“We look at the success of this year’s program as another piece of evidence that this is a good, viable business model, and it’s a product that people want,” Powdercats director Eric Deering said.
With the sport of ski touring growing, some believe there are opportunities in Steamboat, and outfitters are eager to work with federal land managers to offer more locally.
There are obstacles though.
For more than three decades Powdercats has relied on its snowcats to provide memorable days to thousands of skiers on Buffalo Pass, where the Colorado snowpack record was set in May 2011.
Through a permit with the U.S. Forest Service, Powdercats each season can host up to 2,200 people, and those customers get to ski between 8,000 to 14,000 vertical feet of terrain on the daylong tours.
Deering, who started working for the company 17 years ago as a guide, said a few things led Powdercats to start offering guided, non-motorized tours this winter.
The company teaches Level 1 avalanche courses, and skiers wanted to continue their learning with actual experience in the backcountry.