Solitude receives a lot of attention for its deep powder skiing and riding; we also have fantastic groomed runs. Our hardworking grooming team is busy on the mountain every night, working two shifts with up to 10 snowcats to smooth out approximately 30 to 40 trails. Backing up our cats is a vehicle maintenance team that services them during daylight hours, resulting in very little downtime.

Our snowcats fit into two main categories: free cats and winch cats. Free cats cover the main acreage of the resort, laying down entire football fields worth of corduroy in places like Main Street, Moonbeam, and lower Eagle. Our winch cats, as the name suggests, are equipped with winches. This allows them to secure a cable to a fixed anchor and groom our steeper terrain. Trails getting regular attention from our winch cats include Challenger, Liberty Bowl, and Broadway.

Have you noticed the exquisite grooming on Woodlawn this year? Woodlawn is the trail that runs down the middle of Honeycomb Canyon, and it’s one of the most scenic rides on the entire mountain. If you are a black diamond skier but not interested in tackling the ungroomed sides of the canyon, this is a fantastic way to experience some of that signature terrain. Our cat crew is now grooming Woodlawn 4-5 times a week, with the goal of grooming it nightly next season.

Another place you may have been surprised to see corduroy is Upper Sundancer, which is the trail skier’s left of Sunshine Bowl. In past years this terrain has been mostly moguls. With the installation of the new Eagle Express chair, Upper Sundancer now gets periodic grooming. Why the change this season? Because the towers of the new chair stand higher than the old ones. This gives our winch cats the clearance they need to secure a cable and crawl up the mountain.

We sometimes get questions on why particular trails are groomed or not groomed. A lot of factors influence this decision, but weather is a major one. Take Diamond Lane, for instance. Located on a ridgeline, this trail is one of the windiest places on the mountain. The wind makes it a difficult place for snow to stack up. Unless the snow is deep enough and heavy enough to sustain the pressure of a 20,000+ pound cat, grooming can sometimes cause more harm than good. Running a snowcat on terrain that does not have enough coverage can churn up rocks and dirt, causing damage to your skis and also our machinery. It even causes the snow to melt faster!

Now that spring is here, temperatures are on the rise, effecting grooming as well. Sometimes our grooming team will tackle a trail early in the evening when the snow is still warm to allow the snow to “set up” as temperatures drop. Grooming closer to the time that lifts open may provide a softer trail, but also allows moguls to form. Summit Access West, the narrow trail that connects the top of Apex Express to the bottom of Summit Express, benefits from being relatively firm, facilitating heavy traffic and absorbing the eastern sun.

Enjoy the spring weather and think about our diligent grooming team the next time you carve some morning corduroy. With their expertise, we plan to have you shredding groomers all the way into May!

Speaking of spring, have you noticed the Godzilla-sized jumps being constructed on Main Street? Our spring events schedule is now in full effect. In case you haven’t heard, Red Bull Cascade is coming to Solitude. Be here March 29-30 to see some of the best skiers in the world take on a custom course. The course combines some of our steepest terrain with park features constructed by Red Bull and the #SoliParks crew. Mark your calendar now – you won’t want to miss this event!

To catch up on previous Amber’s Updates, visit

Your Privacy Preferences