Huts booked up for holidays, weekends
While the 12 area backcountry huts operated by the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association are booked solid for New Year’s Eve, and most weekends throughout the winter season, skiers and snowshoers may be able to snatch up prime hut space on the Internet.
In fact, as of yesterday afternoon, three slots were available for New Year’s Eve (and perhaps Dec. 30 too) at Ken’s Cabin (“The Luv Shack”), according to a bulletin board posting in the “Hut Space 4 Sale” section of the 10th Mountain Huts Web site (www.huts.org). However, Ken’s Cabin is actually of the Summit Hut system, located near Breckenridge on Boreas Pass.
The woman who is trying to sell the space reserved at the hut more than 15 months ago because she recently found out her husband has to work New Year’s Day. She said she would accept bids on the hut until 10 a.m. today, and any monies generated beyond what she paid will be donated back to the huts.
Because hut space on holidays and winter weekends typically gets booked several months in advance, Peter Looram, executive director of the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association, said the “Hut Space 4 Sale” section of the Web site was created to help out those with reservations who find they can’t use the nights they’ve booked.
“Groups get themselves organized so far in advance, and then somebody has a problem and can’t go,” Looram said. “We have to have some penalty for reservation changes inside of 30 days – so people take the reservations seriously – but for last-minute hitches, we established the Internet forum to help everybody out.”
Bookings for the 10th Mountain Huts – which dot the mountains between Aspen, Vail and Leadville – have been steadily on the rise in recent years, Looram said.
“The two Benedict huts (on Smuggler Mountain) usually have the fewest bookings,” he said. “The strongest bookings are usually closer to the Front Range, and people love to have good telemark skiing around the huts, and that’s not really available there, though there’s good touring.”
And while reservation information for many of Colorado’s backcountry huts can be accessed on the Internet, 10th Mountain Huts must be reserved over the phone, he said.
“We need to make sure we’re booking people who can handle the backcountry, it’s not like a hotel, so sometimes we’ll direct them to an easier hut, or to a guide service,” Looram said.
Plenty of mid-week bunk space is available at the 10th Mountain Huts, at $22 a night per person, through the winter season, which runs through April.
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