Mastering the hut trip
The Seventh Graders have a classic ski adventure, usually in early January, to the Froelicher hut of the Tenth Mountain Trail Association. This expedition builds upon ski mountaineering skills that are introduced in Fifth and Sixth Grades. Students learn to use the school’s telemark gear and climbing skins, then practice on the mountainside behind our campus. The hut trips become gradually more challenging, and by Seventh Grade, students are ready for this four-day expedition. Alumni often rank it right up there with the Eighth Grade river trip as one of the most exciting and memorable of their many expeditions.
On the first day, we depart the trailhead in mid-morning to ski in as a group. 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 our days are spent touring in the alpine environment, learning about snow science and map-reading, practicing with our beacons, and learning how to navigate the backcountry safely and wisely. Journaling, games, skits, and other activities keep us busy each day and evening. On the final morning, we wake up early to clean up the hut and pack up before heading back to the trailhead.
Sample packing list
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.