Tagert Hut, tucked away deep in the backcountry of the Elk Mountains, just outside of Aspen, Colorado, exceeded the unbelievably high standards I had held for my first hut ski trip. From picturesque panoramic views of massive snow capped peaks that surrounded the hut, to the cosy, efficient cabin architecture within the hut. So when my 4 buddies and I skied the 5 miles up Pearl Pass road to the hut, we were ready for a trip of a lifetime.
Named for Billy Tagert, an Aspen pioneer and teamster who hauled supplies to mining camps in the Elk Range, this hut sits at the foot of rugged Pearl Basin and was the first popular ski hut destination in the Elk Range. Getting to this quaint little A-frame cabin is no easy feat. Most skiers start in the town of Ashcroft at 9,498′ feet of elevation, then head up the snow covered road for 5 miles, up through the valley of Pearl Basin, climbing 1,800ft to the hut. And with a loaded pack, filled with gear, meats, cheeses, and wine, this approach proved to be tougher than expected, but totally worth it.
This hut can sleep a total of 7 guests. The arrangements are as follows. 1 double and one single bed on the first floor, then you climb upstairs to the 4 sleeping mats. Each beds’ “mattress” is the same, a 3″ thick all purpose mattress that isn’t the most comfortable sleeping arrangment in the world. But after a day of skiing, these will feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud. And as for heat, which I’ll talk about later in this post, the closer you are to the wood burning stove, the hotter your sleep will be. But after a day of running the stove, the entire cabin will be incredibly warm and there’s no cold place at all in the hut.
Pro-tip: Score a spot upstairs so that you can go to bed whenever you want to, regardless if the group is still partying away. Similarly, you can sleep in as long as you want since you won’t be woken up by people moving around downstairs.
Kitchen & Wood Burning Stove
Admittedly, I really don’t know my way around a kitchen, but I know enough to see this kitchen had everything you’d need. A two basin sink for cleaning dishes (no running water obviously), a two burner propane stove, all the pots and pans you could ever need, dish-ware that included plates, cups, bowls, and cutlery, cleaning supplies, and all the necessary spices to make your favorite meals. Our meals ranged from bacon and breakfast burritos, to raviolis and beef stroganoff.
The hut also has a wood burning stove, which is now my favorite item of the whole hut. Once you get the wood going (by keeping the door shut), this stove will reach temperatures of 400-500F. By night two of our trip, it got too hot, and we had to keep a door cracked to let in the zero degree outside air. That’s how efficient this wood burning stove is. Tandem with the stove is a large pot with a valved spout that is used to melt snow into water. We recommend you boil it after it is melted, but at some point if you keep it on the stove long enough, the water in the pot will boil anyway. We used this water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning.
Outhouse & Wood Cutting
When it comes time to do your business, this hut has an outhouse located off an elevated walkway in the back of the hut. I won’t go into the details of the outhouse, but it’s got a toilet, and that’s all you need.
To chop wood for the wood burning stove, underneath the hut there is a place to chop what seems like an endless supply. But after spending two nights there, we only went through maybe two bundles of wood. So you don’t have to worry about chopping wood you entire trip to stay warm.
Lastly, the amenities of the hut. Here, you’ll see that the hut has a plethora of crocs provided for the guests. These were a life savor, being able to wear them around the hut, inside and out, rather than having to put my ski boots back on or hike my own slippers into the hut with me.
Additionally, they have a shelf of books, puzzles, dice, games, and playing cards. These kept us busy into the late hours every night. We played card game after card game every day, and read some of the Colorado-centric books while waiting for dinner to be ready.
And lastly, there are endless places to hang gear around the hut from the nails in the framework of the hut. This isn’t the Ritz-Carlton, so space is limited and you and your gear will be hanging out around the hut with everyone else’s.
This place is amazing, and I can almost but guarantee that all of the 10th Mountain Huts are a similar state of excellence. If you get the opportunity to book a hut in Colorado, especially the Tagert hut, do it! Just remember to follow the rules of the cabin, clean up after yourself, pack-in/pack-out everything, and leave it better than you found it. Ski safe everyone!
My name is Zachary Kenney and I’m an adventure filmmaker & photographer. My passion is to tell stories that will hopefully motivate you to go live a more adventurous life. Whether that is to experience the view from the summit of a mountain, or wandering through a new town on a road trip. Currently based out of Park City, UT.