Hut-to-Hut Skiing in the Shadow of Mount Rainier
|Copper Creek Hut|
Daytrippers flock to the North District's relatively easy trails, while overnight guests frequent its single, roomy hut most often. One main road slices through gentle, clear-cut hills, revealing terrain best for advanced beginner and intermediate skiers. Five miles of groomed and 30 miles of ungroomed trails fill the North District. The undulating, wide-open hillsides make this area easy to navigate and ideal for telemarkers seeking to perfect their turns. On clear days, skiers almost never lose sight of Rainier.
How to get there:
Travel east on SR 706 toward Ashford. At milepost 6 look for a brown 92 Road Access sign. Pass this sign and make a left directly across from the white Mount Rainier Lions building onto Stoner Road (unmarked). Follow signs pointing toward the ski trail or the 92 Road Snow Park. The first Snow Park is at about Mile 5. The road dead-ends into the final Snow Park at Mile 6.
Copper Creek Hut, elevation 4,200 feet
Skiing to the hut: Beginner and intermediate skiers enjoy this trail most. It begins with a steep, narrow 50-foot section. New skiers may want to walk up and down this slope without skis. After that tough start, the trail winds through western hemlock and over flat patches and mild slopes. At three miles, turn right at the sign pointing toward the Champion Trail. The last couple hundred feet include a steeper, exposed segment with a valley view. The one-way distance is 3.5 miles, with an elevation gain of 1,000 feet.
The hut: Copper Creek is the largest hut, with sleeping berths for 12 people. Its easy access makes it the most popular hut—used by 50 percent of the trail system's visitors. Hang out on the couch, crack open a board game, or check out Rainier from the deck.
Skiing near the hut: Nearby hills provide good practice runs for telemark skiers. Groomed and ungroomed logging roads make this one of the system's better areas for trail touring.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication