Backcountry Magazine 147 | The Huts Issue

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With features on huts from Canada, California and Colorado, the Huts Issue provides all the inspiration needed to plan the hut trip you’ve always dreamt of. Throughout its pages, we highlight Canada’s century on skis and the huts that accent it, Mary McIntyre’s range of experiences over a five-day hut-to-hut traverse in Colorado’s San Juan’s and the educators bringing avalanche education to their students at Telluride Mountain School. Additionally, we share wisdom from backcountry legend Doug Ward, who reveals the importance of sticking to the rules you set for yourself. The 10th Mountain Hut Division seeks to tackle the impact of climate change on its huts through increased sustainable practices; Diana Rivera transitions from teaching tele to filming it; and Lily Krass shares tips and tricks for skintrack snacks.


On the Cover: With an ideal location in Canada’s Selkirk Mountains, Fairy Meadows Hut is so popular that users must sprinkle a bit of magic dust on their applications to secure a trip…or be chosen in the Alpine Club of Canada’s lottery. Photographer Garrett Grove won a mid-January spot, which led to what he called “an amazing ski trip,” complete with fresh turns, cozy nights and starry skies. [Photo] Garrett Grove



Mary McIntyre rarely plans spring ski trips, but when friend and guide Lani Bruntz invited her on a hut traverse through Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, she couldn’t say no. Packed with lots of vertical, mixed conditions and cozy nights recuperating in furnished, staffed huts, the traverse boasted a range of experiences over five days in the backcountry, from steak dinners with wine pairings to sketchy, isothermal snow.

Canada’s first ski huts were built to allow Pacific Coast skiers to escape snowless cities like Vancouver for weekend getaways. Over the past century, the country’s system has grown to include iconic fly-in lodges, hut-to-hut traverses and pirate shacks that require secret knowledge to find. Despite their proliferation, Canadian huts still serve the same purpose—to give people a chance to go deep into the mountains.

Avalanche education has grown extensively in recent years, but, expensive and packed with heavy information, it has been largely targeted at adults. Kids, however, still recreate in the backcountry, often without formal training. Responding to this discrepancy, Telluride Mountain School educator and coach Ben Gardner created The Freeride Committee: a non-competitive fellowship that exposes students to backcountry safety inand outside the classroom.



Family man Johan Jonsson spends most days with his kids, but he can still rip on occasion.

Straight Lines
Greta Close follows in her father’s skintrack, Megan Michelson and friends finally make it to Canada’s Hilda Hut, and Frank Mapel reflects on friends and reconciliation.



Endangered Huts
The U.S.’s small but thriving hut network invites backcountry enthusiasts to some of the country’s most remote, least populated ranges. As climate change threatens the snowpack and wildfires rage across the West, these winter refuges face myriad challenges, but Colorado’s 10th Mountain Division Hut Association is working toward solutions.

Wisdom: Doug Ward
A master of steeps and holder of numerous first descents, Doug Ward keeps his edges sharp.

Mountain Skills: Backcountry Snacking
Skier and cookbook author Lily Krass shares her top tips for staying fueled on the skintrack.

Gearbox: Hut Booties, Helmets and Goggles
Keep your toesies warm with these five hut booties. Plus, helmets and goggles that balance weight and safety.

On Location: Frog Lake Huts
With newly built cabins next to a 100-year-old house, California’s Frog Lake Huts span a century of architecture. Megan Michelson pays a visit to the recently opened off-grid digs.



Profile: Diana Rivera
After two decades of teaching the graceful art of the telemark turn, Diana Rivera is turning to a new medium—filmmaking— to highlight women who refuse to lock down their heels.







For over two and a half decades, Backcountry's kept a close pulse on skis, boots, bindings, splitboards and more.

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