that descend 3,100 vertical feet through 45-degree chutes, huge powder bowls and a zone called Nightmare.

Snowcat operations are getting ready to roll next month at seven Colorado resorts. All you need at Copper Mountain is a lift ticket because rides on two snowcats are free. That includes extreme in-bounds backcountry runs on Tucker Mountain and high-elevation, ungroomed turf and cliffs along West Ridge. Conversely, the guided snowcat Adventure Tours on 300 acres of challenging terrain in Keystone's Independence Bowl cost $225, which includes powder skis and lunch.

A normal day tour with Monarch Powder Cat averages 10 to 12 runs amid steeps, trees, cliffs and bowls. At Ski Cooper, the Chicago Ridge Snowcat Tours have entrée to 2,400 acres of terrain, with a slope variance of 3,000 to 10,000 feet in length and verticals up to 1,400 feet per run. Powdercats, a backcountry guide service near Steamboat Springs, offers access to 10,000 acres of phenomenal terrain on Buffalo Pass. And San Juan Ski Co., working in partnership with Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort, offers access to 35,000 off-piste acres, making it the state's largest cat-skiing operator.
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Old 01-10-2010, 06:19 PM
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Default Re: Snowcat Skiing starts up in Silverton Resort (Colorado)

Most Colorado backcountry has rotten snow with high avalanche danger. Less than usual snowfall with very cold temperature has created unstable snowpack. Buffalo Pass near Steamboat was good this weekend.
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Old 01-10-2010, 08:24 PM
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Default Re: Snowcat Skiing starts up in Silverton Resort (Colorado)

Any additional photos from skiing the pass? Coverage looks a lot better than in Summit.
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Old 01-11-2010, 12:20 AM
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Default Re: Snowcat Skiing starts up in Silverton Resort (Colorado)

Compared to what we have here it's worth the haul. Good cold powder. Steamboat snow can get heavy in a hurry, though.
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Old 01-11-2010, 01:03 AM
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Default Re: Snowcat Skiing starts up in Silverton Resort (Colorado)

Thanks for the additional pics. Other than Vail Pass, which areas do you and your crew ski that are close to Summit?
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:55 PM
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Default Re: Snowcat Skiing starts up in Silverton Resort (Colorado)

This year we haven't even been to Vail Pass yet. So mtnguy1981, is it possible there is a recreational snowcat in the County I don't know about? What do you have?
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:49 PM
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Default Re: Snowcat Skiing starts up in Silverton Resort (Colorado)

MTNCrawler.. Very Nice! How much vertical drop do you all get? What's your typical run time and return to top?
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:52 AM
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Default Re: Snowcat Skiing starts up in Silverton Resort (Colorado)

Cycle time varies greatly. Some drop off points have long shallow climbs and others might be short but steep. Generally get about 10,000 vertical in a day. I'm not part of this machine anymore, just was invited to tag along. The present owner is pretty proud of it and it shows. Hows that custom A-Model of yours comming along?
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Old 01-13-2010, 11:26 PM
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Default Re: Snowcat Skiing starts up in Silverton Resort (Colorado)

Great way to stay away from the crowds and get fresh tracks. Been working on machining and aquiring new parts. It's back in the warm garage and I'll try to get down to L.A. next month for the painted aluminum so that I can get started on the sheeting. Snow is here and ski patrol has been getting my free weekends the last couple of months. Hope one day to head east and meet up with you all for a real back country skiing experience with the snowcats!
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Old 02-12-2010, 12:23 AM
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Default Re: Snowcat Skiing starts up in Silverton Resort (Colorado)

How have things been with private cats and the commercial cat-ops?

There's tension between us and them from a snowmobiler's perspective, and when I went skiing with the Steamboat cat-op, the guides were pretty vocal about their dislike of the sled-skiers.

I can only imagine what those guides think of a cat on "their" roads.



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Old 02-12-2010, 12:02 PM
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Default Re: Snowcat Skiing starts up in Silverton Resort (Colorado)

There have been 4 different owners of the commercial skiing operation on Vail pass since I started using a snowcat to ski there. Gotten along fine with all of them. I've heard the same thing about Steamboat Powdercats guides whining to all their customers about everybody else. I'm sure they would like to tie up 10,000 acres of public land for their exclusive use. In general, though, I don't think the slow moving snowcats bother these guys as much as high speed sleds zipping around them.
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Old 02-12-2010, 12:17 PM
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Default Re: Snowcat Skiing starts up in Silverton Resort (Colorado)

Excellent, thanks! I've felt a bit of tension from one guide on the Vail cat this year. Earlier in the year (about a month ago), their cat broke near the summit of Ptarmigan Hill. I stopped to ask if they needed help; who knows, I carry tools and various bits. They had it under control.

Continued down the hill, along came a guide from the other side of the cat, also going downhill. She was on a big utility sled, starting to turn across the hill to go back up and pick up more guests. I stopped and waved her by; she got mad "no, just go, it is too late for me to turn around."

Not a friendly "no, just go," but an angry, irritated, ticked off "get out of the way."

Umm, ok. Continued on.

A few weeks later, we were picking up in the same spot they were using. Saw their guests coming, figured their cat was coming. Moved our sleds, let their cat in. It pulled forward to their pickup, we pulled in behind them - 80' back and around the corner (we could barely see the cat, lots of trees). The skiers popped out of the woods ~30' in front of us, skied the remaining 50' to the cat. We just sat there, sleds off, waited. None of the guests even noticed us, but the same guide was tailgunning, she popped over the bank onto the cat road, noticed us, then slowed way down, turned, gave me a big shrug and angry "what the *@&#*@ do you think you're doing," shook her head and skied off.

Sigh.

I've not yet skied at Buff off my sleds, but they're the reason I got them - went skiing with them as a guest, and toward the end of the day, we were ascending one ridge past the parking lot (from memory, we went up from the parking lot, down the backside, then up again, did most of our skiing out there). Two sled-skiers flagged us down; out of gas or something. The guides denied giving them a ride (we had 4 empty seats). That's OK, they have no obligation to give them a ride.

THEN, two of the three guides started laughing about it - the daytime temperature was barely 10F, forecast nighttime temperature was sub-zero. "It's going to be a cold night for those two!" They thought it was funny.

The guests all ganged up on the guides at that point; we all "get" that the sled skiers are tracking up "their" snow, but it is not "their" snow, and while we understand that it must be frustrating to try to run a business with other people "taking" their product, the notion of two underprepared guys spending the night outside (it'd have been a LONG walk) is not funny.

The guides grudgingly agreed to help them out; by the time we got back, sled and riders were gone, which is good, but still.

Dunno, I try to be nice. I keep my sled on the groomed road (I'm after the same thing they are), move over for the cat, etc etc etc. Two way street, though.

Thanks!


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Old 02-14-2010, 08:30 PM
mtnguyco1981 mtnguyco1981 is offline
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Default Re: Snowcat Skiing starts up in Silverton Resort (Colorado)

I was checking out the Vail Powder Guides' Facebook page today and found this comment from one of their guests posted there:

"...If you guys need help with you unlawful competitors let me know."

Makes you wonder what sort of misinformation they might be putting out to their guests, as there isn't anyone else skiing that pass commercially with motorized access.
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Old 02-15-2010, 02:22 AM
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Default Re: Snowcat Skiing starts up in Silverton Resort (Colorado)

I think that's exactly what they mean. There is ONE commercial permit issued by the Forest Service in this area for motorized assisted skiing. It is exclusive and they have it! Occasionally bad apples show up thinking there might be some easy money to be made by charging people to take them in by snowcat or snowmobile. The Forest Service is very serious about enforcing this. Word to the wise. Don't screw around with Federal Regulations. Enjoy your public lands just for fun or stay away.
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Old 02-15-2010, 01:17 PM
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Default Re: Snowcat Skiing starts up in Silverton Resort (Colorado)

I was not there, but allegedly, the FS rounded up a bunch of sleds at Buff Pass a few years ago/impounded them/wrote the owners tickets for running a business without a permit.

If what I read about it is accurate, a judge tossed it because it was basically a group of friends sharing expenses (much like I do every weekend), not running a business with a price of $X for a product of Y.

That said, when I do it, no money changes hands, typically someone foots the gas bill down in the valley, someone else brings lunch, whatever, so I'm not concerned at all about that stuff (and I'm certainly not MAKING money, that's for damned sure, but the skiing is well worth it.



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Old 02-15-2010, 10:13 PM
mtnguyco1981 mtnguyco1981 is offline
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Default Re: Snowcat Skiing starts up in Silverton Resort (Colorado)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtncrawler View Post
I think that's exactly what they mean. There is ONE commercial permit issued by the Forest Service in this area for motorized assisted skiing. It is exclusive and they have it! Occasionally bad apples show up thinking there might be some easy money to be made by charging people to take them in by snowcat or snowmobile. The Forest Service is very serious about enforcing this. Word to the wise. Don't screw around with Federal Regulations. Enjoy your public lands just for fun or stay away.
Got it. I've never been "solicited," so to speak, for access to VP, so I assumed they meant private recreational cats. Makes sense now.
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