If you're a skier, there are few things better than big days in the backcountry, getting fresh tracks far from traffic. But those days are even better if you can set up basecamp in a backcountry ski hut.
Ski-access huts have a long history in Europe, where skiers have traveled from town to town by ski for centuries.
In North America, they’re often owned and operated by non-profit groups, like the Appalachian Mountain Club, or Colorado’s 10th Mountain Division, which keeps them inexpensive and publicly accessible.
You ski, snowshoe, or splitboard in, schlepping your gear, and then stay for a while; usually they have kitchens and bunks, and sometimes they have saunas. You'll wake up deep in the mountains and have ski lines right outside your door.
There are a growing number of ski huts in the mountains of the U.S. and Canada. Here are some of the best ones to book.
Eiseman Hut, Colorado
Colorado’s 10th Mountain Division Hut System, which includes 34 huts, and 350 miles of trails, is one of the most expansive in the country, and the Eiseman Hut, in the Gore Range north of Vail, is one of its gems.
It’s a steep slog in to the hut, but once you’re there, you’ll have access to spiny peaks and perfect glades.
Asulkan Hut, Canada
The tour into the Asulkan Hut, along a narrow river valley and up through looming avalanche terrain called the Mouse Trap, can be sketchy and unrelenting.
But once you reach the hut, on an open shoulder above Rogers Pass, the sweeping Selkirk Range stretches out around you, and the options are endless.
Asulkan, which is operated by the Alpine Club of Canada, books up fast, but if you don’t get it, ACC has lots of huts in British Columbia, most of which are equally epic.
Joe Dodge Lodge, New Hampshire
Joe Dodge, which is operated by the Appalachian Mountain Club, is right off the road, and so you don’t have to ski in.
It’s at the base of the most iconic skiing in the Eastern United States: Tuckerman Ravine. You can head straight up to Tucks from the Lodge, to test your mettle on the headwall, or to sit on Lunch Rocks and heckle the folks who try.
Spring is the best time and costumes are encouraged.
Lost Trail Lodge, California
Want to get a little fancier? When you stay at the eco-friendly, family-run Lost Trail Lodge, you’ll get Jacuzzi access, piles of books and games, and a lavish, well-stocked kitchen.
Add that to some of Tahoe’s best ski terrain in Coldstream Canyon, and you have yourself a dream trip.
Bell Lake Yurt, MontanaDeep in the rarely visited Tobacco Root Mountains, rustic Bell Lake Yurt has an easy approach, which gets you into miles of untapped terrain.
You can hire the owner, Drew, to guide you into the surrounding mountains. He’ll cater your trip and feed you, too.
More Winter Travel Content from ASN