Hidden huts within ski resorts

I have always heard the stories of there being hidden "huts" within the boundaries of ski areas within Colorado, but I have not actually ever stumbled across one, until this year. While there is plenty of chatter about them on the internet, no one actually tells you specifically where they are, and I am not going to either.  When you do the research on the internet, you'll find plenty of videos and discussions on boards asking about the "smoke shacks", "hidden huts", etc, and you'll see that some of them are quite fancy.  For me, I like skiing in the trees, coming up on one of these is a great find, and in a way, binds you to the resort and your fellow skiers and boarders. That's part of the fun of them, you really have to earn them, and once you do, you understand why you either find them on your own, or get shown them by someone. But, there is another reason for keeping their exact location private and that is because the U.S. Forest Service is not keen on them, and are working with the resorts to tear them down.  Really, most of them are hiding in plain site, but most of us are so focused on skiing and looking downhill that we never see what is right there behind us!

There is apparently history to some of them, where they were built by the people creating the ski runs, they'd take the trees and build shelters so that they were close to the job and could spend the nights near where they worked.  I honestly think that is the minority, but, none the less, they are a cool feature unique to Colorado.

Now, having been to many tenth mountain huts, I readily admit that my perception of what these huts are was a little on the high class side.  Even when you look on youtube, you see these massive tree forts, some of which are two stories, have windows, and furniture!  The reality is that there are just a couple of those, and most of them are elaborate lean-too type enclosures using the ground as the floor.  Even the fancy two story huts are nothing more than a cool tree fort hidden in the resorts.  One thing that I have found to be true is this: Where a hut exists, there is usually great skiing around it!

My personal experience with these are limited to the ones I find in Winter Park and Mary Jane.  I found a few now, one in Winter Park and two in Mary Jane.   The more elaborate the hut, the deeper into the trees and cliffs you need to traverse.  Sometimes the trails get pretty intense, I found myself traversing some trails looking down into the trees thinking I made a big, big mistake.  Some huts are located right off of Blue and Green runs, while with others you had better be confortable skiing Double Black Diamond runs through trees, rocks and cliffs.








No comments: