The OPUS Hut Experience

Ophir Pass Ultimate Ski Experience

A Remote Journey to a Backcountry Skiers Paradise

 

If you think that a lift is four letter word, and earning your turns is a religious experience – we have your Utopia.

The Ophir Pass Ultimate Ski (OPUS) Hut is the region’s newest, largest, and nicest remote alpine hut. Located in the high mountains between the infamous ski towns of Silverton and Telluride, this hut is surrounded by awesome tree runs, wide open bowls, and steep, craggy faces.

This program is for intermediate to advanced backcountry skiers and boarders looking for a once in a lifetime ski trip, all while living in the luxury of a beautiful, fully catered hut.

The level of professionalism from San Juan Mountain Guides has just been unparalleled. – Mike Rosenberg, Rocky Mountain Underground Ski Team.

The OPUS Hut

The OPUS Hut

The Ophir Pass Ultimate Ski Hut is a high alpine backcountry lodge located near Ophir pass, in the Northern San Juan Mountains. Built on the southern slopes of 13,666 ft. Lookout Peak, the solar-powered hut receives abundant sunshine.

While you are at the hut you can focus on the things that really matter – skiing great snow, enjoying hearty meals, and spending time with your friends. Food, bedding, games, and even hut slippers await you once you arrive to your mountain retreat.

Backcountry Skiing Equipment List

  • Day-Tour Backpack: internal frame, 25-40 liters.
  • Touring Skis or Splitboard : skis with alpine-touring or telemark bindings (or splitboard).
  • Ski or Snowboard Boots
  • Poles: preferably adjustable
  • Climbing Skins
  • Avalanche Transceiver: with fresh batteries
  • Probe
  • Avy Shovel: metal blade is a must
  • Goggles
  • Ski Helmet
  • Ski Repair Kit

Clothing

  • Socks: wool or synthetic ski socks
  • Base Layers: polyester, wool or silk bottom and top
  • Mid-Weight Top: synthetic, fleece, wool or similar.
  • Shell Pants: hard shell or soft shell. A pair with side vents are best.
  • Insulated Vest: down or synthetic, for extra core warmth.
  • Hard Shell Jacket: waterproof and breathable, no insulation.
  • Gloves: a pair of heavy gloves and a pair of medium to thin weight gloves.
  • Down Jacket or Insulated Parka
  • Hats: one with brim, one for warmth
  • Neck Gaiter, BUFF or Balaclava
  • Sunglasses

Other Stuff

  • Sleeping Bag 
  • Small Thermos: optional, but nice to have
  • Water Bottles: 2 liters
  • Sunscreen and Lip Balm: water/sweat-proof
  • Headlamp: with extra batteries
  • Toiletries
  • Personal First Aid Kit: for your personal meds/needs; guide will have a large one as well
  • Stuff Sacks: for convenient packing
  • Camera
  • Lunch Food & Snacks: Everything you eat between breakfast and dinner. May include: bagels, dried meats, cheese, trail mix, candy bars, peanut butter, etc…
  • Hut Clothes, Booties/ Slippers
  • Duffel or additional backpack: if your hut necessities will not fit in your touring backpack

Prerequisites

Participants should feel competent and comfortable on “Black” rated runs at ski resorts. Participants should also be in excellent physical condition. We recommend that participants arrive in Durango at least 1 full day prior to traveling with us in the San Juan high country.

1Before Your Trip

Skiing and/or squats: do it. Cardiovascular activities such as running, swimming, and cycling are great to build heart and lung endurance. Taking day hikes with your loaded backpack at a local park will help train your legs for the mileage you will do in the mountains.

2Follow Up Programs

I wanted to let you know JB and I had a totally AMAZING and AWESOME ski weekend with Tyler! We learned so much more than we ever expected and had a ton of fun too! Tyler is a really awesome guide/marriage counselor…I think we can now go into the backcountry without heated discussions ;). He is so very knowledgeable but more importantly he is really great at imparting that knowledge. He was also really great at gearing the weekend towards what we were needing. JB and I now feel like we can go into the backcountry and safely plan our trip, pick our travel routes and travel techniques and most importantly work together to have a great time out their while being safe. I want to thank you also for providing dinner and breakfast in the hut…that was a really nice touch. And the hut…is totally awesome too! We will be highly recommending our friends take this course too! – Erin B.

Ouray, Colorado: Getting Here

Ouray is located in the SW corner of Colorado, approximately 30 minutes south of Montrose. Known as “The Switzerland of America”, the town of Ouray is a vibrant outdoor oriented community. All local businesses are very friendly to the ice climbers who flock each winter to climb in the Ouray Ice Park and surrounding areas.


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Flights: The best option for flying to the area is to fly into Montrose, CO. Many airline options exist, and most connections originate from Denver, CO. It is also possible to fly into Durango, CO, Telluride, CO, or Albuquerque, NM. It may be necessary to rent a car and drive to Ouray if you’d like to fly into one of either of these airports.

Driving: Below are some approximate driving times if you’d like to drive to Ouray. If you plan on renting a car, please consider the winter weather when selecting your vehicle and at a minimum choose something that offers either front wheel or all-wheel drive.

  • Montrose, CO: 45 mins
  • Durango, CO: 2 hours
  • Denver, CO: 6 hours
  • Albuquerque, NM: 4.5 hours
  • Salt Lake City, UT: 6 hours

Hotels: Ouray has a number of great hotels, suites, and vacation rentals for you to stay in while you’re in the area. Give our office a call at 800-642-5389 if you have any questions about what would suite you best for this trip!

 

Additional Information

  • Cost Includes:

Our 2014 – 2015 OPUS hut trips are offered on a private basis. We can arrange hut trips for both private individuals (1:1 guiding) or groups of 12 and everything in between.  We include all the bells and whistles such as gourmet food and meals, to lessen the amount of pre-trip preparation that’s required by you.  Give us a call to set up your own custom hut skiing trip!

  • Registration and Cancellation:
  • You will need to fill out our Domestic Registration Form, cancellation policy agreement, and liability waiver, and send it to us with a 50% deposit as early as possible prior to the course date. Balance is due on the first day of the course. Please click on our Registration/Travel link to access the required forms.

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