- Our terrain demands a strong intermediate or expert skiing or snowboarding ability to enjoy this guided backcountry adventure.
- Our avalanche and injury safety records are second to none.
- We offer the free use of powder skis or powder snowboards.
- We serve a hearty lunch of sandwiches, snacks and cookies. We are happy to accommodate any dietary restrictions.
- We are a 5 mile drive from the Copper Mountain exit, an easy 15 mile commute from the Vail exit, and we are 35-40 minutes from Breckenridge and Beaver Creek.
- We meet at the Vail Pass Rest Area, exit 190 of Interstate 70.
Frequently Asked Questions
Owner/operators, Ben and Jenna Bartosz, bring over 45 years of combined experience guiding backcountry skiing and riding in the VPG terrain. This coming season will mark Ben's 28th year and Jenna's 19th year snowcat skiing up on Vail Pass. The Bartosz' also have additional years of experience guiding other outdoor activities, teaching skiing, and guiding for other ski companies.
Ben and Jenna have enjoyed employing a handful of fellow guides for over a decade that bring specializations with them that perfectly compliment VPG.
All of our guides are vaccinated for COVID, have a minimum of Level 2 avalanche training, and Wilderness First Responder, EMT, OEC or WFR medical training. Also, all Vail Powder Guides are core soul-skiers who are committed to empowering our guests to ensure everyone has a magical POWDER day.
Vail Powder Guides provides all guests with the free use of our powder-specific skis and snowboards.
Vail Powder Guides has a liability waiver and medical check forms that need to be filled out before we board the snowcat. We also ask that everyone who is eligible arrive fully vaccinated* against COVID. If anyone scheduled to ski with us is experiencing any symptoms of sick, please stay home. We will be taking temperatures before our day, we will be riding in a breezy snowcat cabin, and masks will be encouraged at all times-except while making powder turns.
*If a member of your group arrives unvaccinated, we expect proof of a recent negative COVID test. There will be more paperwork. Also, folks will be expected to wear a mask the entire day. And, interactions between guides and guests in the snowcat will be limited.
Do we need reservations?
Reservations are required.
Please call or email us with any questions about booking a trip with us.
Unlike most of our competitors, when you call or email Vail Powder Guides you will be communicating with Ben and Jenna-Owners/Guides and not an office employee or reservationist.
Ben and Jenna personally speak to every group that books with VPG to ensure the best experience for all.
As we are out skiing with our clients every day we run, we may not be able to return your phone call or email until the evening hours (MST).
Do you accommodate for people with disabilities or dietary restrictions ?
Vail Powder Guides will work with you to accommodate for physical disabilities, and we can easily make adjustments to cater to any food allergies you may have.
Please communicate any special needs with Jenna and Ben prior to your trip date!
Do you provide safety gear ?
Avalanche transceivers are provided and required to be worn by all of our guests.
Do you provide transportation to Vail Pass
Vail Powder Guides does not provide transportation, but we are very happy to assist you in arranging for a ride to Vail Pass.
For smaller groups, we typically utilize our local taxi service, and for buyouts we recommend Vail Coach transportation service.
Will we have lunch?
We provide a yummy sandwich lunch.
Please let us know prior to your ski day with us if you have any dietary restrictions
Do you require a deposit?
Vail Powder Guides requires a $2000.00 deposit due at the time of booking.
Please refer to the rates page of the website for our rate/deposit/cancellation policies.
How much skiing will we get to do?
Vail Powder Guides are all about skiing as much as we can every day.
During your 6-8 hours with us, we can easily log 10-12 powder runs that average about 1000 ft in vertical (1200ft during better snow years).
Most of our drop-offs are above timberline at 12,000 feet, granting us amazing 360′ views on sunny days.
What about cancellations?
Vail Powder Guides has a 30 day cancellation policy. If you cancel your seats within 30 days of your scheduled trip you lose your deposit.
If you book within 30 days you may be charged for the entire cost of your seats, and you are subject to a non-refundable deposit.
If VPG cancels for any reason, your deposit will be refunded.
VPG retains the right to refund your deposit up to 30 days after the scheduled date of your trip.
What is my time commitment for a day with Vail Powder Guides?
One aspect of our program that sets Vail Powder Guides apart from other snowcat operations is the minimal down-time (non-powder skiing time) there is in a typical day with us.
We ask our guest to meet us on Vail Pass at 8:30 AM. The snowcat departs no later 9:00AM and we are on top of our first run of the day by 9:40 and we are easily skiing before 10AM.
We often get 6-8 runs in BEFORE lunch.
Lunch is mid-afternoon at about 12-1:30PM and lasts for 30 minutes. Snacks and water are provided in the snowcat throughout the day.
After lunch, we usually ski another 2-4 runs.
We return you to Vail Pass and your vehicle between 2:30-3:30PM.
That is easily 10-12 runs per day.
What months do you offer snow cat skiing?
Vail Powder Guides typically start operations in mid-December and run through mid-April depending on snow conditions.
When should we get ready?
Vail Powder Guides asks that all of our guests gear up prior to boarding the snowcat.
This means that you should have your boots on and be wearing multiple layers of warm and weather resistant clothing.
During an 8 hour day we can have intense, high-altitude sun, strong winds, low visibility, deep snow, and both cold and warm temperatures.
Where and when do we meet?
We meet our guest in the recreational parking lot of the Vail Pass/I-70 exit 190.
This parking lot is located above the bathrooms of the rest area and east of the exit's overpass.
Please arrive no later than 8:30AM.
Will I be able to ski the terrain?
Our terrain demands a strong intermediate or expert skiing or snowboarding ability to enjoy this guided backcountry adventure.
For skiers, if you can make your way down any run at a major Colorado ski resort you should be just fine to ski with us. Our powder skis make a huge difference.
For snowboarders, our terrain does demand that you are able to maintain an edge in a traverse and hold your line at the top of our runs; and, that you can ride through a single-track runout at the bottom of our runs.
Also, a good attitude and athleticism go a LONG way.
If you have any doubts, please feel free to call and talk with Ben or Jenna about it!