USA Cat Skiing

USA Cat Skiing
US Snowcat Skiing
Some terrain feature delights!
Chicago Ridge Cat Skiing - Ski Cooper
Aspen Powder Tours - Aspen Colorado
Aspen cat skiing
Keystone Adventure Tours - Keystone Colorado Cat Skiing
Keystone Cat Skiing
Durango Cat Skiing Colorado
Durango Colorado Snowcat Skiing
Silverton Powdercats - Colorado Cat Skiing
Silverton cat skiing
Steamboat Powdercats - Steamboat Colorado Cat Skiing
Steamboat Powdercats
Park City Powdercats - Park City Utah Cat Skiing
Cat Skiing Utah - Park City Powdercats
Selkirk Powder Company Idaho
Selkirk Powder - Schweitzer Mountain Idaho Cat Skiing

USA Cat Skiing

Cat Skiing Colorado & USA Cat Skiing

When it’s snowing cats and dogs, snow-cats and powder hounds go together perfectly. Cat skiing is pure heaven for powder hounds.

Cat skiing is backcountry skiing where skiers are transported to the top of the run via a “cat”, which is a large grooming style machine. The name “snowcat” originates from the 1940s trademark of Tucker Sno-Cat Corporation from Oregon. The brand name became synonymous with all such generic machines, and now they’re all known as snowcats. Depending upon what country you’re from, it’s the same as an air mattress being known as a lilo, sheepskin boots are known as Ugg boots (touchy subject with the Australians), and Sildenafil citrate being known as Viagra.

So considering that the real snow-cats originated in the USA, we can thank the United States for cat skiing (even though the sport was pioneered in Canada).

Types of USA Cat Skiing

The style of cat skiing in the USA is quite different to that of Canada cat skiing. Instead of multi-day trips that offer remote backcountry lodging, all US cat ski operations offer single day trips. A couple offer overnight stays in their mountain yurts, but these are a far cry from some of the luxurious lodges in British Columbia. Generally in the US, any accommodation package on offer is within a ski resort.

There are many advantages to the typical U.S. style of single day trips where you can pick your own accommodation. You can choose the budget of your lodgings and don’t have to be locked into potentially expensive multi-day packages. You can also choose who you want to stay with, rather than being stuck out in a remote lodge with a few people you don’t know. Another major bonus is that you can mix and match your ski holiday by combining some resort skiing with cat skiing.

There are three basic types of cat-skiing in the US. The first type is in-resort cat skiing which may be included with the lift ticket, or is associated with a small fee per ride. This form of shuttle catskiing is not guided, and generally only provides access to a small area which means that fresh tracks are far from guaranteed.

The second and most common type of cat skiing in the US is still attached to a ski resort, whereby a backcountry bowl or two are dedicated to cat skiing. One example is Aspen Powder Tours. Guided day trips are often relatively inexpensive, but many of the operations only provide a small amount of terrain with approximately 300-375 acres (121-152 hectares). A couple offer 1,000-4,500 acres (e.g. Selkirk Powder Company) but this is still a fraction of the terrain that typical BC cat skiing operations provide.

The third type are independent stand-alone cat skiing operations. Examples include Steamboat Powdercats, Park City Powder Cats and Silverton Powdercats. Most of the cat skiing companies in this third category are still near ski resorts, which is quite different to Canada where the cat skiing is generally in very isolated areas. The reason for this may simply be that there isn’t adequate remote space in the U.S. when compared to Canada. The US has a population ten times greater than Canada, and many less square miles covered in snow. Chances are that any good ski terrain has already been identified by a developer who has built a ski resort on the land!

A couple of USA cat skiing operations offer significant terrain (e.g. Park City Powder Cats) but not all do, so check out what is on offer before paying the big bucks. Check out our US cat skiing comparison document, which compares cat ski operators on cost, size and vertical.

Benefits of Cat Skiing

Cat skiing provides the fresh powder in backcountry terrain that is often difficult to find in a resort. Thankfully it also comes without the effort required with hiking or ski touring. Cat skiing provides some of the best powder skiing possible without having to be self sufficient. For the guided cat skiing, you can rely on experienced guides to minimise associated risks such as avalanches and getting lost.

Some people have called cat skiing “poor man’s heli-skiing”. Sure cat skiing is cheaper, but it has some advantages over heli-skiing. When choppers are grounded due to inclement weather, the cats can still get out there, and that’s when the likelihood of fresh powder may be the greatest. Cat operators also know their terrain well which minimises risk factors, and snowmobiles can be used to implement snow testing and slope stabilization measures.

You won’t cover as much vertical with cat skiing, but it is more than adequate for most mere mortals. Lots of people prefer the opportunity to rest the thighs in the cat between runs, warm up and enjoy a drink and snack. And of course if you’re afraid of flying, then heli-skiing won’t be too enjoyable.

Where is US Cat Skiing?

Cat skiing is located across many states within the US. Colorado has ten cat ski operators and there are two Utah cat skiing companies (e.g. Park City Powdercats) where there is legendary light snow that falls in abundance. Other states that have at least one cat skiing opportunity include Alaska, Idaho (Selkirk Powder), Oregon, California, Montana, Washington and Wyoming. See our US cat ski comparison document for locations of the snowcat skiing operators.

Cat Skiing Colorado

Colorado has the biggest concentration of snowcat skiing with at least ten operators that provide cat skiing. High profile Colorado cat skiing companies include Steamboat Powdercats and Aspen Powder Guides. Relative to these big boys, there are also various operations that fly under the radar and as such have lower rates. Examples can be found in the Powderhounds corner of Colorado such as Silverton Powdercats.

Where is the Best Cat Skiing?

When choosing the best cat skiing operation for your next snow holiday, everyone has different factors that are important in the decision making process. For some the choice is largely based on location, but for others it may be about the quality of the tree skiing, the amount of advanced terrain, the emphasis on safety, or value for money. To help you choose the best cat skiing experience for you, we have provided ratings on various operations in the USA and broken the ratings into various determinants including the most important factor of all….the powder! Check out our best cat skiing in USA awards as well as the Powderhounds cat ski ratings for more information.

Go Cat Skiing

If you haven’t been cat skiing before, definitely try it. The only problem is that once you do it, you’ll want to keep going back for more. Powder is an addiction.
Top 5 Rated USA Cat Ski Packages
Aspen Powder Tours - Day Cat Skiing Tours
Ski the backside of Aspen
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Escape from the moguls and masses in Aspen this winter with a day or more of cat skiing in Aspen's backcountry. With over 1,200 skiable acres you will be sure to get plenty of fresh tracks. These tours book up early so be sure to secure your spot asap.
Price p/p From price based on single day mixed group cat skiing.
Base/invoice currency is in USD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 519
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Park City Powdercats - Day Cat Skiing
Located near Park City Utah
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Any snowcat skiing is awesome, but cat skiing Utah is phenomenal. Park City Powdercats offer daily tours in the backcounry so you can snort as much Utah powder as you wish! Packages include 8 - 12 epic guided runs, lunch, snacks & use of avo beacon.
Price p/p From price based on per person single day.
Base/invoice currency is in USD ex 6.55% tax.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 629
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Steamboat Powdercats - Day Cat Skiing
Revel in Steamboat's deep dry powder
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Cat skiing with Steamboat Powdercats makes the perfect adjunct to a Steamboat ski vacation. Take in some resort skiing and then head out for a day with Steamboat Powdercats. Or if you know you’ll be hooked on riding virgin powder, go cat skiing for as many days as you’re able!
Price p/p From price based on single person in a mixed group for a single day of cat skiing
Base/invoice currency is in USD inc taxes (ex gratuities).
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 675
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Selkirk Powder - Day Cat Skiing
Schweitzer Mountain Idaho
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
If you are heading to Schweitzer Mountain or to Northern Idaho you can't go past a fabulous day of snowcat skiing with Selkirk Powder. The day includes guiding, use of avalanche beacon, lunch & snacks and is great value!
Price p/p From price based on single day per person.
Base/invoice currency is in USD ex 6% tax.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 460
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Pacific Crest Day Cat Skiing
8 - 12 Runs | Over 12,000 vert feet
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Escape the crowds in Lake Tahoe & come and play in the 3,000 acre private powder playground with Pacific Crest Snowcats. Book a seat for yourself, a few of you or a whole cat for a private day with your ski buddies! Seats book out early so be sure to book soon.
Price p/p From price based on per person in a mixed group.
Base/invoice currency is in USD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 399
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See all USA Cat Skiing Tours Here