Written by Greg and Heather Burke • Nov 07, 2016
Silverton Cat Skiing is a unique and special cat ski operation. The small, catered cat ski tour company was designed and laid out in 1997 by owners and guides Todd Brodbeck and John. Silverton Powdercats is located just one mile from the summit of Molas Pass off Highway 550, a beautiful mountain drive. The terrain was laid out by Todd and Jon with a mission in mind: minimum cat time and maximum ski time.
You start your day boarding the cat, crossing Highway 550, and within minutes you are skiing off the flanks of majestic Grand Turk Mountain, an incredible scenic butte that frames your photos for the cat ski day. We skied mostly the East, South and Southwestern exposure of this very scenic and vast terrain. Silverton Powdercats enjoys thousands of acres of tenure in the snowy San Juan Mountains. In the distance you can see Purgatory Durango Mountain, look across at towering Snowdon Peak, the extraordinary Engineer Peak, The Sisters and Twilight Peaks. the views are almost as good as the vertical, but it's all about the skiing and riding.
Most of your cat skiing is wide open bowls, with a few trees. There are some extreme chutes and steep powder shots, and very well spaced tree glades, but you are mostly tree free. Thanks to the Utte Indians' fire in the late 1800's, the terrain is quite wide open and has very few trees and mostly open snow fields.
The unexpected surprise of a day cat skiing is the camaraderie amongst fellow skiers and snowboarders in the cat during your short return trips to the top. Lunch, a satisfying mountainside picnic, is provided as part of your cat ski day. Your cat skiing group size is small and semi-private at just 10 per snow cat, a Piston Bully. You can also get your own group and charter you own cat for the day, a truly awesome catered -to cat ski experience.
Lunch, two guides and safety equipment are all included in your day of cat skiing with Silverton Powdercats for about $355. You can expect to get about 10 -12 runs from elevations of 12,500'. This level of cat skiing is best recommended for strong skiers comfortable in all types of conditions. Fat powder skis are highly recommended, which can be rented in nearby Silverton or Durango ski shops. Your Powdercats Guide will provide you with avalanche beacons and a safety protocol check, probes and shovels are not required. Your Powdercat day starts at 9:00 am, with a return ski typically at 3:30-4pm.
At the end of your day, you ski right back to the Powdercats parking lot and base camp, no long bumpy cat ride home like many other cat ski companies - instead you are skiing to the finish line with a snow eating grin.
Silverton Powdercats is located just 7 miles from the town of Silverton, and 30 minutes from Purgatory Durango Mountain Resort, under two hours from Telluride (only about 15 miles as the crow flies, but many more around the mountain passes). A day cat skiing with Silverton Powdercats is a perfect add on for dad if he is with the family at Durango Mountain Resort for the week. Or a great combo with Silverton Mountain Ski Area if you want a day with less climbing. On your ski trip, you can also visit Crested Butte, Telluride, Durango and Wolf Creek ski areas on our suggested Southwest Colorado Ski Safari. Check out our review of cat skiing in Canada with Monashee Powder Snowcat Skiing.