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Regional avy classes are filling fast

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011
Digging a pit in the Silverton area.  Photo by Matt Lanning

Regional avy courses are filling fast—is yours booked? Check out Silverton Avalanche School, Southwest Adventure Guides and Peak Mountain Guides for Level I and II courses. Classes begin mid-December and run through the winter. Best to take a Level I or II, a backcountry ski  or rescue course early in the season so you can put your knowledge to the test. After avy school graduation, come stay with us for half price at one of our five Sneffels Range backcountry ski huts. A perfect classroom for avy observation, digging pits, studying snow crystals, and practicing safe ski touring protocol.

Cold snap hits after the storms

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

The San Juan Mountains welcomed another series of winter storm pulses since Saturday, and the end result? An average of about a foot of snow blanketing the region. As the skies cleared last night, the temps dropped and we saw our first cold snap of the season. Temperatures in Ridgway plummeted as low as -10. Telluride and Silverton saw similar below zero temps. Burr…

Telluride’s Bear Creek

What’s been left in the wake of the storm is inspiration to get into the winter backcountry. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reported the Red Mountain area received about 8-10 inches, Telluride about 16 inches and Silverton, as is the norm, gladly received the most snow accumulation, about 16-20 inches.

Don’t forget to check in with CAIC forecasts and travel safely in the backcountry.

Kickoff the season in San Juan Mountain fashion

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

 

Regional ski resorts got the bullwheels rolling last week and got skiers and riders lapping up groomers.This weekend take a break from the groomed and try advanced, ungroomed terrain at our neighboring Silverton Mountain ski area. Opening day is Saturday and is followed by Silverton Mountain and Venture Snowboard‘s famous kickoff party at the Grand Imperial in Silverton. They’re hosting live music, door prizes and a raffle for Venture’s limited edition Ska Brewing Euphoria board.

Silverton Mountain plans to open 30 of its advanced runs with a 30-40 inch base already in place. Word is the north shots are skiing really well.

San Juan Mountains-style ski conditioning

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

It’s time to get those legs in shape for winter, and plan your San Juan Mountains ski destinations for the winter. Want to make some free turns at Silverton Mountain this year? Well, you’re going to have to stomp for it. Silverton Mountain’s annual bootpacking kickoff begins this weekend and is offered the weekend of Dec. 10 and 11. Duct tape your pants to your boots (keeps the snow out) and join Silverton’s ski patrol on the ski area to pack out the snow. Each day you work, you’ll receive a ticket for one day of unguided skiing.

With your body getting into ski mode, come trek up to our huts and make some turns on this side of the hill.

Our Google Earth images give you a picture of winter

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

While we wait for a snow scene like this one, spend some time mapping out your excursion. We now have Google Earth imaging that brings you up close and personal with our winter huts. 3-D images zoom you into our five destination hut and from there you can check out the ski terrain surrounding. Whether your hut stay will include couloir skiing, summit seeking or simply long, easy traverses, our Google Earth images can help you plan your routes. Use in conjunction with our topo, satellite and terrain maps to map out your trip.

The bullwheels begin running as regional ski resorts open

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

This holiday week, many Colorado ski resorts get the bullwheels rolling for another winter season. Get your winter legs on because it’s time. We are also welcoming winter and opening the huts this weekend. Have you booked your ski hut trip? Stay at our destination ski huts this winter, we’ve got a slew of discounts to make your trip affordable and as always, enjoyable.

Is there still time to ride?

Friday, November 18th, 2011

A recent storm left this bike undecided. Is the riding season really over? Some diehards refuse making weekend pilgrimages to the desert or the Colorado landscapes that still hold a resemblance to late fall like Fruita and Cortez. Others, like us here at San Juan Huts, are waiting for the snow.

Our last big storm was predicted to be a small storm. One inch or so was thought to dust the area. But much to our surprise, we woke up to over a foot blanketing even the banana belt town of Ridgway. And blanketing the bike. Our last small storm was forecast to be a big storm, and so what was expected to be another foot gracing our town turned out to be rain forming puddles. Mountain weather never ceases to surprise, and as they say, “only fools and newcomers predict the weather.” So apropos.

Whether winter hits us this weekend again with a forecasted Pacific storm for the San Juans, or our Indian Fall persists through the holiday week, there is still nothing like living in the San Juan Mountains. Even if it is in-between-seasons season.

Are you avy savvy? It’s time to register for avalanche education

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Winter is here and it’s time to polish up your avalanche awareness. Whether you’ve taken your avy Level I or II, or are a new student to avalanche awareness, there are a slew of avy course offered this winter by regional guide outfitters and outdoor education schools. Some courses are offered as early as the first week of December, and many through the months of December and January, so it’s time to get registered early.

San Juan Hut Systems is linking up with Peak Mountain Guides this winter to offer overnight, hut-based avy education training in the perfect winter classroom of the Mount Sneffels Range. Check out Peak Mountain Guides‘ courses as well as its hut-based ski tour trips.

 

Peak Mountain Guides, Silverton Avalanche SchoolSouthwest Adventure Guides, and The San Juan Outdoor School will be offering their avy school graduate students coupons for discounted one-night stays at our huts. So get educated and get out into the winter backcountry—safely.

More Snow Headed to San Juans

Friday, November 11th, 2011

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch this weekend, and we like it. NOAA is currently calling for 8-16 inches of snow accumulation by Sunday night, west facing ridges may get up to 20. Are you ready for winter? It’s time to get the boots on, break in the gear and remember what you forgot last winter. Was that zipper broken? Are your boards waxed? Bindings in check? Snowshoe ready? Touring up to one of our huts is the perfect way to get your winter legs on. Our huts open Thanksgiving weekend, give us a call and we’ll get you booked for just one night or multiple nights. Welcome back winter!

Gearing Up for Winter in the San Juans

Monday, October 31st, 2011

It must be the spectacular view of snow on Colorado’s peaks that makes it seem that this winter is destined to be another exciting season. For this upcoming ski season, the San Juan Hut Systems is proud to provide outdoor enthusiasts with two new features that will make access and use of the winter huts much easier. The first exciting new navigational tool is a Google Earth Map of the San Juan Huts. On top of that, there are also new GPS points and tracks for the San Juan Huts. With these two new features, accessing the huts during the winter will be easier for skiers.

In other news, for those looking to spark their excitement for backcountry excursions, look no further than an article about skiing in the San Juans. It is set to appear in the November 2011 issue of Canadian Geographic, and is written by Bruce Kirkby, a writer for Canadian Geographic Travel. Kirkby’s article chronicles a ski trip in the San Juans with Joe Ryan, and Joe’s daughter, Kelly, which happened last winter. The three trekked through the Sneffels Range in the San Juan Mountains for five days, enjoying use of the huts built by Joe Ryan. As they skied from hut to hut, they took in breathtaking views of the San Juan Mountains, as well as incredible powder skiing, and steep, exhilarating descents. In between skiing and hiking around, there were also plenty of opportunities to reflect on the history of the area, as Kirkby notes, simply by looking at the carvings in the Aspen trees by Basque sheepherders. As detailed in Kirkby’s article, the San Juan backcountry huts, located along the Dallas and Alder Creek Trails near Ouray and Telluride, truly do allow the outdoor enthusiast to enjoy the beauty and challenge of a day spent climbing and skiing in the outdoors. Then, at the close of the day, skiers can rest up for tomorrow’s big adventure by returning to one of these bare essentials huts for a warm meal and some much deserved respite.

Whether Colorado is ready or not, winter is certainly on its way. With some new navigational tools and an article documenting the excitement and beauty that exists in the San Juan Mountains, there is certainly no reason to fight the cold.