Loveland’s Free Inbounds Snowcat Heads Out Again
Young skiers at Ridge Cat pickup. (Loveland/Facebook)
At Loveland Ski Area – like all mountains -- a day ticket or season pass gets you onto all the lifts on the mountain. Unlike most others, your ticket at Loveland also puts you in line for a few snowcat rides into powder country.
As with the last four seasons, the Ridge Cat snowcat at the Colorado resort is heading into the high bowls in 2017. Service runs Wednesdays through Sundays, weather permitting.
Resort management came up with idea of attaching rides on a snowcat to the daily tickets in order to give skiers and riders who don’t want to hike a chance to reach the massive off-piste atop Loveland.
“It’s such a unique experience because not a lot of people ever get the chance to ride in a snowcat,” Loveland’s John Sellers said. “But then, I think it opens a lot of people’s eyes to what terrain we have, because they can see it from other chairs but never think that they can get out there.”
Snowcat riders must get a Ridge Cat Pass at the ticket office and fill out some paperwork. The ‘cat runs about 12 trips from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., weather and conditions permitting, and all skiing and riding off the snowcat is within Loveland’s patrolled boundaries.
Operating on a first-come first-served basis, skiers and snowboarders must traverse off Lift 9 to a gate. From there, the 18-passenger ‘cat picks up riders, travels north along the Continental Divide ridge, ending up just under the summit of 13,100-foot Golden Bear. From there powder hounds can dive into previously hiking-only Marmot, Field of Dreams and Super Nova bowls – some 1,000 feet of vertical before linking into the blue runs off Lift 4.
Off the ridge, the 10-Mile Range, Gore Range and the I-70 corridor spread out beyond, as well as a close look at some of Loveland’s outer bowls and chutes.
Nearby Copper Mountain also offers free snowcat rides onto Tucker Mountain, with access to back bowls.