[R34R, Bear Valley] runs its lifts through mid-April. But snow still piles on the ground long after the lifts shut down for the season. The resort plans to add a snowcat operation this spring to offer skiing and snowboarding into May.

Mountain Adventures Seminars (MAS) currently offers cat tours in Bear Valley's sidecountry. Skiers and riders use a combination of lifts and a small eight-passenger Bear Tracker Snowcat to access the terrain.

The new spring snowcat program begins after the lifts close down. The cat will then service inbounds and out-of-bounds terrain with a local ski guide to lead the group. Cat skiing is scheduled for each Saturday through mid-May; however, private groups can hire the cat and guide on other days.

Spring cat tours after Bear Valley's lift close cost $150 per person. Bear Valley season passholders can get a 10 percent discount. Advanced skiing or riding skills are required for the six-hour program. Registration is available online or by phone.

Those looking to overnight can do so at Bear Mountain Village or in the new Nordic loft operated by MAS. The four-bedroom condo, which has 2.5 bathrooms, functions like a hostel. Full private rooms are rented or individual bunks.

More information. Or call 209-753-6556.