Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

The Art of Shifting

Monday, April 30th, 2012

How much do you know about shifting? To make riding more fun and bike repair less frequent, check out these tips from seven-time Canadian national cross-country champion Andreas Hestler from Bicycling magazine for a better ride and a longer drivetrain life.

  • Is cross chaining the answer? Riding in a combo of the big chainring and big cog, or the small ring and small cog, is generally not a good idea. But Hestler says, it can at times offer the ideal gear and races set their bikes to handle it. However, it’s rough to shift into.
  • Think before you shift. Your eyeing that hill climb before you and it’s all about anticipation. Anticipate your next gear and when to accelerate. Shifting after terrain changes sets you back energy-wise and slows you down. Same goes for sand and water crossings—think before you get in gear.
  • Care for your chain. Changing the chain, Hestler says, keeps you from having to replace your cogs and rings as often. And be weary of wet-dry riding, chains weaken in these conditions. Check your chainring and cassette for burrs and nicks.
  • Go easy. Make shifting light, careful and timely to avoid breaking something. “If you love your bike it’ll love you—shift lightly and carefully,” says Hestler.


What Kind of Ride to Rent …

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

If renting a bike will take the load off of your upcoming Telluride to Moab or Durango to Moab trip, well we’ve got you covered. San Juan Hut Systems is working with bike shops in Durango, Moab and Montrose to set you up with the perfect ride.

Pedal the Peaks 

Cascade Bicycles in Montrose is offereing Trek, Specialized and Yeti full suspension mountain bikes, prices TBA. In Durango, Cliffside Ski & Sport offers NORCO mountain bikes in both full suspension and hardtail ranging in price from $350-300 per bike per week. Another Durango shop, Pedal the Peaks, carries Iron Horse and Raleigh full suspension bike for $455 per week. Pedal the Peaks also offers custom-built demo rentals ranging in price from $475-$675. Second Avenue Sports, also of Durango, offers Yeti 575 full suspension for $440, Kona full suspension for $320, and Scott/Kona hardtails for $240.

Cliffside Ski & Sport

We’ll get you set up with a bike, bike tunes and equipment, shuttle services and lodging–just give us a call. New this summer, San Juan Huts is offering Ridgway-based travel packages, to even further lighten your load. Call us! 970.626.3033

Why Let Us Carry the Travel-Planning Weight?

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

The logistics of putting together a bike trip from across the state to across the country are not always easy. There’s the bike debate: to rent or to ship? The lodging debate amongst Southwest Colorado’s unique small towns: Telluride or Ridgway or Ouray or Durango? Where to eat, shop, walk, drive and simply rest up before taking on the 215-mile bike route from the high mountain terrain to lower lying red rock country. Acclimating is also a concern especially for those traveling from low elevation or sea level.

Let us help you iron out the details. We have a slew of travel packages to choose from. One of the best choices is staying in our hometown of Ridgway. Ridgway is centrally located between Telluride and Montrose,  and as Telluride is in the heart of its very busy festival season during summer, finding lodging, parking and dining are more difficult. Ridgway is also located about 800 feet lower in elevation than Telluride so acclimating is easier here.

We will be working with Chipeta Solar Springs Resort & Spa in the heart of Ridgway for lodging and dining discounts. We’ll also help you with shipping or renting mountain bikes as well as any of your equipment needs. Call us for details! 970.626.3033

Chipeta Solar Springs Resort & Spa, Ridgway, CO

Getting You from A to B Without Hassle

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

For many, beginning a bike adventure with San Juan Huts finds you first at one of our regional airports. Whether you’re flying into Montrose, Grand Junction, Durango or Telluride, we’ve got you covered. As part of summer 2012′s  travel packages, we’re offering all of the info you need to connect up with a shuttle wherever you find yourself.

Poison Spider Bicycles & Porcupine Shuttles shuttle you to and from Moab

Shuttle services and prices vary widely, but we’re happy to help you with just the right one. There are flat rates, group rates and individual rates. If you choose our Ridgway-based package, we’ll arrange for two nights of double occupancy lodging, airport pickup/dropoff, and trailhead or town-to-town dropoff/pickup. Call us for more info!

And if you choose to ride the shorter version, our 4 night/five day trip, we’ll set you up with a shuttle for your return from your ending destination at either Paradox or Gateway huts.

Let us take the hassle out of the shuffle with convenient shuttles.

Sneffels Half Loop Race Results

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012


29/ Brian Smith of Gunnison



40 / Scott Simmons of  Durango



27/ Billy Laird of Crested Butte



12/Janelle Smiley of Crested Butte



7/Pat O’Neil of Crested Butte



13/Brian Johnson of Aspen



49/Jeff Deutsch of Crested Butte



23/Allen Hadley of Crested Butte



30/Baker Bent of Ridgway



37/ Jaimie Palmer of Telluride



19/Ray Hellinger of Pagosa Springs



42/Jim Crosslund of Telluride



32/Mike Pennings of Ridgway



6/Mark Drucker fo Crested Butte



41/Lance Waring of Telluride



8/Rick Murray of Crested Butte



18/ Lindsay Records of Crested Butte



5/Marcel Medued of Crested Butte



Joe Ryan (no bib number)



33/Tom Karpeichik of Boulder



21/Kirsten Kindt of Boulder



20/Liam Biermey of Boulder



24/Ryan Guldan of Denver



35/John Miller of Telluride



4/Gareth Roberts of Crested Butte



16/Jim Nichols of Durango



14/Gordon Rhodes of Durango



15/Keith Bauer of Crested Butte



11/Robbie Johnson of Pagosa Springs



2/ David Clark of Aspen



3/Bob Wade of Aspen



25/Brendan Trimboli of Durango



36/Wayne Peterson



39/Karen Brown of Telluride


Congratulations to all! Thank you for racing with us!

Join us this summer on the same course, without skis and with trail runners! Race details to be announced, stay tuned.


Congratulations Sneffels Half Loop Racers!

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Brian Smith (left) of Gunnison took first place with a time of  5:25:39, followed oh so closely by second place finisher Scott Simmons (right) of Durango with 5:25:44 at the return of the Sneffels Half Loop race last weekend.


The return of the Sneffels Half Loop backcountry ski race was a welcome one. Forty-one racers took the starting line and forty-one finished at the Ridgway Hut access road and the Blue Lakes trailhead, respectively, the long and short courses.

“We’d like to say thank you to everyone–it was a great race,” said San Juan Hut Systems’ owner and race organizer Joe Ryan. “The trail conditions were very good and the weather was awesome–it was a total blast.”

The bulk of top finishers hailed from Crested Butte/Gunnison and earned what San Juan Huts’ called the Butte Mutants title after they tackeled the race with grace.

Pre-race dinner fuel up in Ridgway. Skiers were getting race ready with spaghetti served by SJHS’s loyal race volutneers, who were also great cooks.

Same course, different season. San Juan Huts is planning on summer racing and hosting an endurance running race, hut to hut, Telluride to Ouray, this summer. Stay tuned for details…

“We want you back for running and biking,” said Ryan. “We look forward to seeing you all next year!”

Skiers at the start. The Sneffels Half Loop started at a prompt 6 a.m. at  dawn of  a sunny day at Last Dollar Pass.




Backcountry Pizza Hut, How to Make Gourmet Hut Pizza

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Mmmm……..What could be better than a deliciously hot pizza after skiing in the backcountry all day? Nothing, no ifs, ands, or buts, gourmet pizza is definitely my favorite dinner to eat at a hut….hands down. If your mouth is salivating, but your mind is filling with doubt about the  feasibility of pulling off a gourmet pizza in a hut, rest assured Gentlemen and Ladies, YOU can do it. It’s actually quite simple and the ingredients can be lightweight too.

Gourmet Hut Pizza Ingredient list for 2 pizza lovers
~15oz bag of Pizza Mix
~1 packet of dried pasta sauce
~ 4 cups of shredded cheese
~1 cup olive oil
~read directions below for creative ingredient additions

Step 1. Mix Pizza Mix with the suggested amount of water or until the dough just barely sticks to your hands.  I like to add a little mix, a little water, until I get the right consistency. The more flour you add, the less sticky the dough.

Step 2. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes, i.e. mash and squeeze this big ball of dough until you are bored (which takes about 2 minutes for me).

Step 3. Divide the dough into fist sized balls to make personal pizzas (my preferred method), larger balls to make a large pizza.

Step 4. Sprinkle flour onto a plate or cutting board and smash a ball on this surface until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Then use a round object like a Nalgene or can as a rolling pin  to get the crust even thinner and more consistent.

Step 5.  Fry the crusts in a covered frying pan flipping them so that both sides are golden brown. I like to do all the crusts at one time.

Step 6. Prepare your toppings. This can be done simultaneously with making the pizza crust if there is more than one chef. Some of my favorites toppings are sundried tomatoes rehydrated in hot water or olive oil, onion, olives, garlic, and basil, and feta. Shredded mozzarella is my go-to cheese, but if you want to really impress your hut mates, you can add/replace it with gouda, feta, blue, or parmesan cheese. The topping options are endless and the more gourmet the toppings the more gourmet the pizza although more traditional pizzas like mozzarella and pepperoni are also sure winners.

Step 7. Prepare your sauce. Again there are many creative options here but the two I will recommend are a more standard red sauce or a pesto sauce. The lightest option is to get powdered pasta sauce packets and rehydrate them at the hut.

Step 8. Putting it all together. Heat one side of the already fried crust and as soon as you flip it over, add the sauce, then cheese, then toppings to the hot side. Cover and cook on low heat for about three minutes. If the crust starts to burn before the cheese is melted, turn the heat down or move it to a corner of the wood stove, add more oil, and spin the pizza in the oil.

Step 9. Remove from pan, place in mouth, and give yourself a pat on the back for you have just made Gourmet Hut Pizza.

If you liked this recipe, please pass it on to someone else who might as well.

Bon Appetite,
Kelly Ryan and the San Juan Hut Systems

P.S. What is your favorite backcountry meal? Any chance you will spill the secret here on our Blog? Do you have any suggestions on how to make this Gourmet Hut Pizza any better? Send me an email at or better yet post your comments.

Sneffels Half Loop Start Time Now at 6 a.m.!

Monday, February 20th, 2012

If the 4 a.m. start was daunting, then rest assured, the Sneffels Half Loop start time is now a little later adding more light.

On March 10 sunrise is 6:19 a.m. and to give our racers a little more visibility we’ve bumped the start time up two hours to 6 a.m. That gives racers a total of 12 hours of daylight to complete the 33-mile race (sunset on March 10 is at 6:01 p.m.)

Have you signed up yet? We’re still looking for racers and volunteers. Give us a call at 970.626.3033 or visit our website

Sneffels Half Loop is Back

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Are you ready to race? The Sneffels Half Loop is back. This backcountry Nordic ski race begins at Last Dollar Pass near Telluride and runs 34 miles to the town of Ouray finish on March 10. Racers and volunteers wanted, call 970.626.3033.

Racers get ready for the Sneffels Half Loop

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

It’s back … are you ready? The Sneffels Half Loop returns to pose a new challenge, 35 miles long. The course for this backcountry ski traverse runs from Telluride’s Last Dollar Pass to the town of Ouray making five aid station stops at our winter huts. AT, randonee or Nordic (not skate) skis are suggested for racers to take on the feat March 10.



Two courses will be open to racers, the Full Course and the Short Course. The Full Course starts at the Last Dollar Trailhead (above the Telluride airport) and entails 34.4 miles of rolling, arduous traverse to the finish at the Ouray Hot Springs Pool. Total ascent is 6,630 feet and total descent is 9,057 feet.

The Short Course also begins at the Last Dollar Trailhead but finishes at the Blue Lakes Trailhead (near Ridgway), running nearly 24 miles. Total ascent is 3,990 feet and total descent is 5,498 feet.

We’re looking for racers and volunteers–visit our website or call us at 970.626.3033.