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Northern Rockies

This Ski Area Is Now Offering Full-Day Cat-Skiing Within 75 Miles of Denver

Loveland Ski Area kicks off its new snowcat tours into Dry Gulch, offering almost a dozen runs a day in untouched powder.

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Next time you’re crawling your way up to the Eisenhower Tunnel with another hour to go to your Front Range destination, consider hanging a quick right and hitting Loveland Ski Area for the day. Not because it’s the closest big-mountain skiing to Denver or because it boasts the second-highest average annual snowfall in Colorado. Rather, for its new guided snowcat expeditions outside the ski area’s boundaries, starting on Friday, Feb. 3.

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The expeditions will operate to the east of the ski area, on 580 pristine acres in Dry Gulch. The once-daily groups will be capped at 12 people and led by three members of the Loveland Ski Patrol—folks who know where to find the goods and how to do it safely. Riders can expect to get in 8 to 11 runs a day at about 600 to 800 vertical feet each depending on conditions and group ability. The snowcat will be waiting at the bottom of every run, ready to ferry skiers back to the top for another round.

Loveland cat skiing
The new cat skiing terrain ranges from mellow bowls and glades to some chute and steeps. Photo: Casey Day

“Our Snowcat Tours are for intermediate and expert skiers and snowboarders who want to enjoy a fun day of cat skiing outside the ski area boundary,” said John Sellers, Loveland’s marketing and communications director. “No backcountry experience is necessary.”

This new full-day options is not to be confused with the ski area’s Ridge Snowcat, which has been giving skiers a bump out to the hike-to terrain on the Continental Divide off of Lift 9. The Ridge Cat, which is free, still operates Wednesdays through Sundays, but hasn’t opened yet for the season.

While this is the first time snowcat tours have operated in Dry Gulch, the bowl has long been used by backcountry skiers who can access the terrain from the top of Loveland’s Lift 8. Sellers notes that this non-guided use of the gulch will continue, but that the new snowcat expeditions are perfect for intermediate to expert riders who are either new to the backcountry or want to get in a full day of snowcat-assisted laps.

“There are two [snowcat] drop off points. One on the north side of the terrain and one to the south,” Sellers explained. From those two points, the bowl lays at your feet. The terrain is mostly wide-open and often untracked but there are a few opportunities to dip into the trees and take advantage of lesser-known powder stashes.

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The full-day tour is offered once a day on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The first official expedition will run on this Friday (Feb. 3) and continue through April as conditions permit.Each booking includes three expert guides, an avalanche transceiver, a Loveland lift ticket, lunch, and an après drink at the Rathskellar in Loveland’s base lodge. It’s only $395 for a single seat and $4,500 to reserve the entire cat (12 seats). Reservations can be made online here, and are going fast.