backcountry-huts-oregon

  1. What time do hut guests meet?  9:00AM at the Upper Three Creeks Snowpark on the first day.
  2. What time do hut guests return to the parking lot?  Our normal return shuttles leave the huts at 2:30 and return to the parking lot around 3-3:30.  This time can often be adjusted, just let us know.
  3. Coffee?  We have drip filters and a french press.
  4. Water?  Most of the winter a fresh water spring is flowing near the huts
  5. Where can I rent or demo backcountry skis? Crow’s Feet Commons and Pine Mountain Sports
  6. Dogs?  No dogs…even well behaved dogs with big floppy ears are not allowed, sorry.
  7. How should we pack our food?  Please put all your food in coolers or plastic tubs.
  8. One of group members can’t make it till the next day, can he get a shuttle in? We only run shuttles once for each group arriving, and each group returning.  It is also important that the group all arrive at the same time so they don’t miss the avalanche/snow safety meeting.  If we must run an extra shuttle it will be based on availibilty and there will be an extra charge. 
  9. Can we ski ourselves into and out of the huts?  Absolutely, its 6 miles and an elevation gain of 1,1ooft.  There is a boring snow packed road, or you can take the more interesting, but longer nordic trail route.
  10. One way shuttles, or just our gear? We only have a rate for round trip shuttles, there is not a lower price for one way or bags only.  
  11. Can we bring our own snowmobile?  You can, however by the time you gas/oil it up, trailer it, break some parts and deal with dragging in all your group’s gear, the price for shuttle seems like a good deal.
  12. Is there cell reception at the huts?  The coverage is very spotty and unreliable.  Turn the phone off and ski!
  13. What do we do for emergency communication?  We have an emergency “SPOT” devise at the huts
  14. What are the best maps to bring? The “Broken Top” USGS Quadrant has most of the terrain.  We also have laminated maps of the terrain available to borrow at the huts.
  15. What if the snow conditions are awful, can we cancel or postpone our trip? We rent out the huts, not the snowpack.  For us to operate sustainably we have to be very strict with our no cancellation policy.  We say that 85% of the time, the skiing is great, 10% not so great, and 5% awful.  For those that end up in the 5% category the focus must change from skiing to simply enjoying spending time in the woods with friends.  If you think you might need or want to cancel, please consider travel insurance because we are not in a position to be flexible with our no cancellation policy.  Some guests have successfully used www.travelgaurd.com.    

Below is a copy of the Hut Confirmation/Information letter for guests, it also includes a suggested equipment list:

2013 2014 hut confirmation/information letter

*Note… this is our inaugural year for this hut to hut traverse, so we predict these will be the most FAQ….

  1. What time do hut guests meet?  8:30AM at the Upper Three Creeks Snowpark on the first day.
  2. Water?  Snowmelt is use for drinking water
  3. Where can I rent or demo nordic backcountry skis? Crow’s Feet Commons and Pine Mountain Sports
  4. Dogs?  No dogs…even well behaved dogs with big floppy ears are not allowed, sorry.
  5. Can we bring our own snowmobile?  Motorized travel to the huts in not allowed.
  6. Can we snowshoe?  Its a ski traverse.  
  7. Is there cell reception at the huts?  There is coverage at each hut.  Along the ski, the coverage is very spotty and unreliable.  Cell phones serve as your emergency communication, so conserve the battery, or bring backups.  Turn the phone off and ski!
  8. Food? Each hut is stocked with the staple ingredients listed on our huts page. Please supplement these ingredients with fresh fruits, veggies, meats, snacks or anything else you wish to carry. These supplies are stocked once week or as needed. 
  9. Shuttle? Shuttles will be provided by  Cog Wild Bicycle Tours  and is included in your reservation.  The shuttle meet your group at the Three Creeks Snopark at 8:30 for your check in on day 1. Your vehicles will remain parked at Three Creek SnoPark until you return.
  10. What if I live in Bend, does my whole group need to go to Three Creek SnoPark? For local Bend folks who don’t want the whole group to have to drive to Sisters in the morning you can send just your shuttle drivers with the return vehicles to the Three Creeks Sno-Park to meet the shuttle at 8:30. The shuttle will then pick up the rest of your group when they swing back through Bend at 9:30 at the Old Ray’s Parking Lot at the corner of Century Dr. and Simpson.
  11. What if the snow conditions are awful, can we cancel or postpone our trip? We rent out the huts, not the snowpack.  For us to operate sustainably we have to be very strict with our no cancellation policy.  We say that 85% of the time, the skiing is great, 10% not so great, and 5% awful.  For those that end up in the 5% category the focus must change from skiing to simply enjoying spending time in the woods with friends.  If however, you feel that the weather conditions at the start of your trip make it too dangerous, Do Not Go!  Under these circumstances we will allow your group to reschedule for an open date later in the same season.  
  12. How difficult is the ski?  Its hard to give the route a difficulty rating.  The most challenging aspect will be the diverse snow conditions.  Some days the skiing will be friendly, other days will be very challenging.  This is a good trip for nordic skiers with decent fitness and experience skiing off trail. There are a few steep ups and downs, but for the most part the terrain is rolling.  Another challenge will be days that require breaking trail.  In deep snow this can be quite a workout.  It helps to have a big crew that can take turns at the front.  Day 1 is the toughest day… the time to arrive at the first cabin has taken groups anywhere from 2-1/2 hours to 7 hours.
  13. How difficult is the navigation? New this season, the route will be marked. The recommended route is one of which we feel follows the friendliest terrain and avoids popular snowmobile areas as much as possible.  Your group is of course welcome to make up your own route and explore any of the terrain between huts.  The beginning and end of the route uses the existing nordic trails of Dutchman and Three Creeks XC ski areas.
  1. What is your instructor ratio?  5 : 1, and we have a maximum class size of 10 students with 2 instructors.  Many other course providers have 12, 13, 14…20 students.  The smaller the class size, the better the experience.
  2. Hut Based course vs. the Standard Course format?   6 years ago we offered 9 standard daily courses and 1 hut based course.   Each year since we have eliminated more of the standard courses and offer more hut based courses. We feel that during a hut based course, you learn more, you ski more and you have more fun.  We now exclusively offer hut based courses.  By waking up in the backcountry we have more time, the information has time to sink in.  By eliminating the logistics of traveling back and forth from the classroom to the ski slopes, we are able to offer more time touring and less time in-front of Powerpoint.
  3. What is Tam McArthur Rim like?   Tam Rim is a fantastic avalanche classroom.  The terrain varies from simple to complex.  Its a great place to learn travel techniques.  There are multiple ways to travel through the terrain, some safer than others which provides a tremendous learning opportunity.  Unlike many of the Cascade Volcanoes that are above treeline and ripped with wind.  The protected North facing drainage of Tam Rim provides for a very interesting snowpack.  Each season we encounter all types of avalanche problems (storm slabs, wind slabs, persistent slabs, wet slabs, loose wet, loose dry, deep slabs and cornices)You need to be in real avalanche terrain to truly learn about avalanches!
  4. Can I take a Level 2 course if my Level 1 was not an AIARE course?  Non-AIARE Level 1 courses vary widely in quality and content, and this is why we hope that you took an AIARE L1.  If not, we will supply you some reading material prior to the course so you can get up to speed with the lingo.  If you are still not sure if you are ready for the L2, just let us know you personal experience and we’ll give you our recommendation.
  5. Is there a test to pass the course?  No test for level 1 or 2 classes.  You need to show up and engage.  Level 3 courses have field and written tests.   
  6. Do you provide private courses?  Yes we do, but you need to schedule early.  
  7. Do you rent gear?  We rent beacons, shovels and probes.  We have a variety of brands so, if you are still deciding what to buy, you can rent from us and see what you like.  Other backcountry equipment: skis, skins, boots etc can be rented at Crows Feet Commons and Pine Mountain Sports in Bend.    
  8. Are your instructors jerks?  This is definitely not a frequently asked question, but the answer is no.  Our instructors absolutely love to ski and nothing makes us happier than spending time out in the field sharing what we know.  Our instructors are all AIARE certified, and professional members of the AAA which is no easy task.  This is a long process of personal courses, instructor courses, continued education, many years of personal tours and many years working in avalanche terrain.  This will be our 9th season teaching courses, with over 50 courses taught.
  9. Why take a course with us?  We have the best instructor/student ratio, smallest class size, real avalanche terrain to work with, experienced instructors, we focus on field time and the location is beautiful.  
  10. What time do avalanche courses meet?  8:30AM on the first day
  11. What time do avalanche courses finish?  Usually 4:00pm on the final day.
  12. Can I snowshoe on the courses?  Yes, but be aware that our courses are very ski based and we cover avalanche education from the perspective of a backcountry skier.
  13. Below are Confirmation Letters for Hut Based Level 1 and Hut Based Level 2 Courses.  Its also includes an equipment list:

Hut Based L1 Confirmation Letter

Hut Based L2 Confirmation Letter