At a trio of Colorado mountains, snowcat tours take skiers and snowboarders beyond the ropes to track up the untouched Alpine terrain -- instantly enlarging and enhancing their day in the high country.
Hoppin' a ride on a snowcat to get off the piste and into the powder stashes of the backcountry is a popular pastime at Colorado resorts. But this season, there are fewer options than normal.
Powderhounds who revel in the host of off-piste black-diamonds at British Columbia's Panorama Mountain Resort will be carving up new terrain next season.
So, all you want is deep pow', first tracks and freshies all day. You're not interested in checking the grooming report for morning corduroy. Only snowboards or fat-boy skis on board. And hiking is the best way up. If this is you, then Silverton Mountain and Powder Mountain await your arrival.
Monarch Mountain has been a locals' mountain since the first rope tow in 1939 -- grabbing consistently light powder snow from its 11,900-foot perch atop the Continental Divide. Not the largest (800 acres and five lifts) or longest (1,000 vertical), but Monarch has a down-home, fixed-grip character unlike its bigger Colorado neighbors to the north and west.
At Powder Mountain, the options for putting your tracks on unfettered powder snow just got larger – some 70,000 acres larger.