Answers to these frequently asked questions will help you learn how a hut-to-hut trip with Paragon Guides is well within your reach.
- What does a Paragon Guides hut trip include?
- Why go with a guide?
- What kind of equipment do I need?
- What kind of shape do I need to be in?
- How heavy will my pack be?
- What is the 10th Mountain Division Hut System?
- Can I bring my snowboard?
What does a Paragon Guides hut trip include?
The cost of your hut trip includes several services and amenities:
- Professional Guides
- Hut fees
- Trailhead transportation
- Sleeping bags cached at the hut
- Clean sleeping bag liner / pillowcase
- All meals from breakfast day one through lunch final day
- All group gear including first-aid and repair kits
- Avalanche Package: (beacon, shovel, probe)
- Backcountry and ski skills development
- Pre-trip orientation ski day at the Arrowhead Ski Area
- Trip preparation packet
- US Forest Service use fees
Why go with a guide?
The benefits of experiencing the 10th Mountain Division huts with Paragon Guides are numerous.
- Experience. Our professional guides have been leading trips to 10th Mountain Division huts since North America’s premier interconnected hut system was established.
- Knowledge. Our guides have been traveling in the backcountry for decades. They know how to stay found, where to find skiable terrain, and what makes a perfect apres ski appetizer.
- Simplicity. You only carry your clothes, personal items, water, and group food. Packs usually weigh in around 30 pounds or less.
What kind of equipment do I need?
Hut-to-hut trips are best enjoyed on lightweight telemark or alpine touring ski equipment with metal edges. This equipment allows for more stability and efficiency when skiing with a loaded backpack. Skis, boots, climbing skins, poles, and backpacks are available for rental through Paragon Guides. You’ll also need to outfit yourself with snow-specific outerwear. Sleeping bags are cached at huts. Paragon Guides provides a complete equipment list once you have made your trip reservation.
What kind of shape do I need to be in?
As with any physical endeavor, the better shape you’re in, the more enjoyment you’ll have. If you don’t already maintain an active fitness regimen, we recommend at least one month’s strength and endurance training, complemented by yoga/pilates/stretching, to prepare for your trip. If you don’t ski regularly, you’ll want to arrive in Colorado with strong legs, arms, and core. Consult a trainer at your local gym for workout recommendations.
How heavy will my pack be?
Pack weight averages 25-30 pounds, depending on trip length. Therefore, you don’t need to carry a giant backpack. Your pack can actually be quite light if you minimize your personal gear. One of the benefits of traveling with Paragon Guides is that we store sleeping bags, wine, beer, and all non-perishable foods at the huts. You’ll be responsible for carrying your personal gear, water, and a volleyball-sized bag of fresh food that is shared by the group.
What is the 10th Mountain Division Hut System?
In the early 1980’s a system of backcountry huts was conceived and born from an idea similar to the hut system that 10th Mountain Division soldiers saw in Europe. Today, the 10th Mountain Division Hut System, operated by the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association, includes 16 huts spread between Aspen, Eagle, Vail and Leadville in central Colorado.
The huts are rustic but comfortable two-story log buildings that sleep 8-20 people (16 on average). Mattresses with pillows line the upstairs great room and 2 side rooms, heating and cooking is done on wood and propane stoves, lighting comes from a photo-voltaic system, water is obtained from snow melt, and conveniently situated, roomy, and scenic outhouses serve as facilities.
The huts are best accessed on backcountry skis and feature wonderful touring and downhill terrain. Trips can access one hut or more huts. Daily mileage can vary from 3-9 miles into or between huts with 500 to 3,000-feet of elevation gain.
Can I bring my snowboard?
Improved splitboard technology has definitely increased snowboard use in the backcountry. But, is this the right mode of transportation for a hut-to-hut trip? There are definite pros and cons to traveling with a splitboard, and you’re certainly welcome to travel with one on a Paragon Guides hut-to-hut trip. However, we’d love to talk with you first to discuss your experience, share some insights, and make sure this mode of travel will be a good match for your trip and group.