Quandary explains hut trips and who has the highest ski area in Summit | SummitDaily.com

Quandary explains hut trips and who has the highest ski area in Summit

Question 1:

What is a hut trip?

So you fancy yourself a mountain man? Well, a trip to the Summit huts might be just the thing to test your mettle. The Summit Hut Association has four huts that are open for winter use from November through May. A trip to the huts entails a trip back in time. You are giving up all of your creature comforts and embarking on a journey to test your skills, smarts and, most of all, heart. Each hut brings a different experience and challenge, and frankly, Old Quandary isn't always betting on you. It's awfully easy to go in expecting to look like Grizzly Adams, then turn out as bear bait. Now that's not to say you shouldn't try the adventure, but trust me and know what you're getting into on this one.

The huts can provide an amazing experience that allows you to see yourself and your traveling partners in a whole different light. Again, know before you go. Deep in the mountains is not the place to find out your new girlfriend's never seen snow before, or that your brother has something he's been meaning to tell you. Try to travel with people you know can handle the environment, and you won't mind sitting around with when there is no other entertainment.

If you decide to head to the most remote hut, Janet's Cabin, you will be headed to a souped-up cabin that sleeps 20 and sits back far from any roads. This cabin is so remote that supplies like firewood have to be dropped in by helicopter. There are some bunk beds in the cabin, but as a general rule, if you can't pack it in, you won't have it. Yes, this means you will be trekking in with a pack weighing at least 30 pounds. The same is true for the other cabins, as well. Francie's Cabin has propane, but not much else, and Ken's Cabin comes with a neighbor — Section House, the fourth cabin.

Still, for all the trials and tribulations you'll face on a hut trip, there's the awesome feeling of having done it. Living strictly off what you and your friends are capable of accomplishing in such a remote area is surely a great source of pride. Learn about yourself; learn about your buddies; learn about the land. For more information on Summit's huts visit http://www.summithuts.org or call (970) 453-8583.

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Question 2:

What's the highest ski area in Summit County?

What's with the obsession with being high in Summit? At least we're talking elevation, although Quandary's beginning to think this county has a complex you're trying to overcome.

The title of highest ski area in Summit belongs to Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, which has the highest lift-served terrain in North America and some of the highest terrain in general according to the resort's website. The base of A-Basin sits at 10,780 feet and rises to a high point of 13,050 feet at the summit.

Don't assume the other lifts here to be a slouch, though. Breckenridge Ski Resort's highest elevation sits at 12,988 feet, while Copper Mountain Resort summits at 12,313 feet, and Keystone Resort rounds out the giants at 12,200 feet. Keeping in mind the Mile High City sits at 5,280 feet of elevation, you start to realize why Summit is so aptly titled. For a little more perspective consider that the highest ski area in the New England area is the Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont, which summits at 4,395 feet according to onthesnow.com. Though I'm no math wizard, I do believe that means Arapahoe Basin's base area is over 5,000 feet higher than Stowe Mountain's summit. So maybe it does make sense that Summit is so obsessed with being high. After all, if you've got it, flaunt it, right?

Have a question for Quandary? Send your email to Quandary@summitdaily.com