During our Spring Break vacation to Keystone Resort, we signed up for the family snow cat adventure and we had a blast. The snow cat adventure starts with a ride on the gondola to the top of the mountain. It was clear and a bit overcast but the views were majestic in all directions - looking downhill we could see Keystone Resort, looking west we saw the ski runs at Breckenridge ski area and several of Colorado's towering 14,000 feet peaks, and east toward Denver tall mountains covered in glistening snow. Very impressive and awe inspiring!
Once we got off the gondola, we were warmly greeted by a smiling, outgoing, and friendly guide named Josh. How did he know we were his passengers for the day? Took me a while to realize that we were the only ones on the top of the mountain with no skis! We followed Josh about a 100 yards from the gondola where a red snow cat suddenly appeared. What an awesome looking machine - this is going to be fun. Just before we boarded, Alex another friendly and smiling guide joined us for the trip.
We piled into the snow cat and Josh told us a little bit about the machine while the engine was warming up. It's a snow cat that's been converted from use for ski slope grooming to an adventure cat big enough to seat twelve. I wondered if it missed it's days as a ski run groomer. When Josh asks, I jumped at the opportunity to sit in the front cab and learn more about the cat and our adventure.
Our snow cat was a PistenBully 400 series cat with a 600 horsepower Mercedes Bend twin turbo. Josh said it will go over or around just about anything and can handle a slope of greater than 25 degrees. It drives similar to a tank and turns by moving one or the other snow tracks. It's comfy, heated inside, and has a 360 degree view. The snow cats are also used for guided ski tours from the top of one of 00 Keystone Resort's peaks. One of the tours includes being shuttled to the top, guided down the mountain in virgin untracked snow, then picked up for a ride back up to the top to do it again down a different run. In the middle of the day the skiers will enjoy a gourmet mountainside lunch.
For the next hour we drove up and down some steep inclines, on trails through the trees, through deep powder and above the tree line to the top of one the tallest peaks.
We made several stops along the way, got out of the cat, and admired the view and some facts about what we were seeing.
The grandkids mouths hung open and their eyes were wide when they got to ride up front with Josh after making snow angels in 10 inches of fresh powder.
The scenery was spectacular, the views were stunning, and the guides were outstanding, and we all had a marvelous time. Don't miss this adventure next time you're at Keystone Resort.