An Untracked Experience
The San Juan Hut System provides access to a remote and beautiful wilderness, on the North facing escarpment of the Sneffels Range in the San Juan Mountains, with uncommonly good opportunities for untracked backcountry skiing. Due to the predominately North facing aspect, the snow stays cold and dry for weeks after a storm. This creates very consistent, high quality snow conditions that help ensure you will have great skiing on your hut trip even if it hasn’t snowed recently. At a time when popular backcountry skiing areas are seeing more and more traffic, the San Juan Hut System offers a welcome return to a slower pace, fewer people, and a truly untracked experience.
Basecamp out of the Huts
The Burn Hut and Blue Lakes Hut are particularly well suited for skiers with limited backcountry experience or a family looking for a wilderness experience. The approach to these huts are ~5-miles long, up to 1,400′ of elevation gain, on a primitive road. The Ridgway Hut and Last Dollar Hut are best suited for intermediate, advance, or expert skiers with the best skiing opportunities up high in March and April. The approach to the Ridgway Hut is ~7-miles long, 1,900′ of elevation gain, on a primitive road. The approach to the Last Dollar Hut is ~3-miles long, 1,300′ of elevation gain, on a primitive road. The Last Dollar Hut offers some of the best skiing, on the most varied terrain, with the easiest approach. You will approach the hut and ski big lines on the same day! For all of these huts we recommend a 3-day, 2-night trip, with the option to add a fourth day of skiing for those in peak condition.
Hut-to-Hut Ski Traverses
(Burn Hut to Ridgway Hut to Blue Lakes Hut)
Our hut-to-hut trips are generally 4-day, 3-night point to point traverses but they can be done in 3-days. Our mid-winter ‘guides favorite’ Introductory Hut-To-Hut ski traverse links the Burn Hut, the Ridgway Hut, and the Blue Lakes Hut. This route travels along easy to moderate terrain through stately Aspen glades, open meadows, and over small summits as it makes its way from hut-to-hut. This trip is all about the journey from hut-to-hut rather than skiing big lines. The high point of the route, called Wilson Creek Summit, is affectionately known as “the most beautiful spot in Colorado” for it’s stunning views of the entire Sneffels Range.
(Last Dollar Hut to North Pole Hut)
For the advanced and expert skiers we recommend the Last Dollar to North Pole Hut traverse because it offers ample Ski Mountaineering objectives. This route offers gladed tree runs, big alpine bowls, skinny couloirs, and dramatic peak descents that hold a lifetime of skiing opportunities. The first 2-nights you’ll stay at the Last Dollar Hut, move to the North Pole Hut on the third night, and on the fourth day you’ll travel into high alpine terrain above North Pole peak and ski a dramatic line off of Hayden Peak, before skiing out. It is best to ski this traverse in the Spring.
This is a private program, no one else will be paired with your party. If your group is larger than 5, we apply a group discount and additional guides are added to keep the guest to guide ratio at 5:1 or lower.
Time and Place
This trip meets at our office at 280 7th Ave in Ouray.
All of our hut ski trips include transportation to and from the trailhead, breakfast, dinners, hut accommodations, and IFMGA or AMGA certified guide. Guests are responsible for travel insurance, lunches, and sleeping bags (can be rented).
Details on lodging/shuttles.
Please come prepared with the necessary clothing and equipment and let us know if you have any questions.
Avalanche safety equipment (beacon, probe and shovel) are included. We rent modern lightweight touring boots and skis.