Ski touring: First Hut trip

WHERE: Shrine Mountain Inn, a backcountry hut operated by the Tenth Mountain Trail Association. We will cross-country ski approximately 2.5 miles from the trailhead at the top of Vail Pass to the hut. 

WHAT: Students will have the opportunity to learn basic telemark skiing, snow science, and winter outdoor skills. This is the first in a series of winter hut trips that continues in Fifth and Seventh Grades.

The school has skis, boots, poles, climbing skins and backpacks to outfit the entire class. If you have a good backpack you prefer to use, please bring it in to be checked before the trip. The Fourth Grade will be practicing with their equipment several times before departing on the expedition.

On the first morning, we depart the trailhead to ski in as a group, traversing forested meadows to the Shrine Mountain Inn, a complex of small, cozy huts. After orienting ourselves to the hut and covering some basic backcountry skills (melting snow for drinking water, chopping firewood), we prepare dinner and settle in for the evening. At least one night, we will go out for a night ski, and we also spend some daytime hours outside to learn about snow science, practice our telemark turns, and enjoy lunch outside. We all work together to prepare dinners and breakfasts. On the last morning, we wake up early to pack up before heading back to the trailhead.

Outdoor Education is an integral part of our school curriculum, and all students are expected to participate. Students may not remain on campus while their class is on an Outdoor Ed trip. 

Packing list

□ Skis, poles and boots (provided by school)
□ Helmet (required)
□ Trip backpack (your own of the correct size, or one provided by school)
□ Day pack (lightweight and compressible)
□ Sleeping bag: warm, lightweight, compact
□ NEW – for FOURTH GRADE only: sleeping pad

Click here for a helpful article about dressing in layers for winter touring
□ Ski jacket, ski pants
□ Warm pants for inside the hut
□ Sweater or zip fleece
□ Shirt (no cotton)
□ Warm socks/extra pair (no cotton)
□ Long underwear (top and bottom, no cotton)
□ Warm hat, neck gaiter
□ 1 pair warm ski mittens or gloves (in case 1 gets wet)
□ Brimmed cap to wear during uphill ski tours
□ Hand-warming or toe-warming packets (optional)
□ Glove liners (optional)

□ Booties (light weight hut shoes)
□ Toothbrush & toothpaste
□ Headlamp or flashlight (small + light)
□ Sunglasses
□ Goggles
□ 2 Water bottles (full) – wide mouth
□ Sunscreen
□ Lip protection with SPF

□ Snacks for 3 days
□ Lunch for 1 day

Inside the Shrine Mountain Inn hut



Complete instructions, packing lists, and staffing details arrive via ParentSquare shortly before each trip. At least one certified Wilderness First Responder accompanies every expedition. NOLS Risk Services of the National Outdoor Leadership School has recently completed a comprehensive analysis of policies and procedures for the Outdoor Education program at Aspen Country Day School. This program operates under special use permit from the USDA Forest Service, White River National Forest.