Our Hut System Partners

The Hut System is made possible by partnerships with other non-profit hut organizations and private parties that own and operate the huts. These partners give their time, energy and resources to fund, build and maintain these huts which provide unparalleled opportunities for people to connect with one another, with the natural environment, and recreate in Colorado’s backcountry. These nonprofit organizations include the Alfred A. Braun Hut System, Friends Hut, Grand Huts Association, and Summit Huts Association.





To sustain and protect a system of small, intimate huts for public use within the fragile, timberline environment centered in the upper Castle Creek Valley.


The Alfred Braun System is the oldest system of backcountry ski huts in Colorado. Since the construction of the Lindley in 1960, the Braun Huts have provided backcountry skiers with warmth and access to the Elk Mountains. When interest in skiing developed in Aspen, skiers and mountaineers were attracted to the dramatic alpine terrain in the Castle Creek Valley. The idea for a hut system that would enhance public winter access started with Stuart Mace, Isabel Mace, and John Holden. They–with the support of memorial donations and many volunteers–built three of the original huts: Lindley in 1960, Tagert in 1963, and Markley in 1965. Fred Braun added three more huts to the system: Barnard in 1967, Goodwin-Greene in 1976, and Green Wilson in 1978.

The Alfred A. Braun Hut System Inc. formed as a non-profit in 1997 and in short order five of the original huts were renovated, the new Markley Hut was built in 2003, and in 2012 the new Opa’s Taylor Hut was built.



The Friends’ Hut is in memory of ten victims of a head-on collision of two small planes over East Maroon Pass in 1980 that shocked the citizens of Crested Butte and Aspen. Their deaths reached deeply into both communities and inspired this lasting tribute in the form of the Friends’ Hut, a remote, high mountain refuge linking the two towns in a spirit of friendship and common love for the mountains. The hut was designed by two local architects and built in 1984 by scores of committed friends who volunteered endless hours and funds. All regular maintenance continues to be accomplished only with volunteers.




The Grand Huts Association is a non-profit organization working to enhance backcountry recreational cabin facilities in the forests of Grand County. Grand Huts Association will work to open to public use cabins already in existence on public and private lands and to build new structures where appropriate to assist in managing intense use of fragile ecosystems.


Grand Huts Association (GHA) is a Colorado nonprofit corporation organized with the long term vision of linking the Grand County backcountry with a system of eco-friendly huts that can be used year-round for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, biking and other non-motorized outdoor pursuits by diverse populations. GHA will promote outdoor education by providing a venue for teaching safety, ecology, wise use and enjoyment of wilderness and national forest lands.


In 2006 a group of local Fraser Valley back-country enthusiasts recognized the importance of the condemned Second Creek Cabin and formed Grand Huts Association, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt, nonprofit organization to support the development of back-country huts in Grand County, Colorado. Our diverse Board of Directors and the advisors include long time Grand County residents as well as newcomers, local business owners, professionals, skiers, snowshoers and hikers.




Summit Huts Association provides a backcountry refuge for self-propelled mountain recreational users and provides a unique venue in spectacular natural settings for community, charitable and educational programs.


Founded in 1987, Summit Huts Association is a Colorado 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to developing and maintaining a system of backcountry cabins accessed by non-motorized trails in Summit County, Colorado.

Summit Huts currently owns and/or operates five backcountry huts under special use permits from the Forest Service and United States Department of Agriculture in the White River and Pike-San Isabel National Forests. The Summit Huts Association is responsible for the construction, maintenance, and supply of their hut system.

The first hut in the Summit Huts system was Janet’s Cabin, which opened to backcountry enthusiasts in 1991. Four years later, in 1995, Francie’s Cabin welcomed its first guests. Ken’s Cabin and the Section House joined the Summit Huts system in 1997.

In 2015, Summit Huts Association received approvals to begin construction on the fifth hut, Sisters Cabin. Construction on Sisters Cabin took place in 2018 and it opened for its inaugural season on January 12, 2019 in Weber Gulch on the northeast side of Bald Mountain, just outside of Breckenridge.




To provide year round, transformative,  outdoor experiences on the edge of the Holy Cross Wilderness that can inspire lifelong conservationists.


The Polar Star Inn was built in 1987 by John Sepiel, the third hut in the 10th.  John went on to build 5 additional huts for the 10th Mountain System, and his 7th, the Seipel Hut was finished in 1993. For a 25 minute documentary about John Seipel’s legacy: https://youtu.be/fQ8vVeXJ0Cs.


Shrine Mountain Inn is located on 80 acres of private land surrounded by National Forest. Why this parcel of private land on Shrine Pass exists is not clear. The land was neither a homestead nor a mining claim, but instead, was purchased for cash by the Roosevelt administration in 1904, the year the White River National Forest was formed. Such a transaction was a rare occurrence. Legend has it that President Roosevelt may have set the land aside as a private hunting camp or as a political favor to someone in Washington. Some have speculated that the land was to be used as a destination for pilgrims coming to view the Mount of the Holy Cross, or perhaps as part of the old mine site northwest of the property.

Vail resident Jay Utter purchased the land in 1960 by paying the back taxes, and had many hopes and dreams for the property. Had he lived, we like to think he would be proud of Jay’s Cabin and the completion of Shrine Mountain Inn. Jay’s good friend, Chuck Anderson, is also remembered by “Chuck’s Place,” which was built in his memory. Walter’s Cabin is named for another long-time Vail local, Walter Kirsch. All three loved these mountains, and Jay and Chuck are buried on the property in the Shrine Mountain Cemetery.

Construction of Jay’s Cabin began in the summer of 1987 and the ground was broken for Chuck’s Cabin the following year. The newest of the three, Walter’s Cabin, was built in 1997. All cabins were constructed from logs timbered near Eagle and from the Flat Tops north of Glenwood Springs.

COMING SOON…Updates on our other privately owned huts: Continental Divide and Point Breeze Cabins, Emmelyn Hut, High Lonesome Hut and Vance’s Cabin.

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