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Image: Casey Day

If you feel like getting away for a cat trip beyond Summit, a number of outfitters operate within a two-hour drive. Powder Addiction (powderaddiction.com) accesses 2,600 acres on Jones Pass and sells seats for $475 per day and the (12-person) cat for $4,750. Steamboat Powdercats (steamboatpowdercats.com), famous for finding feather-light snow on Buffalo Pass, prices trips at $600 per person and $6,000 for the cat. Farther west, Chicago Ridge Snowcat Tours (skicooper.com/snowcat-tours, pictured above), which launches from Ski Cooper on Tennessee Pass, touts runs as long as 2,000 vertical feet and sells seats for $349 and the cat for $3,499. Vail Powder Guides (vailpowderguides.com), with a history of sniffing out the goods on Vail Pass, charges $500 per seat and $5,000 for the cat. Lastly, Monarch Mountain (skimonarch.com/cat-skiing) offers steeper-than-usual cat-ski terrain and bargain prices at $275 per person and just $2,750 for the cat. 

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A few words about gear

Most snowcat outfitters include rental powder skis or snowboards in their price, whether you use them or not. Same goes for avalanche beacons. Still, be sure to bring warm gloves and a good camera, and consider packing an extra goggle lens if you have one. 

Free advice

Don't be that wanker who tries to ski first every time. If you’re going to attempt a jump, do keep the other guests in mind and stick it. Don’t forget to fuel and hydrate during the rides up in the cat. Do watch out for slippery steps while exiting the cat—there’s nothing worse than twisting your knee and watching everyone else ski powder. 

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