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What a great group of people, thanks for coming out everyone! Hope to see you all next year!
Check out more photos and ‘like’ us on facebook http://www.facebook.com/sanjuanhutsystems
February 8th, 2014
Another great day of skiing is coming to the Dallas Trail. Remember the Sneffels Half Loop Event? As most of you know, that is no more. Come join us for the Sneffels Traverse. This WILL BE A RACE! The start will be on County Rd 9/West Dallas Creek . Racers will ski south up to the Dallas Trail at Box Factory Park. Once on the Dallas Trail at Box Factory Park, skiers will head east on the trail (familiar terrain for Sneffels Half Loopers). Aid stations will be at Blue Lakes Hut, Ridgway Hut, and the Burn Hut. New terrain for the race will commence three and a half miles below Ridgway Hut. Instead of continuing down CR 5 and finishing on Miller Mesa where three previous Sneffels Half Loop Events have finished, skiers will continue east on the Dallas Trail. The very exciting descent from the Burn Hut down to the eastern terminus of the Dallas Trail will be one to remember. We recommend that you go out and ski this finishing section of trail somewhere in mid to late January as it is a demanding Nordic Trail. “Don’t quit yet, you’re not done.” From the Dallas Trail Head, racers will ski 1.9 miles to the Ouray Hot Springs Pool/Park. This final valley floor finish will utilize a snow berm on the mountain side of County Rd 17 for approximately half a mile and then cross the footbridge over the Uncompagre River and finish on the River Corridor Trail with a victory lap around the Pool/Park field. Please call for more details and to register. Only 50 spots are available, so call soon!
It is not even Thanksgiving and we have a 40 inch, relatively dense, base in the mountains! These past few storms have come in with a lot of moisture and relatively warm temps. To be sure, we still have weak layers of old snow at the base of the pack and we have seen multiple slides, but these warm early season storms are definitely something to be grateful for here in the San Juans. Joe Ryan says, “Who knows, we might see a snowpack reminiscent of ’96/’97. That year with the warm consistent snowfall, a lot of lines where skied with low ‘pucker factor’. These relatively warm, high density snow falls bode very well for a good ski season and already a lot of people are in the hills skiing.” Stay tuned here and look for information for the “Northern San Juans” at the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
As a proud new sponsor of 25 Hours in Frog Hollow Race, San Juan Hut Systems just got two Free Solo Entries to raffle off! These are no longer available for sale as they sold out within minutes!
The venue rests in the shadow of Gooseberry Mesa and Zion National Park just outside the town of Hurricane, Utah. The staging area is known as Frog Town, and it is the hub where all the excitement takes place. The race is on November 2-3rd and is the “Longest 1 Day Race.”
25 Hours in Frog Hollow Race Course Stats
Total Length: 12.8 miles Single Track: 5.7 miles Double Track: 7.1
Elevation low : 3570 ft Elevation high: 4300 ft
Estimated Average Course Speed: 1 hour 25 minutes
Number of Hours in a Day: 25 Hours of daylight: 12 .5 Hours of dark: 12.5
Ave High Temp: 77 degree Ave Low Temp: 44 degree
How to Register to win:
1. Email San Juan Hut Systems and include the following: your name and phone number, preferred email contact information, .
2. Like San Juan Hut Systems’ Facebook Page.
3. Sign up for San Juan Hut Systems’ News Letter (don’t worry we won’t spam you).
Raffle will be held on October 17!
Winners will be contacted by phone or email.
As part of its Summer Weekend Planner and latest issue, Backpacker Magazine rated America’s 12 best campsites and our neck of the woods made the cut. Blue Lakes located on the northern flanks of the Mount Sneffels Range was named one the country’s best place to lay your head outdoors. We agree and have our Blue Lakes Hut perfectly placed. So if camping in a tent doesn’t appeal, try a summer hut trip to Blue Lakes.
Mesa Arch in Canyonlands
You’ve made the trek to the mountain biking mecca and a well-deserved stop following 215 miles in the saddle. Now what’s next…stay a night or two and explore Moab.
Moab never ceases to amaze with its geographic wonder spanning slick rock domes, bowls and fins to high mesas and the La Sal Mountains’ 13,000-foot peaks. The gorge of the Colorado River provides its own beauty and recreation. And, don’t forget Arches and Canyonlands national parks…spectacular.
Best site for lodging options: Check out discovermoab.com .
Riding to the Gateway Hut mid-summer
Here in Southwest Colorado in spring it’s flip-flop weather one day, Sorels the next. With iffy spring conditions, summer sounds real appealing and perhaps far off. But it’s time to book your bike trip. Do you know when the huts are available?
Both the Telluride and Durango to Moab routes open in June, but dates vary due to high elevation hut locations where snow can fall and linger past the summer solstice.
Telluride to Moab: June 2, 2012
(High elevation huts include Last Dollar Hut at 11,000 feet and Spring Creek Hut at 9,100 feet)
Durango to Moab: June 15, 2012
(High elevation huts include Bolam Pass Hut at 11,411 feet and Black Mesa Hut at 10,625 feet)
Remember, too, when booking your hut trip to keep in mind winter can make an early appearance, as early as late August. But late September is generally the time we warn riders most about potential snowfall. Be prepared!
Our summer season is short, but oh so sweet!
As we enter the modern navigation era of GPS tracks, Google Earth files, and Spot devices, we also want to help our more modern guests with some of the tried and true navigation practices of days gone by. What would you do if your GPS fails? Here is a synopsis, from most to least obvious, of how we have found our way around the mountains for many years.
Trail Signs: It is easier than you think to pass a wooden sign on the side of the trail when your mind is wandering and your eyes are fixed on the trail ahead or the mountains above. Trail signs may refer to the name, number, or destination of the trail so it is helpful to have a good topographic map with you.
Trail Markers: Trail markers of various sizes and colors can be found in many areas along the trails. These vary from blue diamonds with reflective tape in the center, to painted mettle strips hammered into trees, to orange flagging. Trail markers are less reliable than Blazes (see below) as they often fall off, are torn down, or fade in the sunlight.
Blazes: Blazes are etched into tree bark and are the shape of a lower case ‘i’. They are often found about head hight (when there is no snow) and on both sides of trees to mark the trail from both directions. In the San Juans many of the blazes are old and the shape is often contorted, but once you train your eye to find them, you will see them all along the trails. Learning to see the blazes is well worth your time as they are the most prolific and universal trail marking.
Cairns: Cairns are piles of rocks that people have built alongside a path to mark it. Most Cairns will not be visible in the winter but you may encounter a few along windswept alpine ridges. Be aware that Cairns are easy to build and not all who build them are marking the best path.
The Path Itself: Sometimes the path can be hard to see with new snow covering it. Look for an indented ‘snake’ where the snow has been compressed by previous travelers. Also remember to look up, as the path will often be discernible by the space between the trees above.
All of these will help you stay on the trail and find your way with nothing but your eyes. We also advise that you bring a good topo map and compass and know how to use them. GPS and other modern tools can be extremely useful, we just hope that our guests don’t rely too heavily upon them. Besides, following a trail without one can be invigorating and force you to be more aware of your surroundings, the majestic San Juan Mountains. Stay tuned for more on how to make a reliable tour plan.
By Kelly Ryan
With a winter like this, you’ve got to get creative. While snowfall sits at below average across Colorado and the country, mountain biking may be calling. But at San Juan Huts we’re thinking ski mountaineering. Because snowpack is so low, summiting some of the Mount Sneffels Range peaks might just be more attainable.
From Burn Hut, Corbett Peak can be accessed, from North Pole Hut, Hayden Peak can be reached, and from Blue Lakes Hut, Reconnoiter Peak and Wolcott Mountain can be bagged. Low snow levels are making it a little easier to access.
According to the National Resources Conservation Service, Colorado’s snowpack is 71 percent of its average. This winter marks the fourth lowest snowfall level to fall in the past three decades. So while we pray for snow, get out and explore safely.