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Old 12-16-2010   #11
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Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 614
Cumbres and Rabbit Ears Passes offer good snow and moderate terrain with room to roam. Cumbres gets lots of snowmobile use and Rabbit Ears could be similar these days. Rabbit Ears has been getting more snow this winter.

For a big wilderness experience I’ve thought of going into Weminuche Pass. There are a couple of primitive hot springs in the South San Juans, but they’re too low in elevation to be close to good slope skiing.

Mid-winter travel in the Colorado mountains is more difficult than northern Minnesota. The snowpack is deeper and not as firm.

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Old 12-16-2010   #12
mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: '92
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 418
As far as all the huts go, it is considered bad form to have a dog there unless it has running water. The reasoning is this: in the huts without running water, you have to melt snow in order to get your drinking water. Obviously, you don't want to be drinking dog pee. I have dogs and can control them well enough to the point that I can even direct them to an area to do their bathroom duties. That said, I would never bring a dog to a hut. It is just one of those rules you don't bend.

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Old 12-16-2010   #13
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 3
Good to know about dog etiquette at huts. Also good to know that my Minnesota winter snow experience doesn't directly correlate. I've done a fair amount of backcountry skiing in Wyoming, Montana, and Washington as well, so at least I have a moderate amount of confidence with deeper/more fragile snowpacks. Thanks for the reminder, though!

Maybe it makes sense to separate all of the various elements that I was hoping to compile into one trip.

Spend a few days skiing inbounds until she gets her turns down - maybe someplace smaller like Ski Cooper or Monarch in BV. Then spend the next day or two hanging out at one of these affordable backcountry cabins. The Hutchinson-Barnett spot sounds great - although there isn't much literature on-line about what it is or how to get there. (Would it be cool to bring a dog there...or should the same hut rules apply??) We'd probably have to sweet talk someone into giving us a sled ride up...or use an entire day walking the 8 miles in.

After a bit of powder skiing, then we could head to a wilderness area for a couple of days. Build our igloo, enjoy some hot springs, etc. Weminuche looks like a gorgeous area for an adventure like that.

Thinking that this is starting to sound like a wonderful trip. Again thanks for the advice and feedback. If anyone has more suggestions, throw 'em my way.
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Old 12-16-2010   #14
Palisade, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 181
howdy...I have a shack up in the San Juans @ 11,820 with woodstove and solar power; like a homemade 18' yurt ,sleeps 4. I don't advertise it or rent it but this is the Buzz site and perhaps it would work for part of your trip. It is located directly across from Silverton Mtn Ski area; about 3 miles and 1500' climb to the site. Ski right from the front door on easy to moderate to extreme terrain. 2 miles due east of Red Mtn Pass Hwy 550. Ouray has hot pools and is close. Backcountry skiing on / around red Mtn Pass is good. Touring over to Telluride is possible but ave danger can be high. Do you both have beacons etc? Dogs are fine as they are generally better behaved than my pals and better groomed to boot.
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Old 12-17-2010   #15
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1976
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 55
My 2 cents: Monarch for a couple of days of lessons/acclimatizing. (Tele Thursdays). Cooper also a possibility. Hot Springs at Mt. Princeton /Cottonwood/etc. Backcountry touring abounds. (Talk to Salida Mountain Sports or the Trailhead in BV) Check out the Lost Wonder Hut. Sleep in a snowcave or the back of your truck if you want for a night or two, but cheap hotels in Salida, Buena Vista etc. save a lot of time that you'd probably rather use for skiing. This is the center of the Hot Springs Skiing Universe
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Old 12-18-2010   #16
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Salida, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 516
Ski Sunlight, then Penny Hot Springs near Redstone then ski MClure pass/Marble

No amount of money is worth your free time!
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backcountry, camping, hot springs, skiing, telemark, winter

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