If cats have nine lives, Steamboat Powdercats, founded in 1983 by Jupiter and Barbara Jones, is doing pretty well, celebrating its 30th birthday this year.
“After heli skiing in Canada, some of our friends on the trip convinced us to purchase a snowcat and give it a try in Steamboat,” says Jupiter, who sold the operation to the current ownership team in 1999. “So we did, and it’s been running strong ever since.”
Since those early days, tens of thousands of guests have utilized its snowcats and guides to access some of the best powder in the country, including such celebrities as Martina Navratilova, Cindy Nelson, Dr. Richard Steadman, Klaus Obermeyer and Seth Morrison. Warren Miller and other film companies also have laid tracks with Powdercats.
The company guides as many as 36 guests a day and 2,000 per year into the Buffalo Pass backcountry, home of Colorado’s deepest snowpack. In May 2011, Buffalo Pass registered the deepest snowpack ever recorded in Colorado history at more than 200 inches.
The company is planning a 30th anniversary season celebration party Dec. 19 to kick off the season and commemorate its three-decade mark. “It’s a big milestone for us, and we’re expecting another banner year,” Steamboat Powdercats manager Kent Vertrees says. “It’s truly a gem right in our own backyard.”