First-time Tenth Mountain skiers often ask...

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Colorado's Haute Route

First-time Tenth Mountain skiers often ask...
By the Tenth Mountain Division Hut Association

"Who uses the Tenth Mountain huts?"

Some skiers use guides, others travel on their own, some even with children. Because the huts are used communally, please show respect for the people sharing the hut with you. If your group wants more privacy, reserve the entire hut or book midweek.

"Do I need a guide?"

If you're not an expert backcountry skier or want a catered trip, hire a guide. Along with their knowledge of backcountry, routes, and hut operations, guides provide transportation, food, and instruction. Contact Tenth Mountain for the guide service permitted by U.S. Forest Service. See also the guide services listed in "What you need to know."

"How many huts should my trip include?"

Some people ski the entire system, while others stay several nights at the same hut. Each hut is accessible from its own trailhead.

"How long does it take to get to the hut?"

Depending on your ability, it can take two hours or twelve (or you may not even make it to the hut!). You must evaluate your own capabilities. Strap a heavy pack on your back and take a test run. Keep in mind that high elevations, weather and snow conditions, and unfamiliar territory will add considerable time to a hut trip.

"Is the trail marked?"

Winter trails are intermittently marked with blue diamonds or, in the wilderness, with tree blazes. But they cannot be relied upon for continuous trail location. Map and compass skills are essential. Tenth Mountain 1:24,000 topographic maps are available for purchase.

"Are snowmobiles allowed on the trails?"

Most of the huts are located on National Forest land which is managed for a variety of recreational uses, including snowmobiling. However, please note that the Tenth Mountain Hut system was created for non-motorized travel and a unique backcountry experience. Skiers should be aware, though, that snowmobiles may be encountered.

"Can I take my dog on the hut trip?"

No, since you must melt snow for water at most of the huts, dogs present a serious health hazard. In addition, Tenth Mountain is concerned about the problem of dogs harassing wildlife.

©2000, Mariah Media Inc.

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