Hut and Heli Skiing
Photo by: Glen Allison
It’s an extraordinary experience to stand outside a remote yurt tucked high in the mountains, gazing upon snowy peaks kissed by the rising sun. Local yurt experiences, however, can be equally extraordinary due to the wide range of possibilities they offer: You don’t have to be a great skier, you don’t have to leave the kids at home, you don’t have to cook to eat gourmet meals...and you don’t even have to ski to get there.
Small huts patterned after tents designed and used by nomadic Mongolian tribes, each of the yurts is tucked away in a mountain spot chosen for its beauty by a locally owned company determined to help create your perfect yurt experience.
Sun Valley Trekking’s five huts offer something for everyone: hardcore skiers, families, snowshoers. Each has either a hot tub or a cedar sauna. Boulder Hut, which is actually two connecting yurts, can accommodate you and a dozen of your closest friends or family members; it sleeps 14. Brand new, it features stained-glass windows plus a full kitchen with copper countertops, two sinks, and designer cookware. Fondue dinners are a specialty, and catered lunches and dinners can be ordered. Sledding will keep the young ones amused for hours. New owners Francie and Joe St. Onge and Scott and Carrie Douglas can be reached at 208.788.1966, or visit their website at www.svtrek.com.
Historic, community-owned Galena Lodge offers three wood-heated yurts. The beauty of Galena is enhanced by its proximity: The lodge is just 23 miles north of Ketchum, and one yurt is only a few miles in from the road. Galena is known for its fine home cooking, and these savory meals can be delivered to the hut. Stop in and meet new managers Carlin Thompson and Charles Savage. Galena’s phone number is 208.726.4010.
Kirk Bachman and Julie Meissner, owners of Sawtooth Mountain Guides, are rightfully proud of the views from their Williams Peak Yurt, located in the Sawtooth wilderness. Watching the sun come up over Castle Peak makes for a daybreak you’ll long remember. A sauna, kitchen, and sleeping room for twelve await you after the gentle six-mile ski in to the yurt. Kirk and Julie offer a variety of packages. A group can simply rent a hut, with or without a guide, and carry in their own provisions; but some groups prefer to design their own program: tasty food, sports and equipment, and instruction on topics such as avalanche awareness and ski technique are available. Visit the website at www.sawtoothguides.com or call Sawtooth Mountain Guides at 208.774.3324.
Sun Valley Heli Ski is the granddad of them all, the oldest heli ski business in the Lower 48. The company was formed 35 years ago, and current owner Mark Baumgardner has guided its operation since 1982. Sun Valley Heli Ski offers an effortless way to get to its picturesque hut, nestled 8,000 feet up in the Pioneer Mountains—a ten-minute helicopter ride. Along with gourmet food, mellow skiing, snowshoeing around the hut, and a chance to bring the kids, the service also gives you the option either to fly or ski out. Mark is happy to answer questions at 208.622.3108. The website is www.svheli-ski.com.