Each year we go on a winter hut trip with friends, and each year it gets better! This year, we were able to book out all of Vance’s Cabin for our friends. Vance’s is located outside of Leadville, Colorado with a trailhead at Ski Cooper. It's about a 3 mile skin in.
We had all levels of backcountry experience in our group this trip. It was pretty sweet to have some of the beginners from last year helping some of this year's first-timers. We even had one of our favorite middle schoolers along (he rips even harder than some of the “adults” in the group).
We all met at Ski Cooper Sunday morning, divvied up food in our packs, checked gear and began the skin in. We had looked up avalanche danger prior to our trip and marked it on a map that was handed out to everyone so that the group was prepared for the conditions.
After about an hour and a half of touring, we arrived at the hut and broke out some food and drinks.
We all took a little break out of our boots - some of us caught a cat nap - and then we went back out to ski. A group of us skied down from the hut through the trees. We found a little bit of good snow before it got really shallow and sketchy, so we started the climb back up to the hut. A second group of a little less experience folk skinned up the hill by the hut for a quick run down. We were all thankful we had gotten a coveted 4 inches of snow the night before (it’s been a super dry winter for Colorado).
For our trip, we did group meals: chili, cornbread and a berry crumble for dinner, and Mountain Standard pancakes with bacon for breakfast. It was super simple to have one big group meal planned for everyone, and we were all stuffed by the time we finished eating.
Monday morning, we cleaned the hut back up. Some of our group skinned up Taylor Hill for an amazing view of the surrounding peaks and a fun ski back down through the trees while others went back down the skin track.
We all made it back to the cars, and before heading back home we celebrated the trip with pizza and beer at High Mountain Pies.
All in all, it was a super fun weekend. Having the whole hut to ourselves was clutch! If you live in Colorado, I highly recommend booking at least one hut trip per winter.
Never planned a hut trip and not sure how to get started? Check out this post by Mountain Standard Field Agent, TJay Gerber to get started:
5 Things to Know for Your First Winter Hut Trip