My first backcountry skiing trip to the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho was about ten years ago with Mark Holbrook. We went in to the top/back end of the range via a trailhead outside of Stanley and my main memory of the trip was that it was really cold, but had excellent skiing. I vowed to come back, but until last week, never did.
It was good the first time, but this time, heading into the range with locals, a short approach, a nice yurt and warm weather was even better. We stayed at the Bench Hut which is one of many operated by Sun Valley Trekking and has excellent access to some good ski mountaineering objectives. When checking out a potential yurt trip, I’m always leery of what I call “The Curse of the Yurt” which is that yurts are often put in places with mellow skiing, either because that is what people want, or the yurt owners don’t want their lodgings associated with carnage and avalanche accidents. The Bench Hut is not afflicted with The Curse and has plenty of steep skiing potential, as well as some mellow tree skiing. Utards are fond of the Teton yurts, but for an extra hour or so of driving, the Sawtooths offer way more potential and a nice change of pace – highly recommended.
Category: Trip Reports