The Hut Du Jour

A last-minute trip to Margy’s Hut dished up plenty of late-season powder and hyjinks.

A couple of weekends ago, a few friends and I embarked on a last-minute trip to Margy’s Hut, near Aspen. The outing dished up surprisingly good late-season powder skiing along with plenty of movie-quote hijinks.

About a week prior, I received the following text: “Hey guys, I’ve got a crazy proposition for you. A bunch of huts are coming available at the end of this month…is anybody game/available?”

Surprisingly, I was…thanks to an open weekend and my gracious wife 🙂

Meaning behind the title

I like to refer to that weekend as the Hut Du Jour, or the hut of the day, for a few reasons:

1. Booking last minute huts requires flexibility and you as you probably won’t know which hut you are heading to, until you actually are. Margy’s literally became our “hut du jour,” while we almost nearly ended up at the Sangre Hut. I like to joke that my friend, Travis, moonlights as a hut day trader.

2. My friends and I like to quote the movie Dumb and Dumber. And considering the hut’s relative proximity to Aspen, it proved inevitable.

“I’m talking about a little place called Aspen…where the beer flows like wine, where the women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano…”

Here is dialogue that inspired the title of this post:

Lloyd (Jim Carrey): Excuse me Flo…What’s the soup du jour?”
Flo, waitress: “It’s the soup of the day.”

Lloyd: “That sounds good, I’ll have some.”

What’s especially hilarious isn’t the words themselves, but the laughter (see video below).

However, maybe the best Dumb and Dumber reference came in an unexpected text from a buddy who originally said he was out:

“I’m cleared. You got room for one more on that hog if I still wanna go to Aspen?”

We were pretty stoked he could come. And now suddenly there were four of us going to Margy’s Hut.

Background on Margy’s

A bit more about Margy’s, this 16-person hut, located about 10 miles northeast of Aspen, Colorado, hails as one of the first 10th Mountain Division Huts built.

The 10th Mountain Division Huts were built in the 1980s in Colorado and were named to honor the division of the United States Army that specialized in mountain and winter warfare during World War II. After the war, many of these veterans settled in Colorado and became influential in developing skiing here.

In total, roughly 30 of these huts dot the Colorado high country.

My hut resume

My 10th Mountain Division hut resume is quite short—Margy’s Hut was only my second, while I have spent time at other huts in Colorado and Utah.

There is something special about these huts: the history, the layout, which always seem to feature epic mountain views, a large wood-burning stove and other surprising amenities, like photovoltaic lights and lots of good cookware that you don’t have to schlepp in.

The touches of luxury are welcome, considering most huts sit deep in the backcountry.  

Getting there

But before you can enjoy one of these huts, first you have to get there.

Margy’s Hut has one of the longer approaches, clocking in at six miles and 2,600 feet of elevation gain (though Strava listed the mileage as more like seven miles). What can make the approach challenging depends on how much you are willing to carry, aka food and gear choices.

Starting out

After a 4:30 a.m. meetup in Colorado Springs, we drove to Aspen and started on the trail at about 11 a.m.

The skin proved mostly uneventful but long: a gradual uphill slog weighed down by a hot sun and sagging packs from chicken fajitas, guacamole and elk steaks. Forget the freeze dried meals…we wanted to eat well.

At points, continual glopping, snow sticking to our skins, wearied the soul, as did the hot spots in my boots, but we made it nonetheless.

One motivation that kept us forging ahead was six inches of fresh snow on the ground. Even though temperatures heated up, we figured conditions would still be good on the higher elevated north faces. And we were right.

Everything is better in a hut

Finally we arrived at the hut, for a night of card playing, tea drinking and oversize elk steaks. As my friend so eloquently put it “Everything is better in a hut.” Which is true of so many things.

With only four of us in a 16-person hut, it kind of felt like we were staying at a camp during the offseason.

The next day, we went powder seeking at a relatively sane hour of 10:00 a.m.

Quickly we found some, north facing shots about one mile from the hut. These relatively short slopes were mostly low angled terrain of 30 degrees or less, but the powder stayed below freezing and skiied marvelously.

We spent the good part of that day farming the same area. Though there was really no need: with so much wide open real estate in such a remote setting, there was plenty left to ski—and no one would probably be here for several more days.

We returned the same area the last morning for a few more laps. It began snowing and the freshly falling snowflakes, floating down like white confetti, amped our ski stoke and left us wanting more.

All in all, it was a great trip. There were plenty of good conversation and more Dumb and Dumber quotes—we pretty much recycled all possible.

I’m looking forward to more hut adventures with this crew—ones planned well in advance or I’ll gladly take another Hut Du Jour.

Fresh powder = farmed and thoroughly enjoyed.

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