Into the Snowglobe

Time for an escape and unplugging from the world. No better place for that then a hut isolated in the snow globe high up in the mountains We decided to try a different hut this year - Fritz's Cabin, to the North East of Aspen. We were able to book the cabin for the nights we wanted without any issues and because it was during the week, we were the only ones there! It was a small group - Nick and I, Todd and Amber and Ian
 
Since it was a fairly long haul into the hut (6.2 miles, 3000 feet of gain), we decided to stay in Glenwood Springs Sunday night. Might as well get the drive done with Sunday so we weren't rushed Monday morning. Amber had the great idea of going to the Yampah Vapor Caves after we checked into the hotel and managed to convince everyone that we really needed to go. Nick is always up for steaming hot but Todd and I were a harder sell. In the end, it was a great start to the trip.
 
We started the trek up just after noon, not really realizing how hard and long of a hike it would be. The sled was loaded with food and drink - ensuring that we would not go hungry this time around! The first few miles weren't too bad - Amber didn't even need her snowshoes to start with. And then it started snowing and the trail tipped upwards. And got steeper. There was one mile where we climbed 1000 feet! Nick and Todd took turns pulling the sled, cursing it every step on some of the steeper pitches. I tried to pull it but only made about 4 minutes before Nick took it back.
 
Todd getting Amber's snowshoes off her pack - it was starting to get deep in a hurry!
Our group heading up the trail, Nick pulling the sled
 Just before dark - the smell of smoke. Finally! We'd made it to the hut - the trip taking quite a bit longer then we'd all anticipated. The combo of steepness, deep fresh snow and the sled had really slowed us down. But we were there, ready to take over. First step - get the fire going and warm up the hut. Next step - inhale food. We'd really not stopped to eat at all during the ski in and we were all starving. The bag of chips was almost demolished in minutes between the five of us... And of course, after eating that much junk food, we weren't super hungry for supper - more tired and ready to sleep. I think we all were in bed really early. Sleeping in was easy the next day - no alarm clock, no sunrise as we were enveloped in the snow.

How much snow is up there?


View from the Loo...
With a sled full of food that the boys had towed up, we ate like kings in the hut. I made pancakes and Amber made eggs and potatoes. Then it was time to let the food digest before exploring. Nick, Ian and Todd headed out to find some turns while Amber and I set off to make our own fun. We did a little exploring, then returned to the hut for the sled. Yup. The sled was going to see double duty.... We met up with the guys as they were finishing one run and told them our plans. Try to stay out of trouble and have some fun! Amber tucked her snowshoes and poles into the sled while I took my skins off my skies and down we went!

The boys went in search of skiing - we scooped out the sledding!
Took a few runs, but WHEEEE!

We did three runs total - the first run was a little more trial and error finding the line for the sled. The second run was much faster and smoother. As we were getting ready to head back up the hill, Todd and Nick came skiing down. Ian had bailed and they wanted to make sure we weren't getting into too much trouble. One final run. Amber beat us all down that time, having packed in a solid path for the sled. We headed back to the hut, still giggling and ready for lunch. The rest of the day was chilling out - playing cards, chatting and relaxing. And trying to finish as much of the food and drink we could...

The trek back out took almost half as long - something about descending 3000 feet! The sled still had a mind of it's own, especially on the steep, narrow descent of Smuggler's Mountain. Amber had been worried about us beating her down - but that wasn't the case at all! Between the sled and not really having much room to turn, those two miles took longer then we'd anticipated. I'm not sure taking the skins off my skis was an advantage - the skins provided some good speed control coming down and I was a lot more comfortable with time on. If the road had been a little wider, it would have been different. I opted to put my skins back on after the really steep descent. I wasn't going to struggle with traction anymore and I wanted a little more control.


Nick and Todd wrangling the sled


Kiosk map buried in snow
One of the few views we had all weekend
Too soon, the trip was over. We left the snowglobe and hit the interstate heading east. Back to reality, but with plenty of memories from a fun two days in the snow! We learned a lot on this trip and will put it all to use next year - at a different hut I'm sure. Bringing enough food for three nights when you are only staying two? Kinda silly. Having a sled that ensures everyone gets to have fun? That's the ticket for sure. Being the only people in the hut? Even better - and perhaps worth the extra cost to book the entire hut. We didn't have to this time, but that hut would have been crowded had it been fully booked. It was perfect with just the five of us.

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