Colorado backcountry trip this January - Suggestions Needed! - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 12-15-2010   #1
 
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Paddling Since: 2004
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Colorado backcountry trip this January - Suggestions Needed!

Greetings gang,

I am planning a trip out to Colorado this January and was hoping to get some recommendations. Here's my scoop:

Trip details: 7 days-ish
Participants: Myself, my gal pal, and potentially my dog - all winter lovers!
Hopes: Igloos, hot springs, and a chance to teach my lady how to tele-ski

I would like to figure out a 2-5 day loop in some beautiful, powdery wilderness where we can ski and snowshoe to our hearts content. Ideally, there would be some type of undeveloped springs nearby (although i'm not sure of many that haven't been commercialized yet). I was thinking that I would build a quinzee every/every other night for shelter. I was also hoping to find a place with gentle enough slopes to give tele lessons to a beginner skier.

Forgoing the springs idea, I looked into some of the hut-to-hut trips, but was daunted at how much $$ this trip would end up costing (grad student=no cash). I also had trouble finding backcountry lodging that welcomed pets.

Since i haven't lived in Colorado for 8 years, I'm also a bit rusty on what my best options are. That's where you come in: any advice?? Maybe a trip up to Aspen's Conundrum Springs? Maybe something in the Glenwood area that keeps us close to the hippy dips? Or maybe something completely different?

Any and all wisdom would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,
Matt

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Old 12-15-2010   #2
 
Denver, Colorado
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Get on the Huts now. You'll have to check out the forum on huts.org to find space- might be tricky to get hut-to-hut, it will likely be just to-hut. There might be some openings on their availability page, but the better huts fill up. I reckon it's around $30 per person per night.
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Old 12-15-2010   #3
 
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Conundrum is a really bad idea. They've gotten a good bit of snow and the hike involves crossing huge avalanche paths. You're pretty hardcore even amongst present company on the buzz if you're gonna sleep in a makeshift shelter in the Colorado backcountry in January for a week with a lady! Sounds like complete fail for 99.9% of couples. I hope you getter dun and tell us the stories.
Joe
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Old 12-15-2010   #4
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Old 12-15-2010   #5
 
mountains, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mulex View Post
Get on the Huts now. You'll have to check out the forum on huts.org to find space- might be tricky to get hut-to-hut, it will likely be just to-hut. There might be some openings on their availability page, but the better huts fill up. I reckon it's around $30 per person per night.
Ever thought of reading? Give it a try and you'll find out why he isn't going the hut route.
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Old 12-15-2010   #6
 
Evergreen, Colorado
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While there are no hot springs nearby, I might suggest you try staying in the yurts or cabins in the Colorado State Forest on Cameron Pass. The prices may be cheaper than the 10th mtn huts, and you should have plenty of access to beginner friendly terrain. There are also similar cabins in Sylvan Lake State Park, but I haven't stayed there.
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Old 12-15-2010   #7
 
Crested Butte, Colorado
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Not to be a buzz killer but teaching your lady to tele ski would be akin to teaching her to kayak, a risky proposition. Add in variable snow and cold nights, with lot's of energy burning on hikes, building shelters etc. it sounds, well, let's say unromantic. Tele skiing is best learned on groomed snow and then moved to deeper or variable snow conditions that come with backcountry areas. I would be more inclined to combine some resort days with some day trips from trailheads for "backcountry" and roadside hotsprings for apre activities. I do some winter ski touring with camping involved and it is tough to stay warm and comfortable. Hope this helps.
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Old 12-15-2010   #8
 
Minneapolis, Minnesota
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What a fantastic community - thanks for all of the responses!

Good to know that conundrum is a no-go - bummer, though. Also good to know about the Cameron Pass cabins - I'll check them out.

A final detail to throw in the mix:
The lady friend is a dog sledding guide in Northern Minnesota (beautiful and bad-ass). We've done a couple of week-long winter trips into the boundary waters on xc's pulling pulks, building igloos, etc. Seems like we were able to strike a good balance between recreation and romance then, so I don't have any worries this time around.

If anyone has other advice regarding backcountry loops...or just fantastic places to set up base camp and ski for a while - please pass along any info you're willing to share.

Cheers,
Matt
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Old 12-16-2010   #9
 
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Buena Vista, Colorado
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A good option for you would be the Hutchinson-Barnett cabin on Marshall Pass near Salida. It is a first-come, first-serve cabin that is maintained by the forest service. It is stocked with firewood and has bunks. It is located very near treeline, and there are many well-spaced south-facing glades off the southern flank of 13,971' Mt. Ouray...however, Marshall Pass road is not plowed in the winter and would be a long 8 mile slog in without a sled, and there are no hotsprings immediately nearby. Although Mt. Princeton, Cottonwood, and Joyful Journey hotsprings are all less than a 30 minute drive away.
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Old 12-16-2010   #10
 
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Boulder, Colorado
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Got to 2nd Jeffs idea of getting her a resort day or two for a faster learning curve.
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