Colorado Winter Hut Trip 101.

Not all hut trips are created equal.

Here are some things to consider when choosing a hut.

How will I get there?

Skis with climbing skins are the most popular choice. They are effective on the uphill, practical for mid-day adventures, and super fun and efficient on the way back to the car.

Snowshoes are slower but easy enough for even the must novice winter hut goer.

Nordic skis and I have had some crazy times in back country down hills. I have full respect for the back country Nordic skier!

A snowmobile may seem like the best choice but most huts don’t allow snowmobile access. However, a few allow you to get within a mile from the hut. This is handy if you are planning to bring a 30 pack of beer, a guitar, and a couple of pineapples, for instance.

How far am I willing to walk/ski/ride to get there?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I want to carry the heaviest back pack to the closest hut or the lightest backpack to the furthest hut?
  • Am I interested in Fitbit goals and selfie pics or making it to the hut in time for an early happy hour?

What amenities am I hoping to enjoy?

Running water?

Am I planning on flush toilets, a hot shower, and a sink full of clean dishwater? If so, check out Shrine Mountain Huts.

Am I hoping to study the science of melting snow for water? If so, pretty much any hut will do. Please know that the time input to water output ratio is considerable.

Feel free to check the amenities page on https://www.huts.org/Reservations/Hut_Amenities.php.

You will find headings such as “outhouse with covered walkway” and “outhouse without covered walkway”. The details are all there. Take your pick.

Sauna?

The obvious answer is “yes, please”. Even if you don’t use it much, simple maintenance of the sauna brings people together. From shoveling the snow away from the door to splitting wood and keeping the fire stoked, there is something for everyone.

Shrine Mountain huts share a wood burning sauna. A few other huts have sauna’s as well. Amenities can be found at https://www.huts.org/Reservations/Hut_Amenities.php.

What else should I know?

Dogs are not allowed.

Many huts are rented as single bed units. Some are rented as full hut rentals only. Single bed rentals are nice for last minute get a ways and making new friends. Ideally, we try to get enough people to fill up whichever cabin we chose.

Pack light but bring fun extras. Don’t be in a hurry. Go outside during the day and night. Pack sunscreen.

Have fun.

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