Monday, December 30, 2013

The OPUS hut...

Let's start of by clearing up one thing. The OPUS(Ophir Pass Ultimate Ski) hut is certainly relying on the Euro definition of  a "hut".  This place is  about he same size, and much nicer, than our house. I would be incredibly impressed with the design and build quality if this place were in mtn village in Telluride, thankfully it isn't.  It's built a 1/4 mile off of the Ophir pass 4x4 road at almost 11,700 ft. If you want more details on the hut check out their website and read through the scrap book when you make it there.

If you really just want to see pictures and skip my wandering dialogue I've got the full set posted here. Link 

This year for Christmas Natalie and I decided that we wanted to do something a little different and started looking at options for a hut trip.  I had been in contact with Bob, of the OPUS hut, several years ago but hadn't made it down there.  Their schedule was pretty open over Christmas with only one other couple staying there so we decided to make it happen.

The weekend before christmas we had people over for dinner and then began packing.  This was a relatively simple affair as all we needed was our ski gear, hut cloths, sheets and daytime snacks.  Skiing in for a four day hut trip with my normal ski pack was pretty awesome.

Monday we skied Monarch Mtn and then stayed in Montrose.  Tuesday we drove south, into the San Juans.  I will always love the sight of that mtn range coming through the windshield.

We got the trailhead and made our way up to the hut.  3.5-4 miles on the summer road.

Wicket was very curious about our new home for a few days.

Another view of the inside of the hut.  The post and beam structure if salvaged from a barn from PA. Quite a bit of the other building material is also "salvaged" but the place can barely be called rustic. Hot running water at almost 12,000 ft???

 A couple shots of the view from the hut, not too shabby.

Our objective the first day was a tour across the basin to ski a feature called the nose.  Wicket still can't figure out why it takes us so long to get ready to play in the snow.

After a pretty easy skin we booted up to the ridge above the nose.

Christmas day was a beautiful, sunny, San Juan day.

We skied a large, low angle  bowl up high...

..and then rolled over onto the nose proper for some really nice turns.

The ridge above Ophir Pass on the way back to the hut.

We were greeted at the hut by  soup and appetizers.  This was followed by leg of lamb for christmas dinner... to be completely honest, I've had much worse food at some pretty nice hotels.

The following day we took a nice warm up lap from the hut with Don and Brenda and then toured over to the lower portion of the nose with Don for a couple more laps of the goods.

It didn't disappoint.

It seemed like each lap the snow kept getting better as the sun softened the top a little bit, allowing better access to the creamy goodness within.

Wicket made sure not to get left out of the action.

Don testing out the snow a bit further was good too.

Having the camera gives me an excuse to stop and not have to keep up with her..

Back at the hut again we met our new hut keeper, Miriam, and enjoyed more delicious soup an excellent dinner.

After dinner we were all pretty cached so we called it a night, after some time in the sauna.  This was certainly a memorable christmas spent with some new friends and skiing some outstanding terrain.

Happy New years everyone.

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