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Steps and Tips for Planning a Hut Trip for Non-Experts

My passion for the outdoors has been in my blood from a young age. I was born and raised in Summit County, Colorado and moved back after college to pursue a career while enjoying being a ski bum just like my parents did. Although, I grew up in the mountains, I have never been the most badass skier on the hill or skied the biggest line but what I do have from growing up here is a love for sharing the outdoors with

other people. Moving back to the county, I have been challenged with finding girls that are here for the same reason as me. To create a life here, create lifelong friendships all while enjoying being outside. I decided to put together a girl’s hut trip for all levels to experience what the mountains have to offer with other girls who have the same zest for life.

The first hut trip was planned in 2016 to Francie’s Hut outside of Breckenridge, CO. I am an event planner by trade and love bringing people together so I jumped in to planning, as the group leader researching what hut was under 4 miles to get to, what dates were the best, what to bring and what the best hut trip food to cook was. Here are my steps and tips for planning a hut trip for non-experts.

Step 1: Find a Hut and Book It!

The 10th Mountain Division Huts website is your key to planning your future hut trip. On their website you can find a map listing all of the huts that are a part of the 10th Mountain Division hut system with information on how many miles to the hut it is, how many people they fit and what amenities they have.

Once you have researched the different huts, you can find what huts are available here. Tip: the huts are available to book 6 months in advance and fill up quickly so make sure to set a calendar reminder to start looking 6 months prior to when you want to go. Once you see the hut you would like is available…book it!

Step 2: Invite Badass Girls

For this trip, I make sure everyone woman that is invited is able to provide something to the trip, whether it is avalanche or first aid knowledge to laughter or the best dance moves. Tip: you have to pay for the hut per person up front so make sure to have each person signed up prior to booking. One thing to remember is to send out the waiver to everyone who will be attending, I then keep track in my spreadsheet with who is coming, their email, if they have paid, signed the waiver and what group supplies they are bringing.

Step 3: Packing List and Gathering of Supplies

Here are two good packing list from Backcountry Magazine and 10th Mountain Division. Send this out to your hut trip attendees so they are prepared with everything they need for staying the night, staying warm and staying safe. There is also a general hut amenities list posted on the 10th Mountain Division website, which will give you a clear idea of what will be provided at the hut and what to bring. Tip: Plan a pre-hut meeting to make sure you have all group items assigned (map, water purifier, compass, First Aid, etc.) and everyone is on the same page for the trip.

Step 4: Plan your Meals

My biggest meal planning tip: have one person plan group meals and buy all food, otherwise you will have “too many cooks in the kitchen”. Based on allergies, I plan a simple menu and make a shopping list, here is an example of my food menu and info list. Once, you plan your meals and go shopping, I then delegate to others in the group for what to prep and bring. Tip: tell all the girls to leave room in their backpacks to help bring up food so you don’t get stuck carrying everything up to the hut.

Step 5: Set Itinerary and Start the Journey to the Hut

Before we head out for the hut, I make sure to always check weather and avalanche reports, which can be found on the hut website. Since, this is an all levels hut trip, we do not ski except on the path in and out but it is still very important to check the reports prior. Also, as the group leader, I make sure to have the trip confirmation letter, emergency information and door lock combination for the hut with me. Tip: there are numerous routes into some of the huts, make sure you tell everyone what trailhead to meet at or all meet at one location and carpool, as there can be limited parking at the trailheads.

Step 6: Bring Wine and Have a Good Time!

This step is easy, going to a hut in the woods with a group of women and wine, is always a good time. Tip: bring a speaker for dance parties!

Step 7: Enjoy the Sunrise in the Morning and Clean Up

Tip: wake up early and catch the sunrise. The first person up, starts the water for coffee and breakfast. Once, everyone is up and packed make sure to assign people tasks for cleanup. The huts have a list of things that must be done before you leave. Make sure to abide by hut etiquette and take your trash with you.

There is something about skiing down from the hut that gives you this overall sense of joy. It is taking in everything around you from the snow falling, laughter of friends, getting fresh tracks or grass turns and the beautiful scenery. It reminds us why we love the outdoors and sharing it with others. Our hut trip tradition has continued on the past couple of years and I hope these simple steps gives you a guideline to plan your first hut trip and experience the beauty in your backyard!

This blog was written by a Backcountry Babes Scholarship Recipient, Chelsea Rybak. Chelsea grew up in Summit County, CO frequents the backcountry with experienced friends and plans a girls’ hut trip every year.  She’s taking a Backcountry Babes AIARE Level 1 this year to expand her avalanche knowledge.  She wants to feel more comfortable in the backcountry and feel confident using her voice, and create a better community for women to get outside together. Thanks to Chelsea for sharing this great article!

For More Information on Planning a Hut Trip to the 10th Mountain Huts, Please see here: