The Outsider: Hut work, autumn riding and the final Woodward snow session |

The Outsider: Hut work, autumn riding and the final Woodward snow session

SDN sports editor Phil Lindeman.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Autumn is my favorite season without snow.

In the outdoors realm, September and October are high time for year-round locals to take back their trails and campgrounds for one last hurrah before winter begins in earnest. It’s also time to start prepping for winter — keep an eye open for early-season sales and tune-up deals at local ski shops between now and Arapahoe Basin Ski Area’s opening day sometime in mid to late October.

Until then, there are oodles of fun to be had without skis and snowboards, or even with skis and snowboards if you just can’t wait another few weeks. The aspen rides at Boreas Pass in Breck and Miner’s Creek in Frisco are almost surreally colorful, and hiking in the Argentine Pass area is crisp without the frigid October chill.

Here’s a look at the top outdoors and sports picks this weekend. Autumn in Summit may be quiet and gorgeous, but it’s also fleeting. Enjoy it while you can.

Janet’s Cabin heli day

It’s restocking time for the local hut system. And, given the remote location of Janet’s Cabin — it sits near tree line in the Guller Creek Drainage outside of Copper Mountain — that means helicopter work.

Summit Huts Association is calling for volunteers to help with off-season touch-ups on Sept. 19 and Sept. 20. Volunteers won’t get to ride in the helicopter, but organizers still need help loading and unloading nets when the heli pilot swings through. The volunteer days also require a 6.5-mile hike to the hut — again, no free rides in the helicopter — and that means everyone must be in top physical shape, or at least willing and able to handle manual labor in the wilderness after a strenuous uphill hike. All volunteers must be at least 14 years old, and anyone younger than 18 needs to come with an adult. The biggest perk: All volunteers earn one free hut stay per day worked.

If interested, register online at

Final Woodward snow session

Back in July, when the weather finally turned summery, Woodward opted to extend the season for the public Center Park rail garden. No one was quite sure if the former superpipe would last long enough for riding on Sept. 19, but it did, and now it’s time to bring an official close to the 2014-15 season just weeks before the start of the 2015-16 season.

Drop by Copper Mountain from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 19 for a day of riding on roughly 12-15 rails, boxes and other urban features. A ticket costs $20 for the entire day, but be ready to battle crowds. Just about every Saturday session this summer has drawn upwards of 100 skiers and snowboarders to the small, rapidly melting patch of snow.

Still, nothing beats bragging rights when your buddies on the Front Range and in the Midwest and just about anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere haven’t even seen snow since May. Just don’t forget to share those 270s on and off through social media. That’s why it’s there, right?

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