Monday, February 29, 2016

"Brutal Yet Fulfilling": The tale of a ski hut trip

As it turns out, don't trust good skiers to provide an accurate description of your access to a ski yurt if, in fact, you are not a confident skier yourself. Their description:

"You just need to ski a gentle cat track to the lift, where they'll put the packs on one chair and you with me on another so I can help you. Then it's an easy ski to the yurt, only 2 miles, you don't even need to put skins on until the last part. On the way out, there's an easy cat track you can ski back to the parking lot."

My description:

"Snowplow in fear down an alleged green run while little kids on skis zoom past, while carrying a 45 pound backpack. Ride your first ski lift ever solo while clutching your huge backpack and wondering how you are going to get off successfully. Manage this but only because the liftie compassionately stops the chair. Then side-hill through an icy, steep traverse with switchbacks where if you fall, you might die, and midway through you need to switch to snowshoes or you might die. On the way out, you must trudge with skis attached to your pack the entire length of several alleged green and blue runs on your snowshoes for what seems like hours while little kids on skis zoom past. That's after you descend to a bowl in an attempt to avoid aforementioned icy traverse, then climb steeply back to ridge, becoming momentarily disoriented in fog and only half jokingly asking, "are we going to die out here?" before realizing the icy traverse has not been circumvented in its entirety."

Was it worth it? Absolutely yes!

The Stateline Yurt is located in a dead tree forest. Looking at the area I would guess this fire occurred in 2001, and it is slowly regenerating. In the meantime, it is starkly beautiful and creates nice openings for slightly terrified skiers. We toured through rolling ridges and an old road that leads up to the former lookout site on Saddle Mountain.



This really isn't an area for cross-country skiers like me. But I discovered a game changer: skins! I could charge up the hills and control  my descent. Skins, I love you.

Idaho or Montana? Just not sure.
I am fascinated by yurts and it was fun to stay in one. Next time, I might bring a tent, however. I'm not a partier, and if there are some in your group, there you are with them, no escape. Luckily, the skiing made everyone tired. I also have the most sensitive hearing on the planet, and snorers are not my favorite thing. Earplugs are my friend.



If I had known what the access to this hut was like, I probably wouldn't have gone. But I'm glad I conquered those fears and went. A good backcountry skier I will never be, but I am no longer quite as afraid.

When we got back, the guys were reading about a bike packing trip they wanted to take. The description read, "brutal yet fulfilling." I had to laugh. That summed up this weekend's trip very well.

21 comments:

  1. Yup, climbing skins are the best things ever! Looks like a wonderful ski trip. Although the ski conditions wouldn't bother me as much, I do understand how terrifying it can be when you're not a confident skier. Good for you for facing your fears and completing this trip!

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    1. I wish I were as good a skier as you! It looks fun in abstract..I just can't get over the fear of going too fast.

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  2. I look forward to reading about your adventure on the 'bike packing trip'!!!
    Skins here are a tight fitting leg and lower body outfit for recovery after major exercise. I wonder what you are using on the snow.

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    1. I don't think the bike packing trip is even a consideration for the guys after they read the description! That is funny...never heard that term skins in that manner. The closest thing I can think of are compression outfits? Skins here are sticky pieces of fabric with glue on them that you attach to the bottom of your skis and so you don't slide as much.

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  3. I love yurts too, except I prefer to drive my car up to them. :) Sounds like it was a fun step from your comfort zone.

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    1. I really, really want to live in a yurt. J isn't quite as thrilled about the idea.

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  4. Woo-hoo a yurt, how fun! We'll never know our limits if we don't reach out past our comfort zone every now an then. Looks like beautiful weather too. I loved downhill and x-country skiing when I was younger. Now I could probably just get along with x-country on flat trails.

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    1. You're right, sometimes because I work outside of my comfort zone all day (in a more mental sense), it's hard to step out on my time off. I need to do it more often.

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  5. I like yurts, too, though with one large room, you are in the middle of whatever goes on. If you and J. or you and L. are in this area with enough, you can rent a yurt in Craig Lake Wilderness State Park. Had a good time there with two friends last year. Sounds as if you conquered a trip that would have left me crumpled in the snow!

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    1. I've seen yurts with walls and upper stories! I like the round shape. I live in one room basically now so I'm used to it.

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    2. We stayed at Mt. Bohemia ski place last week...there are single yurts for rent, but the interesting thing was that they have hooked four yurts together...for kitchen and business office, to the dining area, for a bar/grill and for a picnic table place for skiers to use. Seems to work well.

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    3. Hi Northco, how ya doin? Miss your visits to my blog. Take care.

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    4. Hi, John....I've been visiting your blog and enjoying your posts. For some reason, I am listed as a "follower" instead of a member, but I can still check in.

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  6. Hi Mary, I'm not a skier and so, I don't get to excited over the sport. I do enjoy you travels and photos of the landscape. I'm not that fond of Yurts myself, I would rather live in a Wall tent. Check out Wall Tent Living on Youtube. Amazing what they do with them. Now, the bicycle road trips sounds really interesting.

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    1. Wall tents..I have never seen one with windows though. I'll do some looking. I like round shapes...

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  7. I have never stayed in a yurt but have stayed in a teepee for four nights. Getting to the yurt sounds like quite an adventure and scary at times. Good on you, you did it, and what a great story you have to share. Have you ever heard of Altai Skis? You will come up with the website if you google them. Not quite skis but more than snowshoes!

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    1. Ooh! I'm intrigued. Do you really ski with only one pole?

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  8. You and I just keep finding things in common. I LOVE yurts too and hope to live in one someday (if we ever settle down). I am constantly intimidated when I am invited on ski-to-hut/yurt trips because natural-born skiers love to downplay the effort and terrain. I am glad you survived and enjoyed!!

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    1. I am the one always resorting to snowshoes. Even the "cross country" trails here have some terrifying sections that could only have been dreamed up by a downhill skier. As for yurts, I feel like if you live in one, you aren't really settling down! Maybe that's why they are so appealing.

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  9. Skins are the best! But icy traverses are brutal no matter what you've got under your skis. Looks like a beautiful trip :)

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    1. I was gratified that the better skiers in the group also did not like the traverse. I was the weak link for sure. But the skins really did help.

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