Lake Tahoe resort launches long-awaited snowcat tours for powder hounds | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Lake Tahoe resort launches long-awaited snowcat tours for powder hounds

Kaleb M. Roedel
kroedel@sierrasun.com

HOMEWOOD, Calif. — A year ago, Homewood Mountain Resort was primed to offer advanced skiers and snowboarders access to its backcountry terrain with snowcat tours.

There was only one problem: there wasn't enough snow.

This season, however, snow shortage is no longer an issue.

Topping 100 inches of total to-date snowfall, the West Shore resort has given its snowcat tours the green light, launching its Homewood Snowcat Adventures this month.

"We're very excited," said Kevin Mitchell, general manager of Homewood Mountain Resort. "We had it last year but we never operated — we didn't have quite enough snow. This year is the first year we're offering it."

From the top of Ellis Peak, just above the resort's traditional ski area boundary, Homewood's snowcat tours will prowl more than 750 acres of backcountry terrain, where tree runs, steeps, glades and bowls await groups of powder hounds.

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Those skiers and riders will savor laps of up to 1,828 vertical feet from the top of Ellis Peak to the bottom of Old Homewood Express chairlift.

"I was just up there yesterday and it was the best Tahoe skiing — it was as good as it gets, it's really primo conditions," Mitchell said. "We're glad to offer that to our current guests and people who live in the area. We think it is going to bring people into the area that otherwise wouldn't come into Tahoe. We're very excited to be able to do that."

Led by experienced backcountry guides, the Homewood Snowcat Adventures have a maximum group size of 10 people, plus two guides, with all participants required to be advanced skiers or snowboarders.

Additionally, Mitchell said, private group tours for intermediate skiers and snowboarders can be arranged in advance with a full buyout.

"It really opens up the experience to people who typically would not be able to experience the snowcat or backcountry experience," Mitchell continued. "It opens that portal up to a bigger demographic."

The Homewood Snowcat Adventures will run roughly three days a week, primarily on the weekends. Mother Nature, of course, will also have her say on what days Homewood operates.

Added Mitchell: "If people want to do a buyout on a certain day, if the snow's good, we'll take them out."

And thanks to El Niño, all indications point to a bevy of good snow days on the horizon.

"These conditions are great for our in-bound skiing and they're even better for the terrain above the resort," Mitchell said. "We're already a resort known for getting some great powder skiing, and this expands what we're already known for.

"We're excited for this product and we plan on doing this all the way into spring — and for years to come."

Learn more

All day packages with Homewood Snowcat Adventures, which includes both lift access at Homewood Resort as well as the snowcat tour, are available for $399 per person, per day. Included are the required backcountry backpack, shovel, avalanche beacon, and probe, as well as professional instruction related to mountain safety practices.

Homewood season passholders receive a $100 discount for themselves and friends when the group books together for the same day. Groups or companies interested in a day of guided snowcat touring can also reserve a private adventure.

For more information visit skihomewood.com.

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