Jan 012015
 
Phoebe

Phoebe

It’s become a holiday tradition. Gather the friends from near and far for an annual hut trip deep in the Idaho backcountry. Everyone was obviously good little boys and girls, as Santa delivered the treats with epic powder conditions at the Tornak Hut in the Smoky Mountains.

yahoooo

yahoooo

Mike, feeling the float

Mike, feeling the float

fieds of untracked powder

fieds of untracked powder

smiling happy people

smiling happy people

DSC01372

arriving at the Tornak hut

arriving at the Tornak hut

Stoked for the next line

Stoked for the next line

Tornak at night

Tornak at night

what happens at the hut....?

what happens at the hut….?

the facility

the facility

happy hour

happy hour

spoonin fun

spoonin fun

hard not to smile

hard not to smile

freeride

freeride

yeah, that's how it goes!

yeah, that’s how it goes!

getting ready for the 1st run

getting ready for the 1st run

the team

the team

pretty tracks

pretty tracks

DSC01769

tea-time

tea-time

Mike

Mike

Ben2

Ben2

Ben

Ben

Hilary

Hilary

getting ready for the next drop

getting ready for the next drop

DSC01751

Barebreasted basin

Barebreasted basin

What goes up

What goes up

stoked after a nice warm up run

stoked after a nice warm up run

Ben, dropping

Ben, dropping

The boys, looking for trouble

The boys, looking for trouble

Phoebes and the warm-up run

Phoebes and the warm-up run

the girls on the Mighty Tornak Peak

the girls on the Mighty Tornak Peak

DSC01673

what a crew

what a crew

End of day 2, skiing back to the Tornak hut

End of day 2, skiing back to the Tornak hut

post Ben.

post Ben.

Hilary and fields of pow

Hilary and fields of pow

Joe, dropping in

Joe, dropping in

beats a lunch date in the city!

beats a lunch date in the city!

photo bomb

photo bomb

Chris Powder Trail

Chris Powder Trail

Dec 242014
 
SVT Intern, Alisa checking the how the deep the powder skis.

SVT Intern, Alisa checking the how the deep the powder skis.

Tornak Blog 12/21/2104

Tornak hut is alive and well and buried deep in snow! At least it was before we had to shovel it off the afternoon we got there, the next morning, and in the afternoon before we left. After giving the hut some love our first day we summited the Mighty Tornak Peak and relaxed with some Group Therapy skiing. Beacon practice in the early evening and then a nice cozy night in the hut ensued. We awoke to almost a foot and a half of new snow and after breakfast started shoveling off the roof. The problem was that by the time we shoveled one end to the other, there was already new snow accumulated on the side of the roof where we started! To say the least, that days skiing was DEEP! Tornak is looking top notch and ready to be enjoyed, relaxed in, and powder skied out of! 

Enjoy!-The SVT Intern Crew 

Digging deep at Tornak hut to asses stability

Digging deep at Tornak hut to asses stability

Ahh, the mighty Tornak Peak

Ahh, the mighty Tornak Peak

 

 

Dec 082014
 

James, floating by an ancient White Bark Pine

We are just returning from the Sawtooth Huts: Bench and Fishhook where we were conducting the annual intern/apprentice training and orientation as well as opening the huts for the season.  We found excellent early season coverage and snow depths in the Sawtooth, ranging form 50+cm in the valley bottom to over 190cm in the alpine.  The snowpack itself is relatively dense providing a great early season base for both skiing and stability.  Both the Sawtooth Huts are in excellent condition heading into the season and the skiing is great (see pics).  Bench is booked pretty solid starting around the Christmas holiday, but there are still  many free nights available in December and the skiing is on.  So if you want to experience the awesome ski terrain and cozy accommodations at Bench, now is the time to sneak in before it is too late!

190cm at 8800-top of Surprise!

190cm at 88OO’-top of Surprise!

Winter beauty on the way to Fishhook Yurt

Winter beauty on the way to Fishhook Yurt

Fishhook Huts look great and are ready for your enjoyment

Fishhook Huts look great and are ready for your enjoyment

Heyburn looms above the approach to Bench Hut

Heyburn looms above the approach to Bench Hut

Dumping above Bench Hut

Dumping above Bench Hut

Love it when it snows!

Love it when it snows!

The crew above the Gun Barrel

The crew above the Gun Barrel

mmmm.....

mmmm…..

New intern, James, testing the powder above 3rd lake

New intern, James, testing the powder above 3rd lake

Returning apprentice, Alisa, stoked to be back in the Sawtooth

Returning apprentice, Alisa, stoked to be back in the Sawtooth

Coverage into the alpine is good, on the way to Yo Yo Ma

Coverage into the alpine is good, on the way to Yo Yo Ma

A goat in his home

A goat in his home

Returning apprentice, Niels, stoked to be high in the Sawtooth

Returning apprentice, Niels, stoked to be high in the Sawtooth

New intern James, discovering the beauty of his new office.

New intern James, discovering the beauty of his new office.

Alisa squeezing the waning light out of the day.

Alisa squeezing the waning light out of the day.

hard to beat...

hard to beat…

Full moon rising above the Bench Hut

Full moon rising above the Bench Hut

Dec 012014
 
not bad for November!

not bad for November!

The change of seasons is a wonderful time. November is often that “odd” month here in the mountains of Central Idaho, where the foliage is gone, its too cold to hike and ride bikes and there is often only spotty snow that does not allow for “real” skiing. November 2014 has proved to be one of those fun Novembers that distinguished itself. Exceptionally cold and snowy weather has left the high country with periodic coats of powder and has provided a number of great ski days in the backcountry and on the Nordic trails. It seems that we are off to good start for the upcoming winter season!

Hansi Twins doing the vadel

Hansi Twins doing the vadel

Avalanche Peak and the evidence of many happy skiers

Avalanche Peak and the evidence of many happy skiers

easy slider

easy slider

The alpine has received some high winds and lots of snow transport over the past few weeks

The alpine has received some high winds and lots of snow transport over the past few weeks

A happy skier!

A happy skier!

Powder!

Powder!

Ahh, that's what we like!

Ahh, that’s what we like!

Keeping an eye on the persistent weak layers

Keeping an eye on the persistent weak layers

November 14, 2014 faceshots

November 14, 2014 faceshots

Nov 142014
 
November 14, 2014 faceshots

November 14, 2014 faceshots

It’s official, we have begun the ski season! The recent storms have brought over a foot of new snow to the high country here in the mountains of Central Idaho. Depending on the geographic area, aspect and elevation, this snow fell on either dry ground or older snow. The upper elevations in the mountains around the headwaters of the Salmon and Wood River Valleys had a preexisting snow pack made up of facets and crusts and there are stability concerns in many of these spots with the new load. Please check the latest Avalanche Report for a more detailed description.

SVT Guides, Joe and Francie St.Onge went out around Galena Summit for a short tour to check conditions and found some fun turns, even with the thin coverage. Careful out there! Some of these pics make it look like mid-winter, but generally the conditions are classic early season. So keep the snow dances going, burn a ski or two and praise ULLR to bring us more turns like these!

Fun powder skiing in thin snow (notice the sagebrush)

Fun powder skiing in thin snow (notice the sagebrush)

 

Happy Girl!

Happy Girl!

 

Thin early season conditions make meadow skipping a good choice

Thin early season conditions make meadow skipping a good choice

65 cm snowpack with 40cm of new snow sitting on a supportable crust.

65 cm snowpack with 40cm of new snow sitting on a supportable crust.

Powder Cloud

Powder Cloud

IMG_0054

Funneling faceshots will make you smile!

Funneling faceshots will make you smile!

Oct 202014
 
Francie riding up to the Pioneer Yurt

Francie riding up to the Pioneer Yurt

It’s the time of year when we cycle through the 6 huts in 3 different mountain ranges to get each hut ready for winter. We can remember many years when we were doing these annual chores in freezing temps and blizzards, but not this year. We have been blessed with one of the prettiest autumns we can remember here in Idaho. Perfect Indian Summer has persisted for over a month now with amazing foliage, crystal clear sunshine and generally stunning days. Much of the work we do this time of year requires access on bikes or foot. The current conditions have produced perfect melt/freeze conditions on the trails and some of the best biking of the year. Enjoy the pics from the various mountain ranges and huts and start getting stoked for the upcoming season!

Autumn tunnel

Autumn tunnel

Crossing the meadow to the Pio Yurt

Crossing the meadow to the Pio Yurt

Pioneer Yurt enjoying the Indian Summer Sun

Pioneer Yurt enjoying the Indian Summer Sun

ah, the peaks of the Pioneer Range

ah, the peaks of the Pioneer Range

The Bench Hut, waiting for a deep Sawtooth winter

The Bench Hut, waiting for a deep Sawtooth winter

Lakeview on the approach to Bench Hut

Lakeview on the approach to Bench Hut

Toby, giving little love to the hand-hewn table at Fishhook Yurt

Toby, giving little love to the hand-hewn table at Fishhook Yurt

The new Fishhook hut looks beautiful

The new Fishhook hut looks beautiful

ah, the Sawtooth from Fishhook Meadows!

ah, the Sawtooth from Fishhook Meadows!

Getting the wood in at Boulder Yurts

Getting the wood in at Boulder Yurts

Tornak Hut, ready for snow.

Tornak Hut, ready for snow.

Coyote, still an awesome destination for mountain biking

Coyote, still an awesome destination for mountain biking

Buff single track leaving the Coyote Yurts

Buff single track leaving the Coyote Yurts

The final descent back to the valley from Coyote Yurts

The final descent back to the valley from Coyote Yurts

NOW LET IT SNOW!

Sep 172014
 

A beautiful ridge walk toward Old Hyndman

We have just returned from a couple of days in the Pioneers. The goal of the trip was to get the yurt ready for the oncoming winter season and to climb a new route on Old Hyndman. For years, SVT guide Joe St.Onge, has been dreaming on climbing a route along the skyline of Old Hyndman Peak. Old Hyndman rises like the Matterhorn with steep rock walls guarding the summit. There are a couple standard routes to the summit, but we were unaware of anyone having climbed the steep NW ridge. Having spied this part of the mountain on many ski tours over the years, the time seemed right when local ER doc, Terry, called Joe with the goal of climbing Old Hyndman. A great adventure climb was had and success in exploring a new line to the summit of this iconic peak. Terry suggested calling the route “Old Goat” or “OG” to honor the bearded old goat we wandered by on the approach. Enjoy the pics and the mountains!

approaching the Pioneer Yurt

approaching the Pioneer Yurt

Cobb Peak and the upper Hyndman Basin

Cobb Peak and the upper Hyndman Basin

The line on Old Hyndman roughly follows the left skyline

The line on Old Hyndman roughly follows the left skyline

ah, alpine views!

ah, alpine views!

Peering down the big drop toward Wildhorse

Peering down the big drop toward Wildhorse

Beginning the rock section with some 4th class climbing

Beginning the rock section with some 4th class climbing

Approaching the business

Approaching the business

transitioning to 5th class climbing and belays

transitioning to 5th class climbing and belays

snack break mid route on spacious ledges

snack break mid route on spacious ledges

Mid-route looking toward the summit

Mid-route looking toward the summit

solid climbing on somewhat solid rock

solid climbing on somewhat solid rock

Terri and Joe, stoked.

Terri and Joe, stoked.

Wow, the view from the summit of Old Hyndman!

Wow, the view from the summit of Old Hyndman!

Joe on the summit

Joe on the summit

Beginning the descent, the Triple Crown connects the ridgeline with Cobb in the distance

Beginning the descent, the Triple Crown connects the ridgeline with Cobb in the distance

After extensive down climbing, we made 3 rappels to get back to the basin

After extensive down climbing, we made 3 rappels to get back to the basin

Enjoying the view back up toward a beautiful mountain skyline

Enjoying the view back up toward a beautiful mountain skyline

The Pioneer Yurt ready to opened for the approaching winter

The Pioneer Yurt ready to opened for the approaching winter

Rambling back toward the village in autumn beauty

Rambling back toward the village in autumn beauty

Jul 212014
 

With an insatiable thirst for single track, beer and good-times, the Men of the North descended upon the Smokey Mountains of Idaho last week. The Coyote Yurts survived the onslaught, but many miles of trail were sacrificed to these brutes form the north country.

Stoked for day 2 ride (24 miles down 5400')

Stoked for day 2 ride (24 miles down 5400′)

IMG_1597

putting the barby to the test

putting the barby to the test

svt motn -1040021

Bob wondering if its worth getting your name on a table

Bob wondering if its worth getting your name on a table

carve

carve

yehaw!

yehaw!

riding into the front country

riding into the front country

taking a break on the long descent Fox Peak

taking a break on the long descent Fox Peak

Day 3, starting the 4000' descent on Fox Peak

Day 3, starting the 4000′ descent on Fox Peak

nothing like tired legs, a full belly, a campfire fire, and a view

nothing like tired legs, a full belly, a campfire fire, and a view

the pink shuttle day 2

the pink shuttle day 2

Aysha and yucca

Aysha and yucca

IMG_1492

purple mountains

purple mountains

river ride

river ride

hummer home

hummer home

and on it goes...

and on it goes…

Single track the goes to the horizons

Single track that goes to the horizons

the window seat at Coyote

the window seat at Coyote

the steeds corralled for the night

the steeds corralled for the night

The point

The point

starting the 2000' downhill on "Edge of the World"

starting the 2000′ downhill on “Edge of the World”

tasty

tasty

nothing like riding 24 miles and climbing over 4000' to generate an appetite

nothing like riding 24 miles and climbing over 4000′ to generate an appetite

smoking carne asada

smoking carne asada

the Men of the North ready to storm the mountain

the Men of the North ready to storm the mountain

Chris, stoked mid ride

Chris, stoked mid ride

bank turns

bank turns

9pm sunset on the point

9pm sunset on the point

svt motn -1040183 svt motn -1040157

Aysha tests the yucca

Aysha tests the yucca

and around it goes..

and around it goes..

and goes..

and goes..

and the party gets wild

and the party gets wild

Joe gets his hand at shaking the yucca

Joe gets his hand at shaking the yucca

Shaking the yucca #2

Shaking the yucca #2

svt motn -1040104

shaking the yucca

shaking the yucca

Boulders and beers

Boulders and beers

nothing like a cold beer after a long ride to bring on a smile

nothing like a cold beer after a long ride to bring on a smile

good morning sunrise at Coyote Yurts

good morning sunrise at Coyote Yurts

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!

IMG_1058

Wow, what a view!

Wow, what a view!

Scoping the riding

Scoping the riding

IMG_1119

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

yehaw

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

IMG_0825

Doesn't get much more buff than this

Doesn’t get much more buff than this

IMG_0831

IMG_0840