Hut-to-Hut Skiing in the Shadow of Mount Rainier
Snow Bowl, elevation 4,250 feet
Skiing to the hut: The trail's first two miles are wide, manageable slopes. Skiers may want to use skins to climb the steep hill in the third mile. At the top of the hill, the trail flattens out for a relaxing glide to the hut. Expect to ski three miles one-way and gain about 2,000 feet in elevation.
The hut: Snow Bowl has couches, the largest deck, a brick barbecue pit, and views of a valley and Mount Rainier. Eight people can stay here overnight.
Skiing near the hut: Telemark skiers zero in on the nearby 60-acre bowl for which the hut was named. The bowl drops about 600 vertical feet. Cross-country touring is limited to the incoming route.
The Yurt, elevation 4,100 feet
Skiing to the hut: The Yurt is two miles beyond Snow Bowl and requires the longest ski-in. Past Snow Bowl, the trail rollercoasters, dropping for a mile (snowplowing works) and then rising the final mile. The trail is five miles one-way, with an elevation gain of 3,000 feet.
The hut: Solitude-minded skiers prefer the yurt for its remote location. Sheltered in a bowl between hills and trees, the yurt offers peek-a-boo views of Mount Rainier. Constructed with canvas and insulation wrapped around a wood frame, it comes with a table and chairs. Tibetan prayer flags flutter over the front door. Six guests eat, sleep, and hang out in the one big, round room.
Skiing near the hut: Several flat areas and ungroomed trails make this the best place for trail touring and backcountry skiing. When there's enough snow to cover the stumps, adjacent logged hills provide good telemark skiing.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication