Serious skiers know what makes for a great run – powdery snow and beautiful terrain. Cat skiing provides just that. Skiers can enjoy the exhilaration of wild, uncharted territory while having the security of a guide and a comfortable vehicle to shelter in. Cat skiing refers to a type of skiing in which participants use a snowcat to reach their trails instead of a traditional ski lift found at most resorts or a helicopter, which is generally used for backcountry skiing.
Looking for a family vacation that will keep everyone entertained? Consider cross-country skiing. It’s perfect for multiple generations and an ideal snow activity for an extended family. And while many skiers flock to the western slopes for the diverse terrain, there are quite a few ski areas in the East that specialize in this activity. For example, Stowe Vermont is among the largest, most diverse trail systems in the East, and quite possible the U.S. More than 3000 acres of conserved land produce expertly groomed and perfectly ungroomed skiing for every ability. Aside from the backcountry, you can ski around the historic village, many restaurants, and boutique shops.
Skiing uses a combination of skills in order to flow and move across the snow smoothly. Want to look like a pro while on the slopes during your next ski vacation? Here are some tips to improve your technique.
The French have their champagne, but we’ve got Champagne Powder ®
It’s not just a brand, but a for-reals thing, and North American ski resorts get lots of it. Skiers are hooked on carving through the legendary dry fluffy white stuff in Steamboat, Banff and many other regions up and down the Rocky Mountain range. On average, U.S. and Canadian ski resorts receive more annual snowfall consistently throughout the season than European resorts. And if there isn’t enough snow at one, just drive down the highway and choose from a handful of others, because in North America, we’ve got infrastructure like that.
It’s all good in the Rockies with tons of snowfall this year because we can’t seem to get enough of it. But that begs the question; how long into the summer can one ski, without having to travel to another hemisphere to do it?
When the ski lifts turn their lights off come late spring, it signals something more in Colorado. Backcountry skiing during the winter consists of a stagnant wave of snow set in motion by a skier’s turn. But come spring, the melt-freeze cycle turns that snow into something as dense as your grandma’s fruitcake, and much more enticing. Spring is the time to take advantage of backcountry skiing, as the risks of avalanches are much less. And the Loveland Pass is a good place to do it. If you’ve yearned to take advantage of Colorado’s best, worst-kept secret, then here’s a backcountry guide to help you access The Pass safely and like a pro.
The Loveland Pass is located on US-6. From Denver, take I-70 W to US-6 W. Park your car in the parking lot across from the Continental Divide sign and follow others’ tracks to hike in (no more than 100 yards).
Always bring a shovel, probe and beacon for backcountry skiing, and ski with a friend. Tell others of your plans too.
The terrain on the front is about 800 vertical feet and requires solid intermediate skills. For the most part, by hiking in no more than 100 yards you should be okay, just follow the tracks of other skiers. About ¼ of a mile out is what’s known as “Idiot’s Cornice” and you should avoid this as it poses the greatest risk for avalanche (five people died there in 2013). Safety tip: don’t hike in more than 100 yards, and ski or ride near tracks of previous skiers.
Hitchin’ a Ride:
The front side funnels down to US-6 (represented by a circle on the map above), and hitching a ride back up to the top is half the fun. Wait times can vary, but a ride always comes along ready and willing to drop you back off at the Continental Divide parking lot. Look for trucks, as they’re pretty much always willing to let you ride in the bed. You can also go up with a group of people (three or more) and alternate driving up and back so that you won’t have to wait.
Go during a full moon for moonlight skiing.
Have fun, be safe and let us know how it goes in the comments below.
Why I Ski
by Allison Howe
The day that Emily conquered Mad Wolf is a day that I will never forget. As a coach, I take pride in her accomplishment while marveling at the courage of an eight-year-old girl who could not make a parallel turn at the beginning of the winter months. By March of that ski season, Emily was on fire—skiing the expert only terrain of the Challenger Lift at Big Sky and taking a run on the tram with her peers in stride.