SVT guide, Joe St.Onge and apprentice Chris Cullaz, led a group of local ladies into the Pioneer Yurt this week. Perfect powder conditions, big peaks and the sublime beauty of the Pioneers worked its magic. What a place we call home!
The Rendi family, Paul, Mara, Andersen (8), and Karsten (12) came east from Washington for a backcountry adventure at Tornak Hut with guide Chris Marshall and intern Chris Cullaz. Andersen and Karsten slayed it, touring for the first time and ripping turns around Moonlight Basin and off the Mighty Tornak Peak. Ullr must have been pleased as 6″ of Idaho powder fell overnight on the 2nd night! Good times were had by all, and between the powder turns, playing dice in the warm hut, digging tunnels in the snow, and the Mighty Tornak Peak twice, there were plenty of smiles to go around.
“These are the moments we live for as guides; watching the stoke blossom in a younger generation, for something that is such a big part of who i am, was incredibly special to me. I was constantly inspired watching these boys try something hard for the first time, push through the challenges, and and let the smiles on their face show their stoke!” – guide Chris Marshall
Leaving the hut for a powder day!
Sun and Fun at the Coyote Yurts
SVT Guides, Chris Marshall and Joe St.Onge, are just back from a quick 2 day trip into the Coyote Yurts with a fun group of local skiers. Sunny skies, warm temps, settled powder and some of the first corn turns of the season were enjoyed by all. What a place to call home!
The tradition continues! From near and far, a group of hearty skiers gathered for the 5th annual Yurtika. The destination for this year was the Coyote Yurts, and like the past couple years, deep powder was on the menu. Fun times and awesome skiing – doesn’t get much better!
At the start of every winter season, we celebrate the coming of winter with a BIG fire. Unlike people who love spending their time inside their rooms in the warmth of their furnaces operating constantly with an abundant amount of propane (which can be sourced from kellypropane.com), we prefer to honor the change of the season and the coming days of arcing down mountains on skis by a bonfire. We honor the Norse God Ullr, known as a great skier who would leave trails of stars behind his skis and drink to his health with hopes he will smile upon us. This year we had the annual Ullr fire up at the Boulder Yurts, where we had a giant pile of slash from recent woodcuts. Friends, family and guides came to celebrate the new snow and the joy of the coming ski season. Considering this fire was going to one of the biggest we’ve had so far, and we knew small children and families would be attending, we made sure to get as much information on fire safety and the different extinguishers we’d be able to use to douse the flames. Fire safety is still imperative in the snow!
And an early season it has become. On November 1st, we were riding bikes in the spitting snow and by the 4th, we were floating down fields of powder on skis. The recent storm dropped snow to the valley bottoms but favored the upper elevations in the Smoky and Boulder Mountains with over 20″. This storm snow has settled significantly this week, hopefully creating a good base for our next storm predicted to drop 5-10″ in the next 48hrs.
Hopefully this portends the start of an epic ski season where we can all celebrate with Ullr!
Sucking the marrow of Autumn while we prepare for Winter
Autumn is transition time. It’s a time of long shadows, cold nights and anticipation of the winter to come. It is the time when we at SVT are prepping the 6 backcountry ski huts and prepping our legs and lungs for the ski season ahead. While we cut wood at three huts using trucks, much of the work we are doing at the huts requires access via human power. For us, that typically means riding our bikes. We are blessed with an awesome network of trails in our local mountains that allow us to spin our bikes, often with awkward loads, from hut to hut. The bikes have an added benefit of prepping our bodies for the ski touring season while providing the feeling of “flow” that is so vital to our souls.
SVT owner and guide, Joe St.Onge and partners, are just back from a big day (26 miles and over 7,000′ of riding) yesterday while checking in at Coyote, Tornak and Boulder Yurts. The trails were frozen solid and covered in frost in the morning and melted to “corn dirt” by mid-day. What follows are a collection of pictures from yesterday as well as from the past month of hut projects in the mountains.
Here’s to sucking the marrow from a beautiful autumn in anticipation of an awesome ski season!
A Yurt Wedding!
Family Fun in the Sawtooth
It’s late May in the mountains, ski season is over and the hint of summer is in the air. This is the time of year when we check in at all the ski huts to store them for the summer season. It’s a beautiful and quiet time in the mountains, with life springing forth. It’s a great time for SVT owners/guides, Joe and Francie St.Onge, to get out with their young children for fun adventures while taking care of this unique system of backcountry huts. Sometimes those “chores” require firing up the wood fired hot tub to check it’s function…
Chainsaws, Powder, Peaks and Cave Skiing at the Annual Sawtooth Woodcut
It’s been a tradition for over 30 years now, where every April, a few hearty souls embark on an adventure deep in the Sawtooth. Huge loads are packed up to huts that include great food, cold beer, chainsaws and gas. Over 8 cords of wood are cut (4+ at each Bench and Fishhook huts). One by one, we drop the abundant beetle killed pine trees and haul in the logs on shoulders and in sleds while on skis. The piles of logs can be intimidating, but every year we get it all in, bucked up and stacked in preparation for the following season. When the cut is done, the focus turns to skiing. We build the huts, cut the wood and haul the loads because we are skiers, inspired by the magic of the mountains that we live and work in. The Sawtooth smiled upon us this year with perfect conditions for both the cut and the skiing. Some cool new lines were explored, like the “skilunking” adventure in the “Bat Cave”, as well as some true classics in perfect conditions. Enjoy the pics!
It’s ski mountaineering season here in the high peaks of Idaho! SVT guide, Joe St.Onge, and a group of intrepid Montanans are just back from 4 days of peak skiing based out of the Pioneer Yurt. While the snow has been rapidly melting this spring, we are still finding good to excellent ski conditions in the alpine, and the Pioneer Yurt is a great place to visit if you want to go alpine! The approach to the Pioneer Yurt is largely snow free at this point (don’t even think about snowmobile access!), but we can drive to the summer trailhead. Once at the Yurt, conditions are a bit bony for another 800′, but there is reliable coverage and good ski conditions in the alpine basins above. It may not last long, so get it while you can! Enjoy the pics!
Stoked to be getting high