The day after Bruizzapalooza wrapped up at Steamboat Resort this year, the Sierra staff and Expert Members took to the backcountry with Steamboat Powder Cats to see what real untracked snow was like.
Below is Expert Member Eric Fancett’s (aka E13) recollections of that epic day:
Sierra Snowboard: Had you ever been cat snowboarding before? How about just general backcountry snowboarding?
E13: Not only had I never been cat boarding before; I had never seen so much powder in my life! This was truly the greatest snowboarding experience of my entire life. It was challenging, fun and adventuresome and I would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone looking to try something new. Resort pow days are NOTHING like snowcat pow days!
SS: What was the vibe within the group before and after the day?
E13: It was somewhat early for most (I, responsibly, decided not to party the night before [not that I drink anyway]) but there was an excited nervousness in the air when they handed out the location beacons (you know, in case you're face down in a tree well or covered by 30 feet of snow from an avalanche). Overall, people were really excited as most had never experienced snowcat boarding.
SS: What kind of terrain did you get to ride?
E13: We rode through the aspens, pines, open bowls of 3 ft deep powder, off a few kickers and along some ridges. It was truly spectacular! I couldn’t imagine a better day of riding.
SS: Did people have to be expert riders to snowboard in the terrain you guys were in? Or could they accommodate all abilities?
E13: The tour guides were impressed that we were boarding and not skiing, as it is much more difficult to stay afloat on a board than skis. I would not recommend this to a beginning rider as it takes some pretty intense focus, control, speed and foresight to make it down. I definitely underestimated how far I should’ve set my stance back (all the way would’ve been best). Also, make sure you’re on a BIG board, it’ll help you turn and stay afloat. I’d really recommend the Sierra Blue Bird as the perfect board for this (or any other POW) occasion.
SS: What was you best run? Why?
E13: I was particularly impressed by the fact that we got 13 runs in (they said on average groups usually get 7-8 runs in). My favorite run was the last run because it was the deepest and the longest run we got to do all day.
SS: Any gnarly falls by someone in the group?
E13: We definitely had our fair share of spills in the group. I had a nice capsize to double front flip that may or may not be on video. The only spill that caused any bruising was Jenn not being able to stop in the bushes in time to avoid a recently downed Zoe. Jody was somewhat of a tree magnet, so maybe there was other bruising involved.
SS: What was the snow like?
E13: Deep, dry, soft, champagne powder NOM! It has been an interesting year in Colorado. There wasn’t as much snow on the resort as we had initially thought there would be at the end of January. Luckily, two nights before we went, it snowed all night long.
SS: Anything else you'd like to say?
E13: If you ever have the chance to go snowcat boarding/skiing, take it. It is worth the additional cash outlay over your lift ticket. Make sure to do it in a place with a TON of snow.
I’d like to thank Mike Harrosh and Erik Christensen for, in less than one year, completely changing my outlook on snowboarding. Never, in my wildest dreams, would I ever have imagined that I would be able to be apart of something like what Sierra Community has shown me. Every time I meet new members of the community, I am that much more astounded at the overall quality of people that Sierra attracts. I’d like to thank Jenn for taking care of the details and for being such a good Sierra Mom, as well as for my PJ pants! Zoe may be our most organized member and for that I thank her as well. I’d also like to thank Bru, not only for being kind of a big deal, but for never ceasing to make me laugh my butt off.