passenger snowcat for snowcat skiing on chicago ridge at ski cooper

Get High, Get Deep, Get After It on Chicago Ridge


Click Here to Learn About Scenic Sightseeing Tours (no skis required!)

Chicago Ridge Snowcat Tours is operated by Ski Cooper on 2600 acres of open bowls, glades and timber in the San Isabel and White River National Forests. This is an area roughly the size of Vail’s Back Bowls, with similar length, pitch and vertical. Identified in the 1980’s as a potentially high quality location for backcountry powder skiing, a successful inaugural year in 1988 has led to Chicago Ridge Snowcat Tours becoming one of the longest continuously operating backcountry ski touring operations in the world. Guests soak in spectacular scenery as we climb along the Continental Divide with dozens of Colorado’s highest peaks in our view – a beauty scene unlike any we’ve seen elsewhere.  We’ll take you as high as 12,600 feet. The slopes vary from 3,000 to 10,000 feet in length with vertical drops up to 2,000 feet per run.

    CRST utilizes a pair of Bombardier snowcats with plush enclosed cabins and comfortable individual seating to transport a maximum of 12 guests per day into our vast permit area.  Experienced guides, each trained and certified in emergency medical care and snow safety, accompany every tour.  Our guides are intimately familiar with the nuances of our terrain, and so are able to seek out and lead tours into the best snow available, all while providing a unique experience customized to best suit each tour group.  Many of our guests have become friends, returning year after year.  Much like historic and legendary Ski Cooper, CRST refrains from marketing hype and creating false expectations.  We operate under a simple philosophy:  deliver the goods, deliver them safely and professionally, and leave our guests with a smile and a singular desire – to do it again.  And again.

    Tours are full day experiences and are priced at $299 per person.  This includes a robust hot lunch in our backcountry yurt, use of individual rescue beacons & powder skis or boards (if desired), and a traditional après-ski with choice microbrews and snacks.  Advance reservations are required; a minimum of 5 guests are needed to confirm a tour launch.  Call 719-486-2277 between 8 AM and 4 PM to make your reservation.  We will work to match single guests, couples and groups of less than 5 to meet the required launch minimum.  There are never more than 12 guests on a tour.  A private tour can be assured by “buying the ‘cat” for $3000.  Private tours may be from 1-12 guests.  Guests are asked to arrive at the Ski Cooper base lodge by 8:15 in order to make a scheduled departure of 8:45.  A hearty, reasonably priced breakfast is available beginning at 7:30 AM.  After an average of 8-12 runs in untracked snow, we return to the base lodge tired and happy at approximately 4 PM.

    The skill: Many of our potential guests wonder about ski-ride skill.  A strong advanced skier/rider can have a great time with us, but we use the word ‘expert’ when asked what level of skill is required.  Our snow is unconsolidated, ungroomed and deep!  Suitable skiing / riding ability is important to ensure an enjoyable experience for everyone.  Although there are options available while on tour if your ability is less than what is needed to safely and happily negotiate the terrain, we cannot offer refunds.  Our snow exists in its natural state; although this often means long lines of blower pow, it also means that weather ultimately controls snow quality and terrain choices.  We continually monitor and evaluate snow conditions, and prior to a tour departure, we actively converse with our guests to discuss options such as rescheduling or cancelling when we determine conditions are likely to be disappointing.  We feel this is the best way to ensure that our best advertisers – our guests – have an epic, enjoyable experience they can’t wait to tell everyone about and repeat.

    The question:

    What are you waiting for?  719-486-2277.  Make the reservation.  Get on the ‘cat.  You’ll be happy!


    Ski Cooper has several high performance Backcountry Powder Skis available at our Rental Shop to maximize your experience.

    • RMU (Rocker Technology)
    • RMU Apostle (Rocky Mountain Underground)
    • K2 Coomback & Salomon Geisha
    • NeverSummer Snowboards
    A guest should always bring their own skis that work for them in powder conditions in the unlikely event that we may not have a ski that for them. Choices for kids or any ski under 165 cm are limited.]


    Tour Guides

    • Two highly experienced and skilled guides lead all tours
    • Ski Cooper maintains a fleet of two tour snowcats
    • Chicago Ridge guides maintain a solid snow safety program to ensure guest safety and maximize open terrain for fresh tracks for each tour

    Days of Operation

    Weather permitting, Mid December 2014 –  Early April, 2015

    Hours of Operation

    ALL DAY – 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.
    (Includes a Lunch and & Après Ski at the Lodge)


    12 spots available each day.

    Individual Rates: $299.00 (rate includes your high performance powder ski rental for the day)
    Group Rate: $3000 per buy out of all 12 seats in the cat


    Advanced snowcat reservations are REQUIRED. Check out our Chicago Ridge Avaiability Calendar and call (719) 486-2277 or (800) 707-6114 7 days a week during our operating season  8:30 am – 3:30 pm MST.

    Young people under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult and have the skill level to handle the backcountry terrain. A 100% deposit is required at the time reservations are made.
    Reservations may be made with major credit card, travelers checks or cash.

    If Chicago Ridge Snowcat tours cancels a tour due to weather or snow conditions, or the minimum requirement of 5 guests for a tour is not met, Ski Cooper will provide a 100% refund or reschedule your tour. Should there be a cancellation within your party, we require 21 days notice in order for you to receive a refund.

    Download PDF Chicago Ridge Release Form

    • Gene, We had such a wonderful time skiing with you this weekend! It was a perfect trip for the kids first cat skiing experience. My son Ryan can't stop talking about it. I'm so proud of how they handled the snow. Ryan skied all 10 runs! I kept asking him if he wanted to take a run off and ride in the cat, and he said, "I did not come snow cat skiing to ride in the cat. I'm going to ski every run!" We can't wait to come back! We are planning another trip this year for the adults and older kids, and we will definitely bring the younger kids back next year! Don't want to spoil them too much!! Thanks again! You guys are great! Phill Falender

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