Backcountry Hut Skiing
A ski holiday in the San Juan backcountry
The San Juan Mountains are host to some of the finest backcountry terrain in Colorado. Coal Bank, Molas, and Red Mountain passes allow us to access the best ski tours at, and above, 10,000 feet where pristine powder skiing is just waiting to be had. Our hut trips afford us the ability to stay in a warm comfortable hut that is convenient to many of the best ski tours in the San Juans, and eliminates the need to drive to the start of our ski tours.
Just put on your boots, strap on your skins, shoulder your backpack, and we’re ready to go. A hut trip is quite possibly the most enjoyable way to spend a few days in the mountains with a group of friends.
By Private Arrangement
Our 2014 – 2015 hut trips are offered on a private basis only. We can arrange hut trips for both private individuals (1:1 guiding) or groups of 10 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!
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……we will be highly recommending that our friends take this course too! – Erin B.
The Aladdin’s Lamp
The Mountain Belle
The Addie S Hut
The Artist Cabin
The St. Paul’s Lodge
The St. Paul’s Hut
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
- Avy Shovel: metal blade is a must
- Ski Helmet
- Ski Repair Kit
- Socks: wool or synthetic ski socks
- Base Layers: polyester, wool or silk bottom and top
- Mid-Weight Top: synthetic, fleece, wool, for layering.
- 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
- Sleeping Bag: for use on beds at hut
- Small Thermos: Optional, but nice to have
- Water Bottles: 2 liters
- Sunscreen and Lip Balm: water/sweat-proof
- Headlamp: with extra batteries
- Personal First Aid Kit: for your personal meds/needs; guide will have a large one as well.
- Stuff Sacks: for convenient packing.
- 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.
Participants should feel competent and comfortable on “Blue” 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
In order to successfully carry a 35 lb. pack up to 7 miles a day, endurance is key. 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
The backcountry was beautiful beyond belief. The route was a good one, well laid-out and appropriately challenging for us. – Joel M.
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.
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!
- Cost Includes:
Our 2013 – 2014 hut trips are offered on a private basis only. We can arrange hut trips for both private individuals (1:1 guiding) or groups of 10 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:
- Advance Registration is required for this program. You have the option to either call our office and register via phone, fill out our pdf Registration Form and send it in via fax or email, or utilize our secure Online Reservation System. All participants must read and sign an Assumption of Risks/Liability Waiver and agree to our Reservations and Cancellations Policies.