You no longer have to rough it on your next hut trip. Nestled in the San Juans of Colorado, Red Mountain Alpine Lodge elevates your backcountry experience with amenities like local beers on tap, Wi-Fi, hot showers, radiant-floor heating, and flush toilets. Situated atop 11,018-foot Red Mountain Pass, near the town of Silverton, it’s also surprisingly easy to access, located just 900 feet (a ten-minute hike) from Highway 550, the Million Dollar Highway.
The dream project of San Juan Mountain Guides business partners Mark Iuppenlatz, and his wife, Andrea, and Nate Disser, and his wife, Keeton, the lodge opened in December 2018. The A-frame-style building was constructed from Douglas fir timbers using 19th-century tools (meaning no metal nuts and bolts) and is run on solar power.
The lodge is open year-round. The area features epic hikes and nearby trout streams great for warmer months, but winter is when it really shines, with hundreds of acres of insane tree skiing right out the front door. “You could ski here for a week and never repeat the same terrain,” says Mark Iuppenlatz. Guiding services are easily coordinated through San Juan Mountain Guides.
Private rooms (from $379 a night per room, with up to four people per room) located downstairs, and a ten-person, dormitory-style loft space (from $134 per person) sleep 20 guests. There are three showers, four toilets, and four sinks to accommodate guests. Whole-house buyouts are available, too.
With the exception of the couches, Andrea Iuppenlatz furnished the lodge with thrift and antique finds. After a day outdoors, guests warm up by the wood-burning stove and play old-school games like Scrabble or Monopoly.
A wood-burning sauna is a ten-minute ski from the lodge.
Don’t expect your typical hut food. Mark Iuppenlatz took inspiration from the gourmet fare and wine he experienced in huts throughout Europe and Canada. Breakfasts and dinners are included in the price of a stay and served family style in the dining area. Also included: après-ski eats, such as ribollita, a hearty Tuscan bread soup, and fondue.
The chef at Red Mountain Alpine Lodge trained with star chef Barbara Lynch in Boston. Multicourse dinners vary but may feature roasted summer squash and zucchini with a cashew-chili mole and flank steak with a chimichurri sauce. Don’t expect Two Buck Chuck poured at the table, either. An oenophile, Mark Iuppenlatz curated a serious wine list featuring bottles of Barolo, Rioja, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. After a long day of skiing and a great meal, the rustic lodge never felt so cozy.