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

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 Snowcat Guides Hit the Woods for Ski Conditioning


by SJSC guide Kevin Devine

It is that time of year when an early snowfall gets skiers and riders jonesin’ to be sliding.

At the San Juan Ski Company, Colorado’s largest snowcat operation, we don’t really have time to ‘jones,’ (primarily because most of us don’t know what the term means) and October and November snowfall in the Continental Snowpack, where we ski and ride, more often than not becomes north aspect basal instability later in the season.

Great for snow scientists, not so great for back country skiers and riders. Continue reading

Buried SJSC powder photos discovered during google search

As I watch huge snowflakes fall outside my office window, I yearn for the first icy faceshot blast of the season. Ironically, while I am in a semi-hypnotic state from staring at the falling snow and at my computer, I stumble upon a secret powder photo stash after googling SJSC.  Up till now, these photos have remained hidden to the San Juan Ski Company, buried in countless pages of trivial SJSC tidbits and defunct travel websites that once listed our snowcat business.

Perhaps fate led me to photos. Certainly the snowy day did. Continue reading

SJSC’s powder stashes are southern Colorado’s best-kept secret

Press Release: Just as the San Juan range is a hidden gem in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, so is the San Juan Ski Company, an ‘undiscovered’ snowcat skiing operation that bases out of Durango Mountain Resort in the southwest San Juans.

While most of the ski industry hype lauds resorts along or near the I-70 corridor, Colorado’s largest snowcat company, like the rugged and remote peaks of its namesake, is often overlooked by skiers and snowboarders visiting the state and Front Range recreationalists.

But it hasn’t remained a secret because it is small.

With almost 60 square miles of terrain, the San Juan Ski Co. has more permitted real estate than all Colorado ski resorts combined, is the second largest catski operator in the U.S., and rivals the third biggest catskiing outfit in North America by just a few hundred acres. Continue reading