Hut trips, the topper to our seasonal cake. In Colorado, there are so many wilderness cabins to choose from with some amazing surrounding terrain to explore and slash. Underground Snowboard Shop annually sponsors this end of season excursion bringing out their employees as well as other locals and friends.

Gearing up

Francie’s Cabin associated with the 10th Mountain Division hut system was our destination for some spring time split boarding. Before we took off for the three day, two night adventure, I reached out to Montucky Cold Snacks to help keep the party rolling through the nights and they gladly donated 11 cases of beers to the cause. We just needed to tow them the few miles out there.

The Cabin

As soon as you arrive, you want to claim the ideal bed that has a window with a view. Not very hard of a task since every window looks out onto some of the most serene Rocky Mountains landscapes. Then time for snacks, water, a Montucky Cold Snack and onto chopping wood. The wood stove located in the center of the hut is not just our source of heat for the next few days, but also our water supply. Snow has to be collected and then melted (not to mention filtered) to drink, wash dishes and cook with.

Reduce and reuse;; Montucky fire starters
p: Jeff Kepler

But since we waste no time getting the chores done, we are quickly out to get in a well-earned run before dinner. Beacons are checked, probes and shovels are adequately packed and a route was planned, we are off to the abyss of the mountains.

First Runs

Part way through to a ridgeline, we stop to dig a hasty pit to keep an eye on the snow conditions. Even though it’s April and springtime usually begins the healing process of the layers in the snow, it is never safe to just assume there is no danger. And our extra safety served us right, one compression tap caused a deep collapse in the snow pack and we rerouted our original destination.

laying in the skin track
p: Jeff Kepler

The crew summited the top of our chosen line with the wind whipping us to attention. This made transitions from split to solid more difficult trying not to lose any equipment to the elements. The run was short with crusty snow that caused you to speed up with each carve. It wasn’t the worst snow I’ve ever ridden, but it was far from the best. At the bottom revealed it was necessary to boot pack out and back to the cabin.

route planning

p: Jeff Kepler

No Boarding & The Sunshine

With around 20 people all sharing the cabin, the next morning the crew split up. One group set off chasing the horizon to skin towards Mohawk Lakes. The second group wasn’t as motivated to get miles under their belts, but rather get in some more turns. And this time without bindings. Mountain ShitStick is a Breckenridge local company of handcrafted no boards.

crewed up on the shit sticks!

fresh lines from the no boards

group one found another cabin on their adventure beyond
p: Leanne Wren

With wipe outs, clean runs, cold snacks and constant hiking up for another run, we retired the decks for some lunch and group stretching. A few more runs were had before dark but we were all together again for dinner and our final night in the wilderness.

Uno is not a kids’ game
p: Jeff Kepler

I hiked in the ukulele for some organic tunes
p: Jeff Kepler

yes, we finished them p: Kelsey Moorhouse

The final morning we were slow moving. The wind came in with a roar that matched the hangovers most were feeling. Cabin clean up started right after breakfast and we had to pack up everything we brought in. Tuckered out, but sad to go, a hut trip is a great wild escape in the winter with a cozy destination.

if you pack it in then pack it back out DON’T BE A JERK
p: Jeff Kepler

leading the charge
p: Jeff Kepler

radio check
p: Jeff Kepler

the reason we’re all out there.