Slim

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@David , wasn’t your original question about lack of recent experience skiing powder?
In that case, I say going somewhere like Grand Targhee or Pwder Mtn, known for lots of snow and lower skier density, seems your beset bet, then get some lesson while there. Usually the instructors can find at least some patches of fresh snow for you to practice on.
Not saying you should do the r sort based cat trips though.
Then go rent some wide and rockererd skis for your cat day skiing day.
 

Mike King

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Another option is Aspen. The cat goes off of the back of Aspen Mountain only when there is good powder skiing. If there isn't good skiing, then you can ski at any of the 4 Aspen/Snowmass resorts. You can also book a private instructor, but that brings the tab to a pretty high level.

Mike
 
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David

David

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@David , wasn’t your original question about lack of recent experience skiing powder?
In that case, I say going somewhere like Grand Targhee or Pwder Mtn, known for lots of snow and lower skier density, seems your beset bet, then get some lesson while there. Usually the instructors can find at least some patches of fresh snow for you to practice on.
Not saying you should do the r sort based cat trips though.
Then go rent some wide and rockererd skis for your cat day skiing day.
That's kind of what I was thinking but finding powder at a resort is tough unless I get lucky. I've been in the Rockies twice a year for the last 5 years and haven't found anything other than chop. On a cat I'd have a better shot at finding some though.
 

HardDaysNight

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Powder Mountain cat skiing used to be a great deal - reasonable prices, huge area, varied terrain and typically excellent snow. I worked there intermittently as a guide up until about 2010. However, in common with most of the resorts in Utah, prices have exploded. The most recent price for a day is $855 per person, which seems excessive at least to me!
 
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David

David

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Powder Mountain cat skiing used to be a great deal - reasonable prices, huge area, varied terrain and typically excellent snow. I worked there intermittently as a guide up until about 2010. However, in common with most of the resorts in Utah, prices have exploded. The most recent price for a day is $855 per person, which seems excessive at least to me!
Yah that's a 3 day trip price. Maybe when I become a 1%er...
 

Ken_R

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That's kind of what I was thinking but finding powder at a resort is tough unless I get lucky. I've been in the Rockies twice a year for the last 5 years and haven't found anything other than chop. On a cat I'd have a better shot at finding some though.
Exactly. You will learn more about powder skiing in one day of (backcountry) cat skiing than several years of going twice a year to resorts. During mid winter, powder in Colorado (IN THE BACKCOUNTRY) can stay fresh for many many days after a storm.

Skiing powder at most resorts is about timing, local knowledge and a bit of luck. Most of the time its just a frenzy that lasts just a few hours.

Not all cat operations are the same. Everything has been mentioned here, from cat rides at a resort that just drop you off to full service operations hence the large price differences.
 

TheArchitect

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Irwin and Steamboat are in different leagues. I’d pick at least two other Colorado cat operations over Steamboat — especially for the price Steamboat gets now.
The beginner level for Steamboat is appealing to me because I don't have a lot of powder experience and none in a cat. Do these other operations you're thinking of have similar levels?
 
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The beginner level for Steamboat is appealing to me because I don't have a lot of powder experience and none in a cat. Do these other operations you're thinking of have similar levels?
So far it sounds like just Steamboat as far as advertising. Targhee is pretty appealing if I wouldn't slow down the group. Working with someone who knows where to find the goods or even a group lesson is the other option I'm really considering depending on the cost.
 

David Chaus

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That's kind of what I was thinking but finding powder at a resort is tough unless I get lucky. I've been in the Rockies twice a year for the last 5 years and haven't found anything other than chop. On a cat I'd have a better shot at finding some though.
Finding powder at well-travelled resorts is hard, finding powder at less busy resorts is easier. Keep in mind that Powder Mt is spread out pretty wide, even without the cat skiing terrain (single ride cats up to Lightning Ridge or all-day excursions). They supposedly have a daily cap for the number of skiers/boarders in a given day, not to mention their parking capacity isn’t huge. So even on a day with fresh snow you’d feel like you were out there all by yourself, and a day without fresh snow you would still find nice stashes.

Similarly, Grand Targhee has a lot of wide open terrain with not a lot of people, and your chances of getting lucky with powder days is better than most other places in the Rockies.

For even smaller resorts, I’ve been at places like Brundage with 6” of powder that still had fresh stashes 2 days after the snow fell. There just aren’t that many people there.
 

Scruffy

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Powder Mountain cat skiing used to be a great deal - reasonable prices, huge area, varied terrain and typically excellent snow. I worked there intermittently as a guide up until about 2010. However, in common with most of the resorts in Utah, prices have exploded. The most recent price for a day is $855 per person, which seems excessive at least to me!
Does PowMow still offer a single cat ride up the ridge ( via rope tow ) ?
 

Mattadvproject

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I wonder if you could fly overseas, go cat skiing and still pay less than a domestic cat trip...... hmmmm. Might that be a possibility?
 

CS2-6

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Timing is everything. Location is everything. Ok, so they're both everything.

I've taken ski trips at least once every year since I was 4. I've had exactly three opportunities for powder, I had to pay for a cat trip to get one of those.

Just to echo everyone else: the odds of trip timing lining up with a powder dump are unlikely, and the amount of powder you get on a "powder day" at a resort is a couple hours at absolute best. By the end of the day, even the trees are getting tracked out.

I'm a well-documented cheapskate, and an irredeemable mogul fanatic (which is to say I really don't care about powder at all); but I don't regret spending $350 on a cat day in the slightest. Worth every penny.
 

Tony

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Timing is everything. Location is everything. Ok, so they're both everything.

I've taken ski trips at least once every year since I was 4. I've had exactly three opportunities for powder, I had to pay for a cat trip to get one of those.

Just to echo everyone else: the odds of trip timing lining up with a powder dump are unlikely, and the amount of powder you get on a "powder day" at a resort is a couple hours at absolute best. By the end of the day, even the trees are getting tracked out.

I'm a well-documented cheapskate, and an irredeemable mogul fanatic (which is to say I really don't care about powder at all); but I don't regret spending $350 on a cat day in the slightest. Worth every penny.
While I agree that "odds of trip timing lining up with a powder dump are unlikely", you can increase the odds by going to Targhee, Altabird or on a Thursday to Lost Trail. Or join a Gathering where we seem to have beaten the odds many times. My three days at Big Sky Gathering at end of Feb 2019 all had new snow. I've also had many powder days at the Vail Tahoe resorts including some where it got better during day although sometimes luck is involved in picking the right one and living less than 4 hours drive away with a flexible schedule and places to stay near ski areas makes it easier.

In 2015, I caught up with Gathering (still Epicski back then) for their day at Targhee. I had to review thread at http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=11743&p=73751 - see the pictures of @DanoT and the third to the last post where somebody bragged about getting 15K of powder cat skiing Targhee on same day the Gathering got probably 20-25K of powder and 30-35K total. So if you are lucky enough to be at Targhee when it snows, you may want to schedule the cat for day (or two) after storm ends assuming you can get on and just ski lift-served during storm.

This year I also extended my stay at Snowbird (while still on way home from Gathering) when storm was predicted. We got such a big dump that even my SUV was smiling.
7270Buried+SmilingPilot.JPG
 
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David Chaus

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I think off-piste experience and skills, and getting a lot of practice in cut up crud, makes skiing powder a lot easier to handle in those rare instances where you do have it.

Which kind of brings up an issue: what’s the point of learning to ski conditions that you never have access to? If you are planning to make multiple trips to resorts such as the ones mentioned ^^^^^^ where powder is more likely to actually happen, that’s one thing, but otherwise :huh:

Wanting to ski powder would be great if one could be reasonably sure to find some periodically, but otherwise you’re learning a skill set (or adaptations of a skill set) that you won’t get to use.

Just playing devil’s advocate here....
 

John O

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Timing is everything. Location is everything. Ok, so they're both everything.

I've taken ski trips at least once every year since I was 4. I've had exactly three opportunities for powder, I had to pay for a cat trip to get one of those.
I always like to remind people when it comes to threads like this that the first statement above trumps all else, and the second statement contains a fallacy. Paying for a cat trip does *not* guarantee you a powder day, not at all.

I already referenced my own experience earlier in the thread, but it's worth stating again. Cat skiing definitely gives you a better chance of a powder day than resort skiing, but doesn't guarantee anything at all and you absolutely have to be prepared for the possibility of a mediocre to legitimately poor day of skiing. And you're either ok with that, or you're really disappointed, that's up to you at that point.
 
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David

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While I agree that "odds of trip timing lining up with a powder dump are unlikely", you can increase the odds by going to Targhee, Altabird or on a Thursday to Lost Trail. Or join a Gathering where we seem to have beaten the odds many times. My three days at Big Sky Gathering at end of Feb 2019 all had new snow. I've also had many powder days at the Vail Tahoe resorts including some where it got better during day although sometimes luck is involved in picking the right one and living less than 4 hours drive away with a flexible schedule and places to stay near ski areas makes it easier.

In 2015, I caught up with Gathering (still Epicski back then) for their day at Targhee. I had to review thread at http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=11743&p=73751 - see the pictures of @DanoT and the third to the last post where somebody bragged about getting 15K of powder cat skiing Targhee on same day the Gathering got probably 20-25K of powder and 30-35K total. So if you are lucky enough to be at Targhee when it snows, you may want to schedule the cat for day (or two) after storm ends assuming you can get on and just ski lift-served during storm.

This year I also extended my stay at Snowbird (while still on way home from Gathering) when storm was predicted. We got such a big dump that even my SUV was smiling. View attachment 79912
What is this Gathering?
 
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David

David

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I think off-piste experience and skills, and getting a lot of practice in cut up crud, makes skiing powder a lot easier to handle in those rare instances where you do have it.

Which kind of brings up an issue: what’s the point of learning to ski conditions that you never have access to? If you are planning to make multiple trips to resorts such as the ones mentioned ^^^^^^ where powder is more likely to actually happen, that’s one thing, but otherwise :huh:

Wanting to ski powder would be great if one could be reasonably sure to find some periodically, but otherwise you’re learning a skill set (or adaptations of a skill set) that you won’t get to use.

Just playing devil’s advocate here....
I'm not good in chopped up deep snow either and thought it would help to get some instruction in fresh snow hoping it would help with both. 25 years ago when I'd ski resort powder we had really skinny skis so I was still on firm snow beneath.
 
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David

David

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I haven't been, so not endorsing, but you could get some cat-skiing in a lot closer to home, at Porkies or Mt. Bohemia in the Upper Peninsula.
13 hour drive to Bohemia, 11 hours to Porkies (cat only runs on powder weekends) and 16 hours to Denver.
 
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