The Geiger Counter: My cabins in the woods

Bathing in nature on the way to Janet’s Cabin near Copper Mountain Resort is a wonderful experience.
Jefferson Geiger /

Don’t know what to do this weekend? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Pull up a seat to the counter, and I’ll tell you about everything that’s hot and happening.

With fresh snow blanketing the mountains and towns, I’m already fantasizing about backcountry trips that are months away. My annual excursions to facilities run owned by the 10th Mountain Division Huts Association and Summit Huts Association have been filled with camaraderie as family and friends hunker down for a weekend in the wilderness. 

For those unaware, these huts are practically small houses that can sleep about 20 people and come equipped with most essentials except for food and water. It can feel like glamping at times considering my group can go all out with large antipasto spreads and hearty meals in addition to board games and puzzles in between.

All of my trips, save last year’s, have been via snowshoes. The slower method was fun in its own way, especially since there’s always at least another person who snowshoes. But skinning on skis with Alpine touring bindings for the first time to Janet’s Cabin has me hooked. Though I still don’t own a dedicated set of AT equipment, I’m hoping to strap into the skis again for my January and February trips.

With only five under my belt, I’ve done nowhere near enough to objectively rank all huts in Colorado, but I will list my personal favorites.

3. Sangree M. Froelicher Hut

The expansive windows in this hut outside of Leadville have the best views I’ve seen. It was easy to get distracted by the natural beauty of the Mosquito Range while we huddled together to play the dice game farkle. At 3.1 miles, the trail in is on the shorter side, but the 1,470-foot elevation gain is nothing to sneeze at. 

2. Janet’s Cabin

Since I was on skis, this was the first time I spent my second day of the trip earning my turns instead of solely reading by a cozy fire — which I did later after my legs were spent. It was windy and exposed, but the untouched snow in those bowls near Copper Mountain Resort was unlike anything I’ve skied before. I fully understood why my friends have been coming to these huts for decades and why they roped me and my family in.

1. Francie’s Cabin

Two indoor compositing toilets. Nothing is more luxurious in single-digit weather when compared to the outhouse at Sangree that seems like a mile away. As echoes of Breckenridge Ski Resort’s avalanche guns could be heard in the distance, it was also interesting to realize how close, yet far, we were from civilization. Along with the amenities, I felt like I was getting into the swing of things since this was my second hut overall. That made the trip feel like more of a tradition instead of a one-off fluke. 

I could see myself sticking with these hut trips for years to come.

Jefferson Geiger is the arts & entertainment editor for the Summit Daily News and managing editor for Everything Summit.

What I’m Watching


From 1986-87, DC Comics released the “Watchmen” series created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. I remember devouring it in high school in between laps of my brother racing giant slalom down Howelsen Hill. The critically acclaimed work led me to other monumental graphic novels and comics such as Moore’s “Batman: The Killing Joke” and Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman.”

Gritty and dark, “Watchmen” shows a parallel world where regular people exist as superhero vigilantes, Vietnam is the 51st state and Nixon removed term limits. Film director Zach Snyder did a flawed, but passable, adaptation of the comic in 2009. Yet rather than reboot or retell, HBO’s show is a continuation of the original series in the year 2019. It may be present day, but cellphones don’t exist, Robert Redford has been president for decades and every car is electric thanks to Doctor Manhattan.

While some original crime fighters make an appearance in the form of Jeremy Irons and Jean Smart, the show focuses on a cop played by Regina King. Though masked vigilantes were outlawed, the police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, are allowed to adopt altar egos to protect their identity and families. Like the book, the action starts off when one of their own is killed, and the plot twists and turns from there.

Those cliffhangers and reveals are a trademark of the show’s creator, Damon Lindelof, the mastermind behind “The Leftovers” and “Lost.” (I will always defend that series, including the finale.) Tying it together is hauntingly beautiful music by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of Nine Inch Nails along with tracks from David Bowie, Frank Sinatra, The Ink Spots and more.

Who watches the watchmen? I do, and with the finale airing Sunday, Dec. 15, so should you.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Summit Daily is embarking on a multiyear project to digitize its archives going back to 1989 and make them available to the public in partnership with the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. The full project is expected to cost about $165,000. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.

Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.