Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Treasure Mountain Hut - Silverton, CO

It was my first hut trip, so I didn't know really what to expect. I knew if it was near Silverton, it had to be good. Everything seemed to be lining up nicely though. We knew the owner of the hut, and he was planning on guiding us in and showing us the good terrain. The weather looked perfect, and the avy danger was getting much better. Immediately on the ski in, we started crossing numerous avalanche paths, so we gave ourselves lots of space in between each other. I just got a new Venture Storm-R splitboard, and this was my first hardcore introduction to skinning. After 3 hours of skiing with loaded packs, Max pointed to the top of a peak. "We just have to make it to the top of that peak, and then we are there.", he says. "Uggh", I thought as I looked at the steep, rocky, windblown slope.

When we reached the top, I was beat. Max got us set up in the hut and we got a fire started in the beast of a stove. The hut warmed up pretty quickly. The views from the hut were amazing. We were surrounded by 14ers in all directions, and we were sitting at the top of a 1200 vertical foot ski run that was a steep tree run.

The next morning, we dropped in from the hut at about 7:30 am. The first run through the trees was awesome, and we skinned back up and went to some north facing trees across the gulch from the hut. They were called the bread and butter trees, and it was deep powder every run. Each run was about 1000 vertical feet. The skin up to the top of the B&B trees was pretty easy, not getting steep until the end. We took 4 laps, and by then it was getting dark. We still had the big skin back up to the hut, which was daunting me all day in the back of my mind. When we got back to the hut, we were all exhausted. We cooked some pasta and ground elk meat, and lounged the rest of the evening. After dinner, we had the sauna at full power, so we took turns loosening our sore muscles in the heat.

The next morning was the start of our last day. No one was ready to go home. We packed our stuff and headed out for a few runs before the ski out to the car. Our first run was with loaded packs and turned out to be one of the best runs of the trip. Wide open powder, steep terrain, and the bluest ski I've ever seen made for a great run and some good photos. At the bottom, we lightened our packs by leaving the heavy stuff at the trail head. Then we skiied up and took a couple laps on the B&B trees before skiing out. All in all, it was the best ski trip I've ever done. We had a great crew (Tommy Hilleke, Jules Campbell, myself, and Tommy's brother in law Scott). We skiied up and down about 10,000 vertical feet in three days. no motors, just skis. The Treasure Mountain Hut is the place to go if you want a hut trip with super quality skiing. There are steep tree runs, bowls, couloirs, cliffs, and anything else. This time of year, it's best to stay in the trees, but if you go in spring, a number of big lines can be had. Check it out at


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