Hut trip aficionado Joy Martin shares tips and tricks of the trade that will have you comfy, cozy and rocking’ out in style.

Sometimes, the down time is often just as good as the rest of it.Jason Bushey

So you have a good planner in your group and nailed the hut-trip lottery. Congratulations. The approach to an idyllic backcountry hut can be a slog, especially if you’ve never had weight on your back navigating an icy skin track. Whether you’re skinning thousands of vertical feet or sledding in a few miles, your hut trip will be a guaranteed success with these essential and not-so-essential tools.


Once you’ve reserved your hut, review the what’s- included list. Most huts have kitchen equipment and toilet paper setup for you. Trust the system, and save that weight for the fun stuff.


The absolute bare essentials for a hut trip include your avy gear (beacon, shovel, probe), skis, boots, skins, poles, extra batteries, headlamp, sleeping bag and/or liner, lighter or matches, a water bottle and two-way radios for larger groups. Bring your own maps, along with any other ski beta you might need for exploring the surrounding terrain.


Split your group into cooking teams. Make note of any dietary restrictions, and then have a blast planning Mexican fiesta dinners, pancake breakfasts and mac ‘n’ cheese nights. Put your most confident bakers on baked goods duty so you have an endless supply of cookies and muffins. Don’t forget the hot sauce, pure maple syrup and Starburst Jelly Beans.


Double-check that at least one person is in charge of coffee. From there, you’ll want Irish cream liqueur and Schnapps, tequila and ginger beer for après mules and boxed wine for dinner. Beer takes up a lot of space, use that valuable space for smart decisions, like more whiskey.


While the sound of howling wind and flakes hitting old window panes is nice, there’s nothing like a little hip- hop to kick off a party or morning tunes to sip coffee to while everyone suits up for the day. Bring one or two Bluetooth speakers, USB chords or auxiliary cables, plugs for the wall or a solar charger for those more primitive setups.


Down booties, slippers or other lightweight cabin shoes are awesome for those quick dashes to the outhouse. Bring comfy pants, a hoodie or T-shirt for cozier sleeping, and don’t forget an extra pair of socks to slip into while your ski socks dry out. Earplugs take up minimal space, so pack extra; You’ll be the hero for someone who forgot theirs.

A hut trip group approaching the Eiseman Hut near Vail in Colorado’s Gore Range. Jason Bushey

Donuts. Whipped cream. A Whirley Pop for stovetop popcorn. Truffle salt. A Thanksgiving turkey. If kiddos are coming along, bring sweetened condensed milk or cocoa powder to make snow milkshakes. Twinkly lights, candles, a disco ball. A BB gun. Wigs, onesies, lipstick. You know what makes your tribe happy. Bring a wow factor they’ll be talking about for years to come. Make sure you have at least a 40-liter pack that fits comfortably. Take it easy. Enjoy the journey. The hut’s not going anywhere, and we promise you’ll be grateful you packed that tutu and extra slab of bacon.


There’s a 90-percent chance you’ll find a worn deck of cards tucked into the shelf with those Harlequin romance and Ed Abbey novels, but just in case, bring a deck, along with any other easy-to-transport group games.