While our member resorts hosted festivals, fireworks, and torchlight parades to ring in the New Year, I was miles from all of it in Colorados backcountry somewhere between Aspen and Leadville. For the first time since Ive lived in Colorado I didnt celebrate the New Year in the bars in a mountain town, but rather in a hut in the backcountry.
The 10th Mountain Division manages more than 30 huts in the Rocky Mountains, connected by more than 350 miles of trails or suggested routes. The concept of huts dates back nearly a century in Europe and other parts of the U.S., but grew in popularity in the 80s when 10th Mountain Division and WWII veterans living in Aspen began a non-profit to develop the hut system for ski touring between Aspen and Vail.
We spent three days, two nights in the 10th Mountain Divisions Betty Bear Hut completely unplugged from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. I can honestly say, I didnt even know what time of day it was most of the time I was there. Time to me was simply day or night.
Losing track of time in a hut is easy because you spend a lot of time doing basics just to keep the hut warm, cook food, get ready for your next trip out into the snow, or taking in the incredible 360 degree views.
Our time at Betty Bear consisted of lots of eating and drinking with friends, ski touring, relaxing, playing games and ringing in the New Year with a bonfire.
It may not be a traditional Colorado ski trip, but a hut trip is something that the more adventurous should strongly considering adding to their list of to-do skiing experiences in Colorado.