Tuesday Morning Coffee- Fun in the Snow!
Happy Tuesday Morning!
As I look out my window at the mountain peaks that have a "powdered sugar" dusting of snow...my mind has wandered to all of the options we have for fun in Summit County, Colorado. Looking for some winter fun options? If you're looking for some new fun in Summit County and you're a snow lover, you may have never heard about Summit County’s hut system. Here is some information for you to learn more and to whet your appetite for some big time backcountry adventures.
As locals and visitors gather their ski gear and anxiously await Colorado’s perfect “Champaign powder”, rest easy in the fact that there is a way to enjoy the untracked powder and without standing in lift lines. Summit Huts Association and 10th Mountain Huts are two groups that work together to maintain 33 huts in Summit County and throughout the Colorado Rocky Mountains. These huts are open to the public and their purpose is to provide opportunities for education about self- sufficiency, the high altitude environment, backcountry ethics, winter and avalanche safety.
These huts are located within the National Forest and are accessed by mostly non-motorized trails. They are located 1 to 10 miles from trail heads and can be found between Breckenridge and Vail, Leadville and Aspen. Each of the huts have 2 to 5 different access trails of varying elevation gain and distance to travel. Winter sports enthusiasts of all backgrounds can take advantage of the hut system. You can skin up on skis, walk up with snowshoes, glide up with cross country skis or if you are lucky and weigh under 30 pounds you may even get carried in on mom or dad’s back. Some people go to the huts to enjoy being in a pristine, beautiful environment, some go to find fresh, untouched powder stashes and others go to indulge in the silence and curl up with a good book. Whatever your reason, there is something for everyone on a hut trip and it is an opportunity that should not be missed by folks looking for an adventure.
All of the huts are unique and have different amenities. Of the 34 huts in the system there will surely be one that suits your fancy. The huts vary in size and have a capacity from 2 to 20 people. They typically consist of one or two private rooms and bunks that will sleep several people. Each hut offers different levels of creature comforts; some have wood burning stoves for heating and baking. Each of the huts has propane burners for stove top cooking and offer kitchen supplies and cooking and eating utensils. If you choose the right hut you may have the luxury of a sauna to relax in after a long, adventurous day of skiing in the backcountry. The huts provide beds and solar powered lighting, but plan on bringing your own sleeping bag. The huts don’t have running water but snow can easily be melted to provide water. Most of the huts have outhouses but some do have indoor composting toilets. Your meals are up to you – as elaborate as you care to carry and prepare.
Don’t travel unprepared into the backcountry. Some of these trips can be quite grueling so start your training program now. It could take 2 to 12 hours to navigate to your selected hut and not all of the trails are marked. Be sure to select a party leader who has knowledge of the backcountry and the ability to guide the group. The huts do not have telephones and cell service can not be relied upon. If there is an emergency your group has to be ready for self rescue. You will be responsible for the fees associated with a backcountry rescue. Ask lots of questions and be prepared before you travel into the backcountry. Rest assured, your rewards will far outweigh your efforts!
Now is the time to make your reservations - they fill up fast! For more information or to reserve your space for this winter, go to www.huts.org or call 970-925-5775.
Stay warm and safe out there in the backcountry. And remember, if you’re looking for shelter that is not quite so remote or rustic, you can always call Summit Real Estate to find a cozy place to call your own.
Allison Simson, Owner/Broker
Lynn Sustad, Buyer Specialist
Kelie Gray, Buyer Specialist
Anna Willis, Buyer Specialist
Kristi Warner, Client Care Manager