Snowcat Skiing + Boarding
Creede, Rocky Mountains of Colorado
Welcome to San Juan Snowcat
North America's Highest Backcountry Snowcat Skiing and Snowboarding @ 13,250 feet.
San Juan Snowcat delivers powder filled snowcat skiing and riding adventures traveling in an enclosed and heated snowcats. Imagine yourself and 9 other guests in the pristine and remote backcountry setting that Colorado is known. San Juan Snowcat is situated in the premier powder terrain that is sought after by every skier, snowboarder and backcountry enthusiast. We are located in the San Juan Mountains just north of the historic mining town of Creede. Our company soley exists to bring you and your group into the true Colorado Backcountry. No lift lines. No crowds. No BS.
We also offer scenic snowcat tours that will show you seven different Colorado "Fourteeners", vast expanses of high altitude terrain with plenty of photo oppurtunites. You will feel as if standing on top of the world.
We pride ourselves in creating an experience with us that will be your most memorable.
Higher, Steeper, Deeper. Just about 9 miles north of Creede Colorado, San Juan Snowcat will transport you into the truly epic, magnificent and beautiful powder terrain that can only be found in the “Lost" San Juan Mountains. San Juan Snowcat truly offers the adventure of a lifetime. At 13,250 feet (the highest backcountry snowcat access in North America), we place you on top of untracked bowls, chutes and couloirs. Runs range from rolling intermediate glades to extreme faces that reach 55° in pitch. All of this plus the breath-taking views of over 7 different 14,000 foot peaks. We offer exclusive access to the finest terrain and premier powder with the most thorough backcountry awareness available in a Colorado guided experience.
Snowcat Trips in the Rocky Mountains
San Juan Snowcat is located in the wonderful beauty of Creede, Colorado. Creede is 21 miles north of South Fork and 37 miles from the famous Wolf Creek Ski Area. Don’t hesitate... this is truly the high altitide snowcat skiing and snowcat boarding adventure you will never forget.
Ability & Terrain
While we want everyone to have a great time, San Juan Snowcat reserves the right to dictate whether or not a guest has comparable ability with the rest of your group. We also reserve the right to stipulate which runs are deemed safe for your ability level. We strive to create an adventurous day fom everyone as a whole. Here are a few things to consider before booking a trip with us.
1. All guests should be in good physical condition. You'll be skiing deep backcountry powder at high elevations and the demands on a person’s physical body are great.
2. We do not groom any runs!
3. Some of our best skiing is steep, tight trees!
4. For the expert skier that is expecting to ski 50-degree chutes and launch 50-foot airs on every run, you will be disappointed. We would love to watch you do this type of play activity but local snowpack conditions and general guest safety rule above all desires and we are the authority on the matter. No exceptions.
5. Our choice of terrain each day is based on avalanche hazard, snow conditions, and skier ability. We like to challenge our guests as much as their ability will allow. The snow conditions vary greatly and we reserve the right to determine terrain. Guests should be of advanced and expert ability and able to ski within variable snow conditions on steep treed slopes. If you are not of the advanced ability level please call us anyway. With a large group of skiers/riders of the same ability we can tailor the terrain to suit most ability levels. Even the beginning powder skier.
6. Guests who are clearly uncooperative or clearly lack the ability to ski/ride the terrain for that day may be subject to downloading by our staff to the town of Creede. Basically, your skiing and riding privileges could be revoked without refund.
7. All guests are required to sign a Release of Liability, Waiver of Claims, Assumption of Risks and Indemnity Agreement before being allowed to ski or snowboard with San Juan Snowcat. By signing these documents, guests will waive certain legal rights, including the right to sue and hold liable San Juan Snowcat and its affiliates or contractors.
Our choice of terrain each day is based on avalanche hazard, snow conditions, and skier ability. We like to challenge our guests as much as their ability and snow conditions allow. Guests should be of advanced and expert ability and able to ski within variable snow conditions on steep treed slopes. If you are concerned about holding up other skiers, or about being held up, consider renting the entire cat for your own private group of similar ability levels.
What kind of tours do you offer?
Snowcat skiing and snowboarding tours, scenic tours, skiing/snowboarding tours using snowmobile access, and sledding or snowshoeing tours.
What are the elevations of San Juan Snowcat’s operation?
Base Elevation: 11,111
Peak Elevation: 13, 250
Maximum hiking elevation: 14,014
What allows San Jaun Snowcat to operate on public land?
We have obtained and regularly review and renew a "special use" permit within the Rio Grande National Forest. This permit gives us access to over 30,000 acres of skiable terrain accessed by a snowcat for use in our activities
What is your average snowfall?
350-450 inches/year. We are only a few miles from Wolf Creek Ski Area, who averages the most snow of all ski resorts in Colorado and was noted by Skiing Magazine as top three resorts in North America for Best Powder and Best Trees. SO we are close to them and attempt to pull more snow out of the sky, than they do, each and every day.
How many square miles of developed terrain do you offer?
Approximately 10 square miles, 30 more are available for future exploration and development
What are the average slope angles of the terrain?
Who else has access to your terrain?
There are no other commercial snowcat operations with access to our terrain.
How much experience do your guides have?
All are Ski Patrol certified or equivalent. Level 1 Avalanche Training is required by the U.S. Forest Service.
We use various snowcats. Some with passenger cabins and some without. We also incorporate snowmobiles and various trailers that tow behind snowmobiles for those powder hunting excursions.
Do you rent skis/snowboards?
No, however we recommend checking with the several options located in South Fork and Creede. Please call us.
What are the main risks and dangers?
Avalanches, tree wells, getting lost, severe cold weather, stumps, rocks or trees, cat roads, snowcats & snowmobiles.
Is lunch included?
Yes. A hot "almost-gourmet" lunch is provided. It will be hot, hearty and we will have enouogh for leftovers. Water is provided on the snowcat. Somoe snacks as well. If you have any special dietary concerns (No red meat, allergic reactions to shellfish or peanuts, no raw onions), please let us know at the time of bookings. Please tell us sooner than the day of the trip or even the day prior. We also offer snacks and drinks throughout the day.
Will a trip be cancelled due to weather?
Most likey, no. Snowcats can operate in some of the most severe weather ever recorded. Some of the best skiing is had on the stormiest days. On a stormy day, our guides will do their best to find sheltered terrain that will allow you to continue to enjoy your snowcat adventure! Some other factors such as, but not limited too, low overall visibility and wind velocities may alter the terrain choices for the day.
What is the best time to come snowcat skiing?
Certainly, the best day will be right after a large storm has passed through the San Juan Mountains. If you are a lucky guest, you will land your trip on one of these days! But, as weather is unpredictable, it is nearly impossible to know exactly which days these will be the most filled with epic powder…but not to worry! Miles of fresh powder can be found throughout the season, even in drought years! Late December, January and February are all solid months. However, early snowstorms in November can yield enough powder to justify days on the mountain, too. And March is often our best month, with early spring snowstorms dumping FEET of snow…but also, with warmer temps spring-like conditions can apply, too…. No matter the day, you will no doubt be pleasantly surprised by the conditions we will find! You are not spending your day at a local ski area but in an environment that only sees 10-12 people per day.
How many runs will we get in?
We guarantee that you will be enjoying several runs per day. We usually average 8-14 runs per day, but please be forewarned that we do not guarantee a certain number of runs. We like to ski and ride too. So we naturally want to get in more runs than you would think. So, if your particular snowcat breaks down we will credit you some monies based upon our current average of 11 runs per day. If you skied/rode 4 runs then you would receive a credit for 7 runs. But if the guides deem the snow to be too dangerous (think ice crust for example) or the overall ability level of the group is not on par with the US Freestyle Ski Team then we will do our best, without placing anyone in a safety compromising condition, to provide you with as many runs as we can squeeze in for the day. We may also alter terrain choices to avoid runs with increased risk to guests or Guides.
What happens if a snowcat breaks has mechanical problems during my trip?
If a mechanical breakdown occurs to one of our snowcats during your trip, we apologize in advance, as this is never something that we wish to happen. Your patience is appreciated if this occurs to your group. We will do our best to fix the problem on site and may need to shuffle you and your group around with another cat or snowmobiles while the issue is being fixed. See “How many runs will we get in?” above.
Am I ready for snowcat skiing in the San Juans?
If you are a strong intermediate skier or boarder and can confidently navigate blue runs at ski resorts in varying snow conditions, then you are ready for a Snowcat Skiing and Snowboarding Adventure. Snowcat skiing/boarding is not recommended for beginners, however we can often make accommodations for those willing to try. Please call us if you fall into the beginner category and have a group of friends with similar ability levels. San Juan Snowcat enjoys a tremendous number of terrain options and is able to take beginners out into the backcountry to experience powder skiing and snowboarding. We simply require knowledge of beginners’ ability ahead of time in order to plan appropriate trips for both you and our other guests. We will make your first snowcat trip a memorable one.
Do you offer discounts for groups?
Yes! Rent a whole cat for your group at a discounted rate. We will also work with groups that want multiple days of snowcat skiing and riding too. Call us too.
How safe is snowcat skiing and snowcat boarding?
We take your safety very seriously. However there is always risk in the back-country because we are dealing with a natural and uncontrolled environment. We cannot fully eliminate this risk, but with a good team and good procedures we attempt to reduce and manage this risk.
- We use experienced and highly trained guides that know the area in shich you are playing.
- Each guest receives an avalanche beacon and basic training on its use, along with a shovel and probe.
- Our team does frequent snow testing and takes weather observations daily
- We are experienced with, and feel comfortable saying “no” to situations that might place unnecessary risk on guides, guests or equipment.
||Dec - May
|Price per person
|Full Cat (12 Guests max)
|| $2500 p/day
On days where less than 6 guests book a snowcat trip we have alternate means of transportation up and down the hill. We could also make additional seats available up to 16 guests. Please call for details.
Off Peak/Early Season is any day from when snow starts falling up to Dec. 31st and then again after April 1st until our season ends. Not after June 1st
Peak Season begins Jan. 1st and proceeds thru March 31st
A small fuel Surcharge may be added if prices climb past our intial figures. With our current gas prices we do not anticipate having to exercise this option and will do our best to avoid this situation.
Days of Operation
Mid-December to the end of May, snow permitting.
Hours of Operation
7:15 A.M. Meeting time to 3:30 P.M.
Advanced reservations are required. Young people under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult and have the skill level to handle the backcountry terrain. Full payment is required at the time reservations are made. You can reserve your seat online right now by clicking the dates you want to go on our calendar below and clicking submit. Our reservations are easy and safe. You deserve a powder day of skiing or riding!
No Minimum Age
To sign up for this trip, choose a trip from the option box and press the submit button above. You will then be presented with dates that are available. Once you are registered, you will get a confirmation email from San Juan Snowcat for your trip.
Meeting Location for San Juan Snowcats
The meeting location is at the Old Miners Inn at 7:15am
You can use our Google Maps on the right side of this page for directions and drive times.
Meeting time is 7:15am. Please anticipate winter driving conditions and traffic to make sure you are on time.
You can search all the trips that we offer
10% of the tour fee is non-refundable as a reservation fee. 50% of the snowcat tour fee is non-refundable within 21 days of your tour. Your reservation is completely non-refundable within 14 days of your tour.
More Trip Information
For directions from where you are to where the San Juan Snowcat Skiing, Creede, CO is located/meets at, enter your starting point as: City, State or Zip Code or Airport and click on our button.
What is the vertical average per day?
8,000 to 18,000 ft
What is the weather like?
The high alpine Rocky Mountains are known for alternating fierce snowstorms with surprisingly sunny days. Daytime temperatures range from -10 to 35 degrees, made seemingly warmer by very low humidity. Evening temps can drop to -20 or -30 in January and February. Whether you arrive on one of our sunny “blue-bird” days or during a massive snowstorm dumping 1-4 feet of fresh powder on the ground is questionable at best. Be prepared for both and anything!
What to bring:
Please see our backcountry
San Juan Sports 719-658-2359
Snowshoes, cross-country skiis, backcountry equipment, clothing, maps and more
Wolf Creek Ski and Sports
Skis, snowboards, skiboards, snowshoes, clothing and more
The BOC store
has items that we suggest for this trip.
Group organizers may go on this trip for free! Click here for details.
What ski areas are nearby?
Wolf Creek Ski Area – 37 miles (driving)
Monarch Ski Area – 133 miles (driving)
Crested Butte Ski Area – 133 miles (driving)
Durango Mountain Resort – 154 miles (driving)
Telluride Ski Area – 130 miles (driving)
Silverton Ski Area – 85 miles (driving)
Taos Ski Area – 158 miles (driving)
Rio Grande Vacation Rentals
San Juan Snowcat