The Northern Wind – Section House Hut trip

Hut trips. Perhaps a bit decadent for this self-proclaimed dirt-bagger thru-hiker. But I love ’em.

The outdoors person in me loves skiing in the mountains for three days. Seeing those intense Colorado winter skies, the bright sunshine and being in the mountains that I love so much.

The Magnanti in me loves the nights at huts. The delicious food that is prepared and shared. The convivial company. The flowing conversation (and wine!) and just the good times shared with friends. As I’ve said before, I think of a hut trip as a dinner party with a ski trip attached.

I decided to make the weekend a really long one and took the day off from The Salt Mine and did some skiing in the mountains outside of Boulder. Ten miles of prep skiing was a great way to get a taste of what awaited. Sharing shabbat dinner with the Zapins later that night made for a good start of my mini-vacation.

The following morning, we all met in Breck and drove the start of Boreas Pass Rd that would take us to our final destination: The Section House Hut.

An easy approach that is good for novices, but still has wonderful scenery for all.

At the trailhead area, there were some friendly snowmobilers. Michelle caught a hitch with them and others took them up on their generous offer to haul up some of the food. Instead of taking them up on their offer, I decided it made more sense to haul up ~40 lbs of wine, food and other assorted goodies on my own to 11500′. I am stubborn..but perhaps not too bright.

If only Michelle had the tiara for this shot!


About half-way up, we all met at the Baker’s Tank. A perfect place to munch on some food, check in on everyone and repair some day skiers bindings.

We skied up again and made our way above treeline. The views of the Continental Divide in winter, as always, were incredible.

We arrived at the Section House, settled in for the night and did the various hut chores. The hut is rustic..but compared to my usual backcountry accomodations it is decadent luxury!

After I settled in a bit (code word for a glass of wine or two), I went out on the pass at dusk. The alpenglow at the pass was simply awesome.

Getting back inside, I took my turn making dinner for the weekend. On tap? linguine alla carbonara. A perfect winter meal! I must say, this trip had lots of awesome food. Both dinners were superb and the breakfast meals were delicious. A lot of gourmet cooks among the group!

The beginnings of dinner


The following morning, my friend Mark and I decided to do an ~20 mile tour. The first part of the tour featured superb powder and views.


We skied down the single track Gold Dust Trail, enjoyed the generally down hill grade and finished at surprisingly well used road. The snow petered out and we had to hike among the vacation homes. :O We finally made it back to a less used forest service road that hooked back up to the pass and was able to put on our skis again. Alas, it would be a skis on/skis off rigmarole (including some areas of breaking trail in deep powder) up until about two miles before the hut.

Remember..Boreas is the God of the NORTHERN WIND! Egads…


Mark and I made it to the hut. Comfortably exhausted in that way that comes from playing outside all day in the winter. Some more yummy food and more generous amounts of wine made for a relaxing evening.

The following morning, a decadent breakfast was consumed, the hut was cleaned and we made our way back down to the trailhead.

At the Bakers Tank, I decided it was time to leave the road and go onto some single track. Convinced Mark to join me for the single track Bakers Tank trail. A little bit of climbing resulted in slabbing along a ridge than a fun descent down to a trail junction. At the junction, a little more climbing was had and then a twisty and steep, but very enjoyable, trail led back to the cars. Best skiing of the weekend!

The trip ended. Another good weekend enjoyed… And more memories created. Can’t wait for the next one!

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