December snow storms bring on winter cross training...backcountry ski touring and hut trips. This weekend Heather and I joined Brett Landin and Jenny Mac for our 2nd hut trip of the season up to 11,200 foot Eiseman Hut north of Vail Colorado in the pristine backcountry. Colorado's 10th Mountain Division Hut system was created during WWII to train the US Army's elite alpine soldiers to survive the harsh and unpredictable winters of the Italian Alps. What remains of this system is a legacy that all backcountry skiers cherish as a staple of our winter weekends.
Conditions were at a premium following a Christmas Eve storm system that left over 1 foot of fresh powder on top of an outstanding base. Avalanche risk was considerable so we had to keep our glade skiing to sub 30 degree slopes. At the end of the day, it was time for vino and the best sunsets known to man overlooking Mt. Holy Cross Wilderness above Vail Resorts on the horizon. (see video link below). That's Brett and I sitting on the front deck clearly debating whether 10 or 11 powder runs complete with faceshots by simply standin up and hucking the cornice out the front door for the day will suffice.
We shared the hut with 8 hardy college students from Mexico City on our 2nd night which was a treat. They were in the US for a reunion of sorts. We had a great discussion on socialized health care, capitalism and socialism, and illegal immigration which gave us all a better perspective of views of Mexico's government and social programs.
Good times, good friends, and a little espanol!