Steeped in the traditions of ski touring in the Alps, Colorado's version has evolved into the largest array of backcountry dwellings in the country. More than seventy huts belonging to 13 hut systems speckle the high country - an eclectic mix of rustic cabins, spacious huts and nylon yurts.
A Colorado winter hut trip definitely takes a little preparation. Being prepared can make all the difference between a good trip or an amazing trip. Choosing a group leader will help you immensely in your organization. You'll also need to take into account the weather, dividing up the load to be carried in, maps, transportation to the trailhead, etc. It is a good idea to research each hut at which you may be thinking of staying, and hut trips in general if you've never been.
Experience - You'll need to take into account your skiing/snowshoeing experience and fitness levels. The approach to most huts is physically demanding and some backcountry skills and avalanche awareness are necessary. This may play a role in choosing a hut. Guide services may be available in certain areas if you need them.
Availability - All huts range in size, some sleeping less that ten while others will sleep 20 people. Huts will be booked to capacity and therefore are often shared by more than one group. (Sleeping arrangements decided upon by hut users upon arrival at hut.) Reserving trips far in advance will guarantee you space on the dates that you desire.
Amenities - Amenities will vary greatly from hut to hut. General amenities: wood-burning stoves for heating, fire-wood, matches, propane burners for cooking, cooking/eating utensils, bathroom, toilet paper, mattresses, and pillows. In the winter snow is melted on the wood stove for water. Drinking water is the responsibility of the user.
What to Bring - The right equipment to get you there: snowshoes or skis with metal edges and climbing skins, backpack. You will need to bring a sleeping bag, food, personal and emergency gear. Dogs are not allowed.
Reservations - Reservations can be made by phone. Rates are usually per-person/per-night. The sooner you can make your reservation the better because choice dates tend to be filled quickly.