A few weeks ago, I was able to go on a Vail Powder Guides trip with work. We took a snow cat, which is part zamboni, part snow plow that can go over most terrain. They are often seen at ski resorts grooming or maintaining the snow. I went with 9 other coworkers and a few guides throughout Vail Pass in one snowcat.
This was my first time doing any sort of backcountry skiing. We used skis from the company, which made me pretty nervous. However, as soon as I heard the guides talk, their knowledge comforted me beyond belief. Once I cruised (literally on top of this fresh powder) down the first run, I was able to enjoy the rest of the day.
A few essentials for a powder ski trip
Gear: My skis are all mountain which means they will work for most stuff. However, they will not work well for skiing in really deep powder. Vail Powder Guides provides K2 Pontoons which were amazing skis for powder skiing. Also, make sure to dress WARM. Snowcats are often times mildly heated and protected from the wind, but you will still be outside most of the day. I recommend hand or toe warmers too!
Snacks: Pack your own and leave your bag in the cat. Also, your guides might provide plenty of snacks. Make sure to eat before you get too hungry.
Hydration: Drink water before you are thirsty. You will be outside in the cold and sometimes it can be harder to detect that you are thirsty. Make sure to drink water at every chance you get. Drinking and eating properly will give you the energy you need for the day.
Reliable car: Make sure you have a reliable car for the drive up. It snowed a couple days before our trip (great for skiing), but not always the best for driving. If your car isn’t AWD, look into borrowing or renting a car for the day. You will be thankful you did!
I seriously recommend this trip. The guides were so great and experienced. They were awesome with all skiers and made us feel very comfortable. They had tasty ski snacks for us, and they provided a comfortable yurt for lunch.
The skiing was amazing, and the views were even better. Enjoy 🙂