Long-awaited storm ends dry spell

Whew! It was a harsh past three weeks when high winds and warm temps forced us to grind to a standstill (after running several great snowcat trips around Christmas). Days without any measurable precipitation turned into weeks of dry weather. We watched, disheartened, as the ridge of high pressure refused to budge and nervously wondered when we could start running snowcat skiing trips again.

Fortunately, the waiting has ended; we are open for business and are ready to ski powder!

The storm that rolled in late Sunday brought around 12 inches to our lower terrain.  The new snow and predicted stormy weather throughout the week and upcoming weekend can tide us through the next dry spell… if needed.  

We appreciate your patience while waiting for more snow and your concerns about upcoming trips. Those of you who have trips booked now through the end of January (or who are thinking about booking a trip) you will have great conditions even if it doesn’t snow this week. The last storm brought enough snow to allow us to ski most of our trees runs; which, till now, needed more coverage.

The Southern San Juans still have one of the deeper snowpacks inColorado.

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Forecasters agree: The storm track is changing

Since we are diehard skiers, nothing excites us more at the San Juan Ski Company, Colorado’s largest snowcat skiing operation, than skiing powder.  If you are like us, you have been spending far too much time online following the weather and keeping track of the next storm (and, like us, are sick and tired of skiing hardpack and junk!)

Warm temps and weird jet streams have contributed to scant snowfall throughout most of the western states.  While the San Juans have one of the deeper snowpacks in Colorado, the SJSC hasn’t run snowcat trips since Dec. 31th when high winds blasted alpine terrain and warm temps melted lower elevation cat roads.  Since then, we haven’t picked up any measureable precipitation in our catski terrain.

However, the storm track appears to be changing…

Forecasters agree that the dominant ridge of high pressure is shifting and may signal an end to the blocking pattern that has pushed recent storms away from Colorado. Snow is predicted in the San Juans late Sunday and a second storm is predicted out of the northwest Monday morning. Local forecasters call for an unsettled northwest flow developing by middle of next week. One national forecaster even predicted a total flip from the current weather pattern. Continue reading

SJSC one of the only snowcat operations in the U.S. to open in December. However…

High Winds and Warm Temps Ruin Powder; SJSC Closes Till Snow Falls

By Carrie Rule

Our first trip of the year was December 24. We were gifted with great powder skiing.

As a young ski bum in Montana, dry spells during winter always led to adventure. I’d head north to Canada and follow the storms – getting face shots at Whitewater, Fernie and Red Mountain, hopping on helicopters at standby rates, or flying into BC backcountry huts for a week of power skinning and epic powder turns on glaciers. 

Other drought years took me to Colorado, Utah, California and even the Alps. 

Twenty years later, it’s not so easy for me to follow storms across North America. And fortunately, I don’t have to travel far to find powder, since skiing untracked lines (even weeks after the last storm) is just a snowcat ride away – until this week.

The Southern San Juans started the season with south tracking storms stacked one after another. By the middle of December, our area had one of the deepest snowpacks in the West. Since then, winds have blasted our snowcat terrain (even below tree line), warm temps have melted and consolidated the snowpack (as well as creating a killer crust), and no snow has fallen in almost three weeks. Despite this, the Southern San Juans still have one of the deeper snowpacks in Colorado.

Because of less-than-ideal ski conditions, we are not running any snowcat trips until it snows. Continue reading

If you are searching for powder over the holiday, SJSC snowcats can take you to the goods

If line after line of untracked powder skiing is on your Christmas wish list this season, the San Juan Ski Company, Colorado’s largest snowcat skiing operation, has thousands of acres of pristine powder just waiting for skiers and riders to rip into during the holiday vacation.

 The Durango Mountain Resort-based catskiing outfit takes out its first guest ‘cat December 24.  Seats are still available through New Year’s Day. Continue reading

Give the gift of powder with SJSC gift certificates

Press Release: Now that most of Colorado’s lifts are spinning and the backcountry beckons with a new blanket of snow, it’s time to ski instead of shopping for Christmas gifts.

For those of you who would rather ski than shop or who can’t find the perfect gift, Colorado’s largest snowcat skiing operation, the San Juan Ski Company, is offering gift certificates for the VIP’s – very important powder hounds – on your Christmas list. Continue reading

Gnarology 101

VIEW FROM THE BACK OF THE CAT – by kevin devine

The website for Treasure Mountain Hut, a backcountry cabin outside of Silverton, Co., describes its skiing and riding terrain as “a Disneyland of Gnar;” a recent piece in Powder Magazine was titled “Sculpting Gnarnia;” and our own website for the San Juan Ski Company says we have “opened the gates to Gnarvana.”

 Ya think maybe the gnar is being overworked? Ya think? Continue reading

SJSC offers Penultimate Ski Pass

VIEW FROM THE BACK OF THE CAT – by sjsc guide kevin devine

Recently Aspen Skiing Co. announced that it is again offering “The
Ultimate Ski Pass.”

 For $25,000, pass holders will get “unlimited first tracks before chairlifts open,” get to meet members of the Women’s U.S.
Ski Team, have breakfast with the president of the U.S. Ski and
Snowboard Association, and more.

First tracks….really?

Inspired by “The Ultimate Ski Pass,” The San Juan Ski Company,
Colorado’s largest snowcat skiing operation is
now offering “The Penultimate Ski Pass.” Continue reading