Friday, May 31, 2013

Snow Survey Cabin

In the time before instruments were available to accurately measure the snow (especially to determine its potential as the spring/summer water source), surveyors went up into the mountains to physically take a "snow survey" to measure the snow depth.  Eventually, cabins to provide shelter for these intrepid snow surveyors became a reality.  But now that these cabins are obsolete relative to their original purpose, the federal government who maintains them,  makes them available to the public on a rental basis.  The Ski House of  the Day is one such cabin.  It's called the Snow Survey Cabin, located in the Snowy Range section of Medicine Bow National Forest in Wyoming.

 The Snow Survey Cabin was constructed in 1944.  It sits at an elevation of about 10,000 feet.  Access to the cabin during ski season is by way of a 6-mile ski, snow-shoe trek, or snowmobile ride in through the Snowy Range.  It's a tiny one-room cabin with a large dose of the reality of living in, around and under the deep Wyoming winter snow.  There is a front door, but just in case it's completely buried by snow (and all that's visible is the roof peek), there is also a hatch door up above the front door to climb down into.  Once inside, the basic cabin is (dare-I-say) cute, and well equipped with two sets of bunk-beds, a propane heater, a propane stove, a table and chairs, some cooking/eating utensils, etc.

There's no electricity, and the government website says that although there's no running water, there's usually enough snow for melting....  (The fee is $50 per night to rent this unique cabin).

The outhouse is just a short 40 ft. run across the snow...and if you're lucky, the door won't be snowed shut, as was the case for a couple of adventurous visitors:

It's surely not for everybody, but it's a very unique ski house, and a chance to experience a snow survey of your very own.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Custom Cabin On Historic Slopes

On Memorial Day, the Ski House of the Day is one that's located near one of the most unique US military training areas ever.  The time was the 1940's, the trainees were the Tenth Mountain Division, and the place was called Cooper Hill, Colorado.  The army built Camp Hale there to train the newly-formed ski-trooper unit for WWII combat on the snow.  According to Colorado Central Magazine, Army engineers cleared the ski runs on Cooper Hill, and although they installed the region's first T-bar, the ski-troopers usually trekked up the mountain hauling their skis, plus an M-1 rifle and a 90-pound pack, on foot or on skins.  As history shows, these brave skiers became some of the most decorated soldiers of WWII, and (those who survived) returned to the US to contribute greatly to the development of the American ski industry after the war.

Today, skiers can ski the same Cooper Hill slopes that those brave WWII soldiers of the Tenth Mountain Div trained on, at the now family-friendly resort, Ski Cooper (where the daily lift tickets there are still under $50!).  Ski Cooper has granite monuments honoring these brave soldiers, and Ski Cooper still holds an annual reunion of the surviving ski trooper veterans, including honor ceremonies, and even a ski run (on the white skis) down the same slopes they trained on so many years ago.  This makes me proud to be an American, proud to be a skier...and I will surely put Ski Cooper on my bucket list.

So, in honor of the skier-soldiers of the Tenth Mountain Division of WWII, on this Memorial Day the Ski House of the Day is on the mountainside very near those slopes that were their training-ground on Ski Cooper.

The modern ski cabin is an off-grid beauty that was built by Fiddler Creek Company whose inspiring business is described as "creative design and construction for a sustainable world".  The beautifully creative timber frame cabin is situated on a 12-acre parcel at an elevation of 10,500 ft!

Inside are two bedrooms and two bathrooms (including one with a quaint claw-foot tub!), a living room with cozy wood stove, and a charming atmosphere.

The lovely, private cabin is available for rentals.

I love all the unexpected curves throughout the cabin:

Outside is access to gorgeous views, back-country skiing, and hiking -- including to some of the 10th Mountain Division huts in the surrounding mountains.  Four wheel-drive is needed to access this special place.

It looks to me like the setting of this ski house is peaceful and serene...but echoes a past that demands respect and reverence - a perfect place to take a moment to remember the ski troopers of the Tenth Mountain Division...especially on this Memorial Day.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bohemian Yurt

Extreme skiing in ...Michigan?  Who knew?  The Ski House of the Day is at Mount Bohemia, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

With an average snowfall of 273" in the Keweenaw Peninsula, Mount Bohemia has lots of untouched "powder,"  in fact they claim that the lake effect snow is similar to the dry powder of the western resorts!  Bohemia has only 900' of vertical drop, but claims 85 runs.  But here's the thing:  Bohemia got 314 inches this past season.  And since they do not groom it, there's a lot of powder to be had.  They claim to be the backcountry skier's hidden treasure of the Midwest, and others agree; according to the resort's website, Mount Bohemia has been called one of the top ten undiscovered ski resorts in the world, by

So, the Ski House of the Day is a trail-side yurt right in that fluffy deep powder on Mount Bohemia:

The yurt is one of several in the yurt village:

The basics inside the yurt include sturdy log bunk beds, and other comforts like a bathroom and electricity:

I'd call it a Bohemian ski house in a pretty cool , Bohemian location.