Archive

Archive for the ‘Ski’ Category

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

Record Highs in March Turn to Winter in April

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

March wasn’t exactly abundant in precip like it can be. But rather wind and sun defined Southwest Colorado’s weather last month with all-time record high temps recorded across the state. Today, however, winter makes a comeback with some moisture in the air and snow on the ground. Winds are accompanying this storm still with gusts reaching 30-40 mph.

What will April hold? Perhaps winter conditions. It wouldn’t be unusual for decent snowfall in April and May and …

Sneffels Half Loop Caught on Camera

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Racer Marcel Medued kept an accurate account of race stats–or rather his Garmin did. Photo courtesy of Summer Ruckman

Post-race Corona with racer Rick Murray and Joe Ryan, in the background, looking for his own. Photo courtesy of Summer Ruckman

Racer Jaimie Palmer dons a cardboard visor in true Sneffels Half Loop fashion: practical, raw and nothing fancy. Photo courtesy of Summer Ruckman

Top Five Finishers: (left to right) Pat O’Neil (fifth-5:49:30), Scott Simmons (second-5:25:44), Brian Smith (first-5:25:39), Billy Laird (third-5:39:56), and Janelle Smiley (fourth-5:45:36). Photo courtesy of Summer Ruckman

Post race burger and beer party with grill meister Andy Krueger at the helm serving up racers Joe Ryan, Lance Waring and Baker Bent. Photo courtesy of Summer Ruckman

After the race, Baker Bent slipped into something more comfortable, or did he? Baker’s dressed in his girlfriend’s skinny jeans. Race organizer Nikki Campbell looks on in wonder. Photo courtesy Summer Ruckman

Word on the Trail: Current Snow Conditions

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

NOAA 7-Day Forecast: Sunny.

March has been what the Colorado Avalanche Information Center calls just plainly “unusual.” Ridgway’s high temperatures this week should reach the upper 50s and near the same in our neighboring mountain towns. Spring has sprung.

The snow is still holding on the trails and “now’s the time to go high,” says Joe Ryan. Spring skiing should be shaping up and while the avalanche danger has dropped, springtime snowpack and wet avalanches are a big concern. Caution is still advised. And trips into the huts are a nice safe alternative.

 Friday

Mostly Sunny

Hi 55 F

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.

 

 

 

Sneffels Half Loop Coming Right Up

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Are you ready to race? Hard to believe March is upon us, and so too is the Sneffels Half Loop backcountry ski race.

We’ve got the details covered, you only need to show up gear-ready. Bring a sleeping bag and pad for a good night’s rest at the Ridgway Elementary School gym the night before race day. We’ll have a spaghetti feed that evening before race day at the school, and transportation to the race start the day of.

After the race, there could be no better nourishment than burgers and beer at the True Grit in Ridgway. Because you deserve it.

Join us March 10!

How Pre-GPS Homo Sapiens Followed Trails

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

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

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 www.sanjuanhuts.com.

Last Minute Last Dollar Hut Opening!

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

What’s typically one of our busiest weekends of winter, Presidents’ Day weekend has a last minute opening at the Last Dollar Hut. We’re in the heart of winter with plenty of new snowfall and skiing into the huts couldn’t be more picturesque.

Last Dollar Hut (10,980′) sits 300 feet and 1/4 mile above Last Dollar Pass. There are direct views across the San Miguel River canyon and the north faces of the Wilson Range.

Last Dollar Hut is also our furthest hut west and closest to Telluride. So make some turns at the Telluride Ski Area and join us for a night at the huts.

Storms Start Rolling through the San Juans

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

“The deepest accumulations will be in the San Juan Mountains,” reads the Colorado Avalanche Information Center’s forecast today. We’ll take that.

The last few weeks we’ve seen several feet of snow fall in our corner of the state and across Colorado. And while a weak system exits our region after last weekend’s storm, the next series of stronger Pacific storms will begin Sunday.

With all of this new load, still the snowpack remains very unstable. Avalanche danger is high and widely varying, precarious conditions exist. And sadly, Colorado had its fifth avalanche fatality in the side country of the Telluride Ski Area on Sunday.

According to CAIC, this recent storm “translates to an inch or more of water loaded onto a weak snowpack.” We’ll take that, too–into serious consideration.

Be safe out there.