COVID-19 UPDATE 

Originally posted September 25, 2020

Every day, we are reminded of how lucky we are to have the opportunity to work with such an amazing staff, such a wonderful group of guests, and partners, and the greater community that is Steamboat Powdercats Nation. To be able to plan and execute on our world-class experiences, even during a global pandemic, shows us that this community of people that surrounds us is one of a kind. Our hearts go out to all those who have been and continue to be significantly impacted by COVID-19. Thank you to everyone who is doing their part to overcome and to continue living large, albeit carefully, in such a delicate time.

We will be adjusting the information on this webpage as we gather more information and create a pathway for running our snowcat skiing experiences in a safe and experience-rich manner. This “living document” is intended to inform you and help reduce the risk of a COVID-19 infection among our employees, the guests of Steamboat Powdercats, and the greater community of Steamboat Springs.

The information outlined below will provide us, and you our guest, with the practical applications for how we will mitigate and manage our operations for this winter (2020-21), based on our best knowledge as of today. These applications come directly from our federal, state, and local health authorities, public health guidelines, and mandates. We will be flexible in our plan as these guidelines and mandates continue to adjust over the coming months, and throughout the season.

Thank you to everyone for being patient, understanding, and helpful leading up to and throughout this winter’s snowcat skiing season.

PRIVATE CATS ONLY

By organizing private cats only we feel we can minimize our COVID risk

RATE – $7,200

This rate includes all the SPC goodies and budgets in known and unknown COVID-19 related expenses

6-GUEST MAXIMUM

Once and if we can add more guests to our snowcats we will let trip leaders know immediatley

The Risk of Snowcat Skiing During COVID-19:

We recognize that there are many factors that play into the spread of the virus, and there will be an additional and inherent risk with us operating this winter. Together we will be doing our best to manage this risk in order to keep all of us safe. But, we will all have to assume that we cannot limit every variable regarding the spread of COVID-19.

COVID-19 is highly contagious. Some people show symptoms while some people don’t. Current testing for the virus is available but not all tests are the same or 100% accurate, or timely enough. Because of this, and many other factors, it is difficult for us to fully protect our staff and guests and be 100% safe from contacting COVID-19 while visiting or working at Steamboat Powdercats.

We believe that our operations and mitigation plan, through limiting groups size, booking only private cats with one trip leader, maintaining social distancing in most circumstances, limiting time in our office, increased sanitation and disinfecting, mask-wearing, pre, and post-trip online and in-person screening protocols, among other applications, creates a path so that we are able to operate our backcountry skiing adventures even during this pandemic.

Feel Safe With Us

For 20/21 season we are moving to private cats only where you will you, your family, and close friends will share the snowcat

Premium Small Group Experience

With only 6 guests in the snowcat, plus our team, we will maximize the skiing and riding this winter

More Powder

Small groups = more laps = more powder

How will we book trips and what is the cost?

Based on a Colorado’s Safer at Home Order (10th amendment August 21, 2020), we are limited to a maximum of 10 guests per snowcat coming from two household/travel units, not including our staff.

Here at SPC, we strive to be the best in the industry. Our systems have been put in place so that the safety of our team is held to a higher standard. Because of this, and with COVID-19 in mind, we are going to be running only private cats this winter trips with 6 guests maximum, working with one trip leader who manages their group, payments, guest information, and responsibilities. We feel this method works best with the mitigations we are planning for this winter.

We are exploring options to increase occupancy in the cat if the entire group gets a PCR test within 72-hrs and provide us proof that all guests on the snowcat are COVID free. But, as of September 2020, we will only be booking private snowcats with trip leaders who are good with the 6 guest maximum for now. If and when this capacity limit evolves, we will let everyone know immediately.

Regarding pricing, our costs for running a snowcat remain the same regardless of capacity. Additionally, we have to budget for some known and unknown COVID related expenses. Therefore, rates for a private cat this year will be $7,200.

We will be contacting all of you who have placed reservations with us for this coming winter. For those who have already booked private cats, you have the first shot at re-reserving that cat on the same day you currently have booked. Please review the below information so that when we call, you are okay with this plan, the 6 guest capacity, and 20/21 pricing, so we can move forward with a traditional 50% deposit.

For those of you who are holding a non-private cat space, we will reach out to ask each and every one of you if you would like to pivot to booking a private cat. If this is something you know you’d be interested in, please contact us ASAP. Depending on how many people can pivot to a private cat, we will then book the cat based on whose reservation was put into our system first for that day. For those smaller groups that don’t have 6 guests to fill out a private cat, there may be options to coordinate your travel units together so you can organize a private cat on your own.

For all of our guests who are part of our “6th trip is free” loyalty program, we are skipping this season. Any accrued days you have currently with us will bump to the 2022 season where we will pick things where we left off. That said, if you do come on a private cat this year it will be included in your “6th trip free” accrual.

Remember, all of this may change, and we applaud your patience and understanding as we re-launch our booking calendar and head full steam into our winter season.

THANKFUL

Thank you for sticking with us as we fine tune our operations

PATIENCE

We appreciate your pateince as we continue to adapt to COVID-19

HELPFUL

Your feedback to us will help create our path to this seasons success

Our Pledge to Each Other:

It will be of utmost importance for our staff and guests to be knowledgeable and follow the guidelines provided to us by our federal, state and county officials, as well as our new operations and mitigations to help us prevent the spread of COVID-19. Before your trip, and during our season, it is critical to exercise caution to reduce the risk of exposure to others infected with COVID-19, and to monitor ourselves, our families, and those we are in close contact with for any symptoms. Our pledge is to limit the chance of bringing COVID-19, and other seasonal illnesses, to Steamboat Springs and into our snowcats. There are many measures that we will use to satisfy this pledge, before, during and after your experience with us.

Pre-trip operations and mitigations: 

  • At the time of booking a reservation, all trip leaders will receive an email confirmation that will outline our COVID-19 plan and expectations that you and your group will adhere to.  
  • All trip leaders will be required to have provided us with the names, cell phone numbers, and email addresses for all guests prior to 7-days out so that we can send everyone pre-trip information, forms, and questionnaires. 
  • 7-days prior to your trip, all guests will receive an email containing the following:
    • Participation Agreement (liability/risk waiver) which will be similar to the past agreement but will now include an assumption of risk regarding COVID-19. 
    • Ski/snowboard rental form. In the past, this form was filled out upon check-in here in Steamboat Springs. We will now be sending this form out beforehand and ask that all of your guests fill it out in order to streamline the check-in process and morning logistics.  
    • Diet restriction and food questionnaire. This will include the typical allergy and food preference information plus, a menu of boxed lunch options that all of your guests can pick from. 
    • Traditional information like what to expect, what to bring, and other “day in the life” logistics.
  • 72-hrs prior to your trip we will send you a similar email to remind everyone about your upcoming adventure and double-check that you have filled out all of the mandatory pre-trip forms. 
  • Our day prior 3-5:00 PM check-in will still be happening in order for your group to drop off your boots and ask any final questions.  We will ask you not to come into our office but will have a staff member available to help you fine-tune the boot drop off, check-in process, and answer any questions. Again, this will happen outside the office to limit how many people come inside. 

Day of operations and mitigations:

  • We are required to keep a daily log of our staff’s ongoing health status as required by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment and will be checking for all staff for symptoms such as temperature, cough, shortness of breath, head or body aches, muscle pain, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea or the recent loss of taste or smell. 
  • Similarly, morning temperature checks and health screening of our guests will be checked prior to entering the office. 
  • If a reliable, and timely point of care COVID test becomes available, we may require all participants and staff to be tested within 72-hrs prior to your trip, or the morning of. We strongly encourage all guests to get this done anyway.  
  • Guests and staff will wear face coverings at all times when walking up to and when inside our facilities or inside a vehicle (snowcat/van). If being transported by a snowmobile, a face covering must be worn.  As of September, we are evaluating which face coverings will be acceptable.  We may be providing each guest with an “approved” Buff/neck gaiter that we believe is most suitable for our operation.
  • We may have staggered group arrival times to our office in the morning and in the afternoon for each group.  If implemented, we will notify all groups of their respective arrival/departure times.  Returning to the office may also be staggered relative to your start time. You can always choose to stay outside the office if you don’t wish to come inside.  
  • Our morning breakfast snack will be canceled this season pending health department guidelines.  We are working on ways to still have coffee available for our guests.
  • Lunch may occur outside of our snowcats on all of our trips.  We will not be serving hot lunch this winter but will have catered, boxed lunches for all our guests. We are currently evaluating options for having these boxed lunches in our cabin for our Level I and Level II trips. 
  • Water will still be available for you in the cats.  Please remember to bring a water bottle of some sort. We are adjusting the water storage container and pouring mechanism to provide the safest option available to our staff and guests.
  • Similar to our vans, we are implementing steps to increase airflow in our snowcats.  Windows and possibly the back door shall remain open during transport.  We are moving forward with installing exhaust fans to improve overall airflow in the passenger cabins.
  • We will utilize assigned seating for you in the back of the snowcats and vans.
  • Methods will be established for entering and exiting the snowcats so to avoid congestion at the back of the cat. 
  • When outside the snowcat and on the slope, face coverings may be removed when social distancing is being practiced.
  • No guests will be allowed in the front of the snowcat, unless absolutely necessary due to injury or illness. 
  • Hand sanitizer will be available in our office, snowcats, and vans. 

Post-trip operations and mitigations:

  • Similar to arrival times in the morning, we may stagger our return back to the vans and to our office. We will notify all groups about this before your trip. 
  • 3-days after your trip, we will send our typical post-trip questionnaire email with additional questions regarding your post-trip health status.  If you or anyone in your party has any new health symptoms that may be COVID related, we will need you to let us know immediately so we can review and act accordingly with appropriate contact tracing protocols. 

Vehicle and facility cleaning procedures:

  • Snowcats will be cleaned and sanitized between runs, during lunch, and at the end of daily operations.
  • Vans will be sanitized after each use and at the end of daily operations.
  • Our office will be cleaned and sanitized periodically throughout the day and at the end of each day.

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY 

Please be aware of the potential impacts to Steamboat Springs and our small community during your travel and during your stay. The same measures we are taking to minimize the spread of the COVID on our trips need to also be a focus of yours when leading up to and during your travel to and from Steamboat Springs. An outbreak in this small community could end your snowcat trip and the work for our employees.