If you’ve never trekked to one of Colorado's system of huts, stop everything you’re doing and book a cabin now--you’ll thank me. Lucky for you, rustic and beautiful Janet’s Cabin, the original hut in the Summit Hut Association group of huts, is only 5.5 miles from the top of Kokomo and Lumberjack lifts, which you can easily access during Copper’s ski season from the end of October through mid-March. To make your life that much easier, all you have to do is present your hut system overnight reservation letter at the Copper ticket window and presto, you’ll receive a free lift ticket. You’re on board now, right?
You're probably most familiar with The 10th Mountain Division Hut Association, Colorado's largest system of huts. It manages an extensive system of 34 back country huts connected by 350 miles of trails where you can enjoy a back country wonderland of skiing, snowshoeing, mountain biking, and hiking with access to a collection of rustic and unique shelters. The name derives from the men of the 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army who trained during World War II at Camp Hale outside of Minturn near Vail and its system replicates the European hut system these soldiers accessed in Italy.
Founded in the late 80's, The Summit Huts Association is another separate local organization that operates four Summit County huts available for both winter and summer fun. "We're all a close-knit family of shelters and we strive to create a really great back country experience for our guests," says Cindy Carpenter, a representative from the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association. As you can imagine, all of the 10th Mountain Division Huts and Summit Huts are popular and you need to book them early to get your favorite pick.
To access Janet’s cabin from Copper Mountain, take advantage of the free parking in the North Alpine lot. Then you can jump on Copper’s shuttle system and take it all the way to West Village. Take the Kokomo lift up to Lumberjack, then you’ll proceed down the trail to West Ten Mile which is just off the right of Lumberjack. There's a backcountry gate on skier’s left of the trail that will lead you to the trail where you’ll begin your 5.5 mile trek up to 11,610 feet to reach this cabin that sits between Copper Mountain and Vail pass at timberline in the Guller Creek Drainage.
You’ll be giddy with the variety of gorgeous terrain you’ll experience, ranging from low angle to steep tree skiing.
A 3,000 square foot Montana pine log oasis, Janet’s Cabin offers 4 bedrooms which sleep 20 travelers. You’ll enjoy lounging on the large front deck and getting lost in the gorgeous view of the bowls. No need to carry much water, as you’ll melt snow to boil for water once you get there.
Janet's is equipped with a wood burning stove for heat, solar powered lights, indoor composting toilets, beds and pillows, fully equipped kitchen with propane cook tops, paper towels, and cleaning supplies, sauna and hut masters quarters. The rest of the story is up to you as you settle in for the evening to cook your gourmet mountain meal, relax by the fire and embark on creating more magical memories.
And at $38.00 per night per person, you’ll wonder why you never did this sooner.
Check out this Youtube video of the beautiful terrain you'll trek through on the way to Janet's Cabin.
You’ll also want to check out the three other huts in the Summit Huts Association group. You can make reservations for all huts through the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association at (970)925-5775.