Durango, Colorado: Comprised of the greatest concentration of 13,000 and 14,000-foot peaks in the Rocky Mountains, the San Juans are home to some of the best snowcat skiing in Colorado. Known for massive storms and deep, dry powder, it’s no wonder that these rugged mountains are on the verge of becoming a snowcat and backcountry skiing mecca and a world-class ski and snowboarding destination.
From steep, cliff-pocked tree runs to 2,000-foot descents that dive down through chutes to high-speed cruiser glade runs punctuated with face-shots, the San Juan Ski Company’s 36,000-acre powder playground includes miles of steep treed slopes and glades spread throughout 10 major drainages and sick lines off of Grayrock Peak and Graysill Mountain. Independently owned and operated, owner and lead guide Bob Rule has been guiding skiing and snowboarding trips since 1997. Fourteen years later, he is still exploring new lines with guests.
Snowfall in the area averages between 20 and 30 feet or 240 to 360 inches. When it's not dumping, the region is known for bright, crisp bluebird days and magnificent views. Either way, guests can't go wrong catskiing with the San Juan Ski Company; especially since guests are guaranteed untracked powder.
With almost 60 square miles of terrain and plenty of snowfall, skiers and snowboarders are guaranteed powder; even if it hasn't snowed in weeks. The San Juan Ski Company is the only snowcat skiing operation in the business that makes this guarantee.
Owned and operated by diehard skiers who don't want to ski unless they are skiing virgin powder, owners Bob and Carrie Rule hope this guarantee gives clients peace of mind before and after booking a snowcat trip.
Guests can expect to ski or ride 10 to 12 runs and between 10,000 and 12,000 vertical feet and “to be really tired by the end of the day,” said guide Bob Rule.
Rates start at $250, plus tax, for single seats. Price includes avalanche safety gear (beacon and shovel pack), souvenir water bottle and water, and a one-ride chair lift ticket. Rental skis are available for $28.
The San Juan Ski Company’s reservation desk is located inside Backcountry Experience, an outdoor specialty store, on the plaza level of the Purgatory Lodge at Durango Mountain Resort. Guests meet at 8 a.m. and return to the base around 4:30. Durango Mountain Resort is located 23 miles north of Durango, Colo., and 23 miles south of Silverton, Colo., on highway 550. From Telluride, it is approximately a two and a half hour drive.