Cat Skiing in Vail


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Vail, Colorado is a municipality located in Eagle County, has 5,300 year-round residents and attracts millions of tourists each year. It is famous for its numerous cultural events held throughout the year, including its Vail Film Festival, and garners widespread favor for its hotels, restaurants, and cafes.

Surrounded by the White River National Forest, Vail receives more than 180 inches of snow each year. The heaviest of snowfalls arrives in November, December, January, and February with these months receiving on average 30 inches of snow apiece. The city’s biggest industry is based on winter sports including cat skiing, which draws thousands to Vail each year. Most of the cat skiing in Vail takes place at its Winter Recreational Area.

There is only one small cat operation permitted by the U.S. Forestry Service in Vail. The single snowcat in use guarantees a minimum amount of cat skiers on the mountain at a single time, this in turn ensures the freshest powder snow.

Area Overview
CST Rating
Region NameVail
Region StateColorado
Region CityVail
Region CountryUSA
Closest ResortVail Ski Resort
Optional ResortBrecken Ridge Ski Resort
Optional ResortManor Vail Lodge

Cat Skiing Pictures in Vail

Area Details
Acres (sq. miles)3,500
Skill LevelStrong Intermediate - Expert
Annual Snowfall (inches)190
Snow TypeUntracked Powder
Mountain RangeRocky Mountains
Elevation (feet)8,022
Tour Details
Runs per Day10-12
Apprx. Vertical Feet per Run1,000
Apprx. Vertical Feet per Day12,000
Rentals AvailableFree
Apprx. Cost per Day per Person$550
Apprx. Cost per Day per Cat$5,500


Safety is a priority, which is why skiers can expect to be paired with expert guides. In fact, advance reservations are required for this reason and to ensure that the guides can handle the number of skiers in their parties. Payment for reservations is collected when the availability of seats in the snow cat are confirmed.

Rates for a day of cat skiing in Vail start at around $500 per seat on the snowcat. To book all 12 seats, the cost averages around $5,000 per day. The price of reservations guarantees guests’ access to guided backcountry skiing, free use of the resort’s powder-specific skis or snowboards, professional guided services, and lunch in the resort’s yurt. The cat operates only when weather conditions permit.

The terrain itself spans 3,500 acres and features open bowls, treed glades, and steeper and tighter tree skiing. Skiers can expect to average 10 to 12 runs per day and 1,000 feet in verticals. They could get up to 1,200 feet in verticals on snowier days.

Most of the drop offs are above the timberline at 12,000 feet. Skiers are treated to a 360 degree panoramic view on sunny days.

Traveling to Vail can be done by taking Interstate 70 directly to the town. I-70 runs east and west through Vail and is the only road in and out of the city. Vail is serviced by the Eagle County Airport in Gypsum. It can accommodate small aircraft as well as private and charter jets. The nearest international airport is in Denver, which is 97 miles away.

Vail for the most part is based on European ski towns and mostly car-free. People walk to get around town since it is mostly pedestrianized. The town has an extensive shuttle network that includes 10 hybrid electric buses, running from stop to stop every five minutes during the peak tourist season. During the off-season, buses run every 15 minutes, with each stop having a GPS system that tracks buses on their routes.

  • FULL DAY (Pre-Determined by Weather Conditions)

    Includes lunch served in a yurt.

  • PRIVATE SNOWCAT (Holds 10 people)

    Includes lunch served in a yurt.



Closest Airport
Airport NameAirport CodeMiles to Region
Eagle County Regional AirportEGE35 mi
Denver International AirportDIA121 mi
Distance From
Los Angeles International AirportLos AngelesCALAX9032h 22mDirect
O'Hare International AirportChicagoILORD11252h 50mDirect
John F. Kennedy International AirportNew YorkNYJFK19254h 39mDirect
San Francisco International AirportSan FranciscoCASFO11404h 59m1
Seattle–Tacoma International AirportSeattle/TacomaWASEA9395h 52m1
Newark Liberty International AirportNew York/Newark/New JerseyNJEWR19017h 21m1
Logan International AirportBostonMABOS20997h 511
Minneapolis–Saint Paul International AirportMinneapolis/St. PaulMNMSP10395h 33m1
Philadelphia International AirportPhiladelphiaPAPHL18717h 21m1
LaGuardia AirportNew YorkNYLGA19154h 55mDirect
Washington Dulles International AirportWashington, D.C.VAIAD17897h 47m1
San Diego International AirportSan DiegoCASAN9514h 4m1
Midway International AirportChicagoILMDW11326h 27m1
Portland International AirportPortlandORPDX11565h 11m1


Vail Ski Resort
Main Vail, Vail, CO 81657, USA