Apr 112016
 
Getting ready to open it up

Getting ready to open it up

It’s a tradition, a physical ordeal and a right of passage. We call it the “woodcut” but it is much more than just a wood-cut. Every spring, we take advantage of the solid snow pack to fell trees and skid/carry them over the snow to the huts in preparation for the following winter. Like a squirrel, collecting nuts for the winter ahead, we cache the life giving fuel for the Bench and Fishhook Huts, deep in the Sawtooth. While there is a very practical purpose to what we are doing (prepping firewood for ski huts) at heart we are skiers and the woodcut typically occurs when the ski conditions are prime. So we work especially hard felling, bucking, hauling and stacking to finish the job, so we can get to the skiing. This year we accomplished all the objectives, putting up over 6 cord of wood at each hut and skiing many big, steep and authentic lines.

Thanks to the stellar SVT crew: Chris Marshall, Andrew Kieffer, Niels Meyer, Chris Cullaz, Jess Simon, Alex Gemme, Everett Coba, and the veteran of many woodcuts: Joe St.Onge

Over 6 cords, felled, carried, bucked and stacked at the Bench Hut. now its time to go ski!

Over 6 cords, felled, carried, bucked and stacked at the Bench Hut. now its time to go ski!

The Sawtooth in all their spring glory

The Sawtooth in all their spring glory

Kiefer psyched for a day of steep couloir skiing above Bench Hut

Kieffer psyched for a day of steep couloir skiing above Bench Hut

heading into the upper basins

heading into the upper basins

Jess, working his way up the lower slopes of the Hunk

Jess, working his way up the lower slopes of the Hunk

Climbing mid way on the Hunk, a classic spring steep corn descent above Bench hut

Climbing mid way on the Hunk, a classic spring steep corn descent above Bench hut

Cranking warm-up turns before the steeps on the Hunk

Cranking warm-up turns before the steeps on the Hunk

Jess, working his way through the surface sluffs on the Hunk

Jess, working his way through the surface sluffs on the Hunk

The lower rolls of the hunk are pure beauty

The lower rolls of the hunk are pure beauty

Loving the final roll on the Hunk

Loving the final roll on the Hunk

Yahoo!

Yahoo!

Heading toward the Heyburner

Heading toward the Heyburner

Lunch break in the 5th lake basin

Lunch break in the 5th lake basin

Chris, cranking turns on the upper north couloir of Heyburn

Chris, cranking turns on the upper north couloir of Heyburn

Snowboard carving out of the Orbit Couloir

Snowboard carving out of the Orbit Couloir

Everett climbing to the darkside on the Bat Cave

Everett climbing to the darkside on the Bat Cave

Jess working his way toward the light in the Bat Cave

Jess working his way toward the light in the Bat Cave

Chris, climbing out of the cave and into the light

Chris, climbing out of the cave and into the light

Climbing out of the Bat Cave

Climbing out of the Bat Cave

Alex, loving the steep exit of the Bat Cave

Alex, loving the steep exit of the Bat Cave

Alex riding toward the light

Alex riding toward the light

Crouching tiger

Crouching tiger

Dawn Patrol out of the Fishhook yurt

Dawn Patrol out of the Fishhook yurt

Our days objective: the Sickle Couloir. One of the many splitter couloirs in the Sawtooth

Our days objective: the Sickle Couloir. One of the many splitter couloirs in the Sawtooth

Everett and Chris loving the steep climb

Everett and Chris loving the steep climb

nearing the top of the Sickle

nearing the top of the Sickle

Chris, opening his wings while making a jump turn on the 50+ degree couloir

Chris, opening his wings while making a jump turn on the 50+ degree couloir

Using an ice axe for security on the firm entrance

Using an ice axe for security on the firm entrance

Everett laying them down mid couloir

Everett laying them down mid couloir

stoked after a stellar couloir

stoked after a stellar couloir

Jun 242014
 
Evening light at the fire pit

Evening light at the fire pit

We are just back from celebrating the Summer Solstice on the point at the new Coyote Yurts. After the Beaver Creek wild fire burned the Coyote Yurts last August, its been quite a journey to bring the Coyote Yurts back to life. This past weekend marked the final (planned) stage in this process! Joe, Niels and Aysha went up a couple days early to finish construction of the outdoor areas including benches and stoop on the deck, picnic table, barbeque, new fire pit and dance floor on the point and a bike corral. It all turned out beautifully. Then it was time for friends and family to converge in this special spot to enjoy the longest day of the year. Biking, hiking, dancing, good food and good times!

Finishing the carpentry projects to get the new yurts ready for summer

Finishing the carpentry projects to get the new yurts ready for summer

Sunset on June 20th, readying for the shortest night of the year

Sunset on June 20th, readying for the shortest night of the year

the new "front stoop" makes for a great seat

the new “front stoop” makes for a great seat

Sunset June 20th

Sunset June 20th

hunter...

hunter…

Kids LOVE the yurt experience!

Kids LOVE the yurt experience!

mmm, smores!

mmm, smores!

Neve trying out the new bow

Neve trying out the new bow

Morning coffee on the deck

Morning coffee on the deck

The deck makes for a comfy hang spot any-time of day.

The deck makes for a comfy hang spot any-time of day.

The comfy new benches and a view forever

The comfy new benches and a view forever

Flowers everywhere!

Flowers everywhere!

Cleaning out the trails for the season

Cleaning out the trails for the season

Fox Peak sure is riding nice!

Fox Peak sure is riding nice!

Can't hold back a smile on these trails!

Can’t hold back a smile on these trails!

The newlyweds on the point.

The newlyweds on the point.

Dance party on the point!

Dance party on the point!

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Wow, what a view!

Wow, what a view!

Scoping the riding

Scoping the riding

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up, up...

up, up…

and away!

and away!

The driving approach to the Coyote Yurts

The driving approach to the Coyote Yurts

Jun 082014
 
A unique and beautiful way to start the ride to Bench Hut

A unique and beautiful way to start the ride to Bench Hut

When the snow melts, we start the process of prepping, repairing and improving the huts. This summer season, hutmeisters: Niels and Aysha are riding from hut-hut working on projects. We cut out the downed timber on the Fishhook Trail, so its is clear and smooth now. The following photos are from a recent trip into the Sawtooth with owner/guide/backcountry carpenter: Joe St.Onge. Sure is pretty out there!

The Arrow Leaf in full bloom

The Arrow Leaf in full bloom

Sweet Sawtooth Single Track

Sweet Sawtooth Single Track

One of the rockiest trails around

One of the rockiest trails around

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yehaw

Taking the corner toward the Fishhook Yurt

Taking the corner toward the Fishhook Yurt

Bike as utility vehicle, Niels riding with the hut repair supply

Bike as utility vehicle, Niels riding with the hut repair supply

Fishhook Creek is raging

Fishhook Creek is raging

ahh, the beautiful Fishhook Hut

ahh, the beautiful Fishhook Hut

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Doesn't get much more buff than this

Doesn’t get much more buff than this

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Apr 182014
 

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We are just back from the annual Sawtooth Woodcuts: 4 days of cutting wood and skiing couloirs. Hard labor and Fun Stuff.

Heading out for a day of skiing couloirs from Fishhook

Heading out for a day of skiing couloirs from Fishhook

the Sickle above Fishhook Yurt

the Sickle above Fishhook Yurt

The Shovel Couloir

The Shovel Couloir

climbing an unnamed couloir

climbing an unnamed couloir

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Still finding dry snow of steep, sheltered upper elevation norths

Still finding dry snow of steep, sheltered upper elevation norths

Toby looking good

Toby looking good

Niels psyched for the Drop

Niels psyched for the Drop

The team

The team

Always great to be out with Irie

Always great to be out with Irie

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stoked intern

stoked intern

Chris leading the way up the Shovel couloir

Chris leading the way up the Shovel couloir

Alisa in the steeps

Alisa in the steeps

getting ready for the next drop

getting ready for the next drop

Trudy

Trudy

Nothing like the granite hallways of the sawtooth

Nothing like the granite hallways of the sawtooth

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Hope turn

Hope turn

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ah, a cold beer and popcorn after a great day of skiing

ah, a cold beer and popcorn after a great day of skiing

making the approach to Bench hut

making the approach to Bench hut

great effort by a tough team

great effort by a tough team

heading home

heading home

Nov 192013
 

We’ve been busy traveling to the different Huts and Yurts to get everything ready for a BIG winter and for you! Below are some images from the past week at the Pioneer Yurt and Coyote Yurts.

The New Coyote yurts!

The New Coyote yurts!

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Goodbye Autumn, Welcome Winter!

Aspens and Snow welcome to Autumn!

Moon-rise above the Pioneer Yurt

Moon-rise above the Pioneer Yurt

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Dumping at Coyote!

Dumping at Coyote!

Oct 162013
 
Rising from the flames, the new Coyote Yurts!

Rising from the flames, the new Coyote Yurts!

We Did It!! Less than two months after the Beaver Creek Fire incinerated the Coyote Yurts, we have built a beautiful new Coyote. Two yurts connected by a covered breezeway, new sauna and outhouse are ready for backcountry travelers.

Just in time for the snow

Just in time for the snow

This situation was extreme. There was the worry and anticipation of a major wild fire burning around three of our huts. The confirmation that Coyote was gone was rough. On our first visit to where the yurts were, the fire was still burning and the shock of the impact of the fire on a place we know and love was heavy. But it was the recognition that it is all OK. These mountains and forest depend on fire. We can rebuild, the skiing will be phenomenal and the burned forest will bloom again soon. It will just take hard work, some money and time.

In a two week push and cold snowy weather broken by spectacular blue sky days we built the new Coyote yurts. This effort truly took a village to realize, and THANK YOU to all who helped!

The new Coyote is a unique and beautiful hut and we hope it is enjoyed by many in the years to come!

Two 20' Pacific Yurts connected by a covered "breezeway"

Two 20′ Pacific Yurts connected by a covered “breezeway”

The tools and the power, thanks  to Goal Zero!

The tools and the power, thanks to Goal Zero!

Laying out the 1st yurt deck

Laying out the 1st yurt deck

Trudy laying the glass

Trudy laying the glass

Thanks Nigel and Will!

Thanks Nigel and Will!

The bros building a redwood outhouse

The bros building a redwood outhouse

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Atlas did not shrug

Atlas did not shrug

and now we do it again...

and now we do it again…

A big THANKS to Jesse and Paris

A big THANKS to Jesse and Paris

project largely powered by Coors and Fords

project largely powered by Coors and Fords

Birthday boy, Joe feeling a bit older

Birthday boy, Joe feeling a bit older

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Pato, the man, the duck, the legend.

Pato, the man, the duck, the legend.

Pato hunting for the next cut

Pato hunting for the next cut

Jesse and JP laying it out

Jesse and JP laying it out

Circular and level

Circular and level

the 1st night at Coyote was fitting to have a big blaze

the 1st night at Coyote was fitting to have a big blaze

Sean, zen and the art of yurt.

Sean, zen and the art of yurt.

The master enjoying the 1st meal at the beautiful table.

The master enjoying the 1st meal at the beautiful table.

The kitchem

The kitchem

Nice

Nice

The breezeway

The breezeway

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mountain guide, builder, pinch hitter and stud.

mountain guide, builder, pinch hitter and stud.

Thank You Bozo for building a beautiful Sauna!

Thank You Bozo for building a beautiful Sauna!

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The kitchen yurt is a spectacular place to be, the window views are awesome!

The kitchen yurt is a spectacular place to be, the window views are awesome!

The new sleeping yurt sleeps as many as 16!

The new sleeping yurt sleeps as many as 16!

The yurts fit nicely in the landscape

The yurts fit nicely in the landscape

The final product

The final product

Sep 202013
 

On August 20th, the Beaver Creek wild fire consumed the Coyote Yurts. This massive wild fire began as a lightening strike on August 7th in a remote drainage on the south west corner of the Smokey Mountains. Over a period of a couple weeks, the Beaver Creek Fire grew and spread to cover over 100,000 acres and directly threatened the town of Hailey on the southern boundary and burned much of Baker Creek on it’s northern edge. The fire basically ringed the outer boundary of the Castle Rock Fire of 2007.

When the fire spread into the East Fork of Baker Creek there was a valiant fire fighting effort to protect both Coyote and Tornak Huts, but despite these efforts Coyote Yurts were completely destroyed. While the fire came relatively close to Tornak Hut, this beloved hut was fortunately spared. In fact, much of the area around Tornak show no sign of fire and is generally as beautiful as it always is. Passing Tornak and entering the top of the East Fork drainage, there is significant signs of fire and much of the north facing timber in this drainage burned hot. The good news is that these burned timber slopes have opened up some amazing new ski lines, some of which are long (1500’+), due north and fall line. For those planning on skiing here this winter, start thinking of run names, because we will have a lot of great new lines to ski and name!

We are rebuilding the Coyote Yurts! We have been working non-stop since we got news of the loss of the yurts to plan, gather materials and start the rebuild. Our goal is to have the new yurts up and ready for the 1st winter snows. Typically, these snow can begin in late October in this zone, so we have limited time to do a lot of work. We have already been on site to clean up the burned debris, take away dangerous trees and recut the 5 cords of winter fire wood (and build a new wood shed). We have built beautiful new bunks, couches and are working on a custom kitchen and large dining table made of rough sawn pine boards. We will build a sauna in town and transport it on site. We have received one slightly used Yurt and have another new one arriving next week. We will be building the decks and yurts the 1st couple weeks of October on site. The end result should be a beautiful array of two yurts connected by a covered deck. We are moving the yurt site a little bit to get it off of the burned ground and let it come back. The views will be stunning from the new yurts and the area in front of the yurts and on the point is unaffected by the fire and is as phenomenally beautiful as it always was.

This is a fairly monumental effort that we are engaged in. We are dedicated to have this well-loved hut back in the hands of the backcountry community for this upcoming winter and future years. But we could use some help! We have set up an “Indiegogo Campaign” to facilitate those that are interested in helping financially. Please check it out and pass this link along to those that may be interested. We are also looking for help in the field with the building. We are planning on building on site October 3-8th and could use some extra hands, especially those with carpentry experience. Please email us if you are interested: info@svtrek.com ¬†And you can also help by booking some nights at the new Coyote Yurts for this upcoming winter or summer¬†and enjoying a awesome new hut with superb skiing and biking!

Thanks to you all for being such a supportive backcountry community!

Joe surveying the damage....

Joe surveying the damage….

What used to be Coyote Yurts

What used to be Coyote Yurts

the old yurts

the old yurts

The Point in front of the Yurts is basically untouched by the fire and will be the focal point of the new Yurts

The Point in front of the Yurts is basically untouched by the fire and will be the focal point of the new Yurts

looking back at the yurts from the fire pit on the point

looking back at the yurts from the fire pit on the point

looking up to the headwaters of Baker Creek

looking up to the headwaters of Baker Creek

The new burn skiing on Little Round Top, next to Coyote Yurts!

The new burn skiing on Little Round Top, next to Coyote Yurts!

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What was left of the kitchen yurt

What was left of the kitchen yurt

New growth beginning!

New growth beginning!

Building the new wood shed, Job # 1

Building the new wood shed, Job # 1

.Looking forward.

.Looking forward.

5 cords cut and a new wood shed done (again...)

5 cords cut and a new wood shed done (again…)

Taking out problem trees.

Taking out problem trees.

The debris from the burned Yurts and sauna

The debris from the burned Yurts and sauna

An example of the top of the East Fork of Baker

An example of the top of the East Fork of Baker

Cleaning up the burnt yurts was Dirty Work

Cleaning up the burnt yurts was Dirty Work

Long dirty days make cold beer taste really good.

Long dirty days make cold beer taste really good.

Sep 062013
 

Ahhh, the new hut at Fishhook is closing in on completion. We are just returning from a few days in the Sawtooth, dodging thunder and lightning storms while working to complete the latest addition to backcountry lodging deep in the beautiful mountains of Central Idaho. Every piece of wood in the new hut (except the door) came from within a 100 yards of the site. Chainsaw carpentry at work. The new hut is a wall tent design, similar to the Bench Hut but 1/2 the size. This hut creates a spacious but cozy layout for gathering a large group to cook, eat and enjoy the views from the 20′ long window gazing up at the highest peaks in the Sawtooth. We kept the old yurt, changing the orientation, giving it some much needed love and turning it into a cozy sleeping hut. We look forward to many a stoked skier gliding into these huts in the coming season!

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Jun 242013
 

We are just back from completing the first phase of a Fishhook Hut renovation. The goal is to give the 33 year old hut a long awaited facelift and create a cozy new cooking, eating and gathering area with a view. The end result will be a new hut (based on the design of the recently built Bench Hut, but 1/2 the size) connected to the renovated old yurt that will become a sleeping hut with bunk space for 12. The old wall tent will be dismantled. As of the end of last week, we completed the framing of the new hut and it looks awesome! The new hut is built with 100% beetle killed lodge pole pine from within a 100 yards of the site. The entire project has been powered by human muscle, chainsaws and goal zero solar power: backcountry carpentry at its best! There was even a sighting of the Grendel…

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Grendel