Summit Hut Association hosts 11th annual Backcountry Ball on Oct. 9 |

Summit Hut Association hosts 11th annual Backcountry Ball on Oct. 9

An attendee at the 2014 Backcountry Ball in Breckenridge holds up skis that were part of the silent auction. The ball returns this Friday as a fundraiser for the Summit Huts Association.
Special to the Daily |

11th annual Backcountry Ball

What: The sole fundraiser for Summit Huts Association, a pre-season party with food, drink, a silent auction and more

When: Friday, Oct. 9 from 5:30-9 p.m.

Where: Village at Breckenridge, 535 S. Park Avenue in Breckenridge

Cost: $25 pre-sale, $35 at the door; $10 for kids

The event is open to all ages. To purchase tickets, see the association website at

Hut lovers, welcome to the Backcountry Ball.

On Oct. 9, the Summit Huts Association pairs with Breckenridge Resort to host the 11th annual Backcountry Ball, a pre-season fundraiser that masquerades as one hell of a party. It’s the association’s sole fundraising event, and it’s the best way for hut users to give back before digging into the backcountry this winter.

“We budget pretty close to the bone,” association executive director Mike Zobbe said. “This is an important event for us, to keep us going, and we really look forward to it. We get a lot from the hut fees, but we have to do a bit more throughout the year to keep things going.”

The party kicks off at 5:30 p.m. in the Ken Myer room at the Village at Breckenridge. Regular attendees are more familiar with The Maggie, but, while that’s under construction, longtime host Breckenridge was more than happy to change locations. There will be a catered lasagna dinner, and everyone who buys a ticket ($25 pre-sale, $35 at door, $10 for kids) also gets a few drink tickets for beer, wine or a non-adult beverage. In the name of keeping things local, Broken Compass is the beer supplier.

In terms of dress code, the name says it all. This is the Backcountry Ball, so, well, there is no dress code. Show up in jeans and a North Face or flannel (otherwise known as “Summit dress-casual”) or just show up in whatever you were wearing around that day. It’s all for a good cause, and Zobbe expects about 250 dedicated locals to pack the ballroom.

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“This is just a great social event,” he says. “This is quite casual — kind of the anti-black tie ball. There’s nothing wrong with dressing up, but this isn’t one of those events.”

Along with dinner and socializing, the association also plays host to a silent auction. In years past, organizers have auctioned off 50 to 100 items, ranging from dinners and gift certificates to outerwear and skis.

This year, Zobbe expects more of the same, and, as usual, all proceeds go to a good cause. The fundraiser supports the association’s general fund, which helps with a little bit of everything at the four Summit-area huts: firewood, toilet paper, propane, maintenance and the like.

And the funds will help the association expand. Zobbe and crew recently won U.S. Forest Service approval for Weber Hut — a new project set to begin in earnest over the next few months. The ball won’t fund construction at the Breckenridge hut, but he says it’s always nice to begin a new project with a healthy budget, especially for a community nonprofit like the association.

“The healthier we can be financially going into that, the better it will be,” he said. Expect to find Zobbe and other hut users at the ball, along with plenty of folks who simply like to party before the ski season begins in earnest. “It’s one of those things people look forward to throughout the year. It’s a celebration to kick the ski season off. This just isn’t pretentious at all.”

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