Ability Levels2017-11-06T23:02:28+00:00

Which tour is right for you?

What is your biggest fear when planning a backcountry snowcat or heli trip where you will be skiing and riding with people whom you have never met? It’s probably that you are afraid that others in the group are either to slow or to fast.  Or, it could be that the guides will be taking you into terrain that is way to mellow or a bit steep? Maybe this is your first true, untracked powder experience and you are fearful that you’ll be the slowest one in the group?

Don’t sweat it, we’ve figured it out for you. When you reserve a tour with Steamboat Powdercats, you will be prompted to judge you and your crew’s skiing and snowboarding ability and experiences navigating in powder snow.  We will then be placing you according to our Level I, Level II or Level III ability levels. 

Please be honest with us when determining your ability level. For those guests who greatly overstate their skills, we reserve the right to restrict you from skiing or riding. No refunds will be given to these guests. Sitting in the cat is no fun and it’s uncomfortable for everyone involved, so please make sure we help you fine tune you and your groups true ability levels. If you are unsure, we always recommend making a conservative decision in making the ability level choice.


Guests at this level have limited powder experience and need more open type terrain to continue to learn how to float their turns. A level I guest is confident on lift served ski area groomed blue, blue/black and even some black diamond terrain but has not quite figured out how to pop or float their turns in untracked powder.



Guests at this level can ski or ride at an up-tempo pace, are physically fit and already confident in the powder skills. Guests here can pop their powder turns and navigate thru tight aspen forests. At the ski area, these guests actively search out powder and ski black and some double black diamonds ski runs.



Our Level III guests will have unquestionable skills, both in the backcountry and at the ski area. These guests actively seek out the most expert type terrain with the deepest powder available.  Many of our guests in this level have been on other heli or snowcat operations in the past and/or are active backcountry enthusiasts.


If you have never visited us, first off welcome, and secondly, you now understand that our ability level separation system is very important for the success of your trip. We get many first time guests who are solid skiers or snowboarders but do not have much untracked powder experiences and thus you’ll be a bit confused in how to be placed into our cats.

 If your group is of a mixed ability level, please join the cat that is of the least skill level in your group. We ask that if you are unsure of your ability level, please be conservative in your estimation of you and your crews skill level. Always feel free to call us if you need more help fine tuning your ability level.

Buffalo Pass, located just north of the Steamboat Ski Area across Fish Creek Canyon, and is where Steamboat Powdercats has been operating our snowcat skiing tours since 1983.


This experience is for private cats only, from February 1st until the end of the season. Instead of finishing at 3:45 pm, we extend the tour to 4:45 pm and cat ski in the magic light of the Alpenglow.