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 Name Vail
Region State Colorado
Region City Vail
Region Country USA
Closest Resort Vail Ski Resort
Optional Resort Brecken Ridge Ski Resort
Optional Resort Manor Vail Lodge

Cat Skiing Pictures in Vail

Area Details
Acres (sq. miles) 3,500
Skill Level Strong Intermediate - Expert
Annual Snowfall (inches) 190
Snow Type Untracked Powder
Mountain Range Rocky Mountains
Elevation (feet) 8,022
Tour Details
Runs per Day 10-12
Apprx. Vertical Feet per Run 1,000
Apprx. Vertical Feet per Day 12,000
Rentals Available Free
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 Name Airport Code Miles to Region
Eagle County Regional Airport EGE 35 mi
Denver International Airport DIA 121 mi
Distance From
Airport City State Code Miles Time Stops
Los Angeles International Airport Los Angeles CA LAX 903 2h 22m Direct
O'Hare International Airport Chicago IL ORD 1125 2h 50m Direct
John F. Kennedy International Airport New York NY JFK 1925 4h 39m Direct
San Francisco International Airport San Francisco CA SFO 1140 4h 59m 1
Seattle–Tacoma International Airport Seattle/Tacoma WA SEA 939 5h 52m 1
Newark Liberty International Airport New York/Newark/New Jersey NJ EWR 1901 7h 21m 1
Logan International Airport Boston MA BOS 2099 7h 51 1
Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport Minneapolis/St. Paul MN MSP 1039 5h 33m 1
Philadelphia International Airport Philadelphia PA PHL 1871 7h 21m 1
LaGuardia Airport New York NY LGA 1915 4h 55m Direct
Washington Dulles International Airport Washington, D.C. VA IAD 1789 7h 47m 1
San Diego International Airport San Diego CA SAN 951 4h 4m 1
Midway International Airport Chicago IL MDW 1132 6h 27m 1
Portland International Airport Portland OR PDX 1156 5h 11m 1


Grand Targhee Resort
3300 Ski Hill Rd
Alta, WY 83414