FAQs FOR WINTER
*What is your canceling/rescheduling policy?
Please understand we are a small business with a limited season for operating, therefore cancellations affect us greatly and we must adhere to our cancellation policy. We suggest you consider carrying a policy with a travel insurance company to insure your trip.
- Cancellation-No Snow: “No snow means no snow for touring. If we can tour, but can’t make powder turns, we still consider that we have snow. If there truly is no snow, then we’ll give you a full refund, less a 15% service fee on the deposit.
- Cancellation- Foul Weather/Avalanche Hazard: We do not guarantee the weather; therefore there is no refund because of foul weather, poor snow conditions, or avalanche hazard. There are avalanche hazard-free routes into the huts and safe ski terrain around all the huts. A rental party has the option of hiring an SVT guide to show the party safe routes of travel.
- The 50% deposit on the hut rental reservation is nonrefundable. The balance is due 30 days prior to trip departure. Payments can be made with any major credit card. If we have already collected the balance and you cancel with more than 30 days’ notice, you will receive a Full Refund, less the deposit.
- If you cancel between 30 days and 2 weeks, we refund half the balance, not the deposit.
- If you cancel less than 2 weeks before your trip, no refund. (This includes cancellation due to sickness or emergency)
- We understand things come up and want to work with you and make sure you can get out to the huts. The deposit is nonrefundable, but is transferable. If you cancel with more than 30 days’ notice, your 50% deposit may be used for another trip in the same season, weekdays only.
- Cancelling a Day Tour: We require payment in full to secure a reservation. If guest cancels within 48 hours then we retain $200/guide fee. If guest cancels outside of 48 hours then a $50 processing fee is retained only and the balance refunded.
*What amenities are at the huts?
The cozy huts are all equipped with wood stoves, pre-cut firewood, a sauna or hot tub, a complete kitchen, propane cooking unit and propane, bunk beds with sleeping pads, Coleman lanterns, games, magazines, toilet paper, paper towels, all cleaning supplies and covered toilets. The renter is responsible for bringing food, personal gear, sleeping bag, and avalanche gear. We provide a list of ski runs and maps in our information binder at each of the huts.
*Do the yurts/huts have hot tubs or saunas?
Yes! Bench Hut, Boulder, Tornak, Coyote and Pioneer Yurts all have wood fired saunas.
Fishhook Yurt has a wood fired hot tub.
*Can I take my dog to the hut?
We do love dogs but unfortunately cannot allow them at our huts and yurts in the winter. Our method of drinking water is melting snow and dogs tend to, you know, leave their mark around the hut, which creates a very unsanitary situation!!!
Plus, we do not want to disturb the wintering wildlife around the huts and yurts.
In the summer time, we do allow dogs at the Coyote Yurt because there isn’t an issue with contaminating the drinking water. We just ask that guests who do so be courteous to future renters by picking up after their dogs.
*What is the check in/out time?
The check in/out time is 12:00 noon. We ask that you do not arrive before noon and that you are packed up, cleaned up, and have followed the check-out procedures posted at the yurt on the day of your departure. We do maintain the yurts all winter, but it is up to the renters to leave the yurts in the condition they would like to find them.
*Are the routes to the huts marked or maintained?
No, routes are not maintained or marked. Map and compass skills are essential. You can buy detailed topographic maps at local mountain shops, Backwoods Mountain Sports and The Elephants Perch, both in Ketchum, or the SNRA north of town. Please keep in mind that even shorter trips with minimal elevation gains can become very challenging in whiteout conditions or if you have to break trail through fresh snow.
*Can/should/do I have to hire a guide?
If you or anyone else in your party has NOT been into the particular hut/yurt before, a Hut Rent Guide is required. The guide will lead you and your group safely and efficiently in to the hut and then provide you with a yurt orientation to familiarize you with the ins and outs of yurt life. They will also provide your group with valuable knowledge on current snowpack and stability. They can also point out ski touring options and where the best snow may be during your stay. All of our guides are great knowledge resources and great companions whom you will not regret having along.
*Is it customary to tip my guide? What would be the appropriate amount?
As Mountain Guiding is part of the service industry, where guides work hard to meet your personal goals and objectives, it is customary to tip your guide if you are happy with their service. Gratuities are not required and should reflect a level of excellence in the guiding service. If you choose to tip, 10-20% of the total fee is standard, similar to other services like eating out at restaurant. If you are member of a group, you may choose to pool tips with other group members or tip individually. Gratuities are best paid in cash (not credit card). If you are working with a guide team, gratuities are given to the Lead Guide, with instruction if the gratuity is intended to be shared.
*How long does it take to ski into a hut? Snowshoe?
Travel times will vary depending on fitness, group ability, and weather/snow conditions. A general rule of thumb is to estimate one mile per hour and an additional hour for every thousand feet of vertical gain. On clear days when a trail is set, most groups will travel faster, but in low visibility or if there is no set trail, it can take longer. Below are some estimates for travel time to each hut:
- Fishhook Hut 3-5 hours
- Bench Hut 3-5 hours
- Boulder Hut ½ -2 hours
- Tornak Hut 3-5 hours
- Coyote Yurt 4-7 hours
- Pioneer Yurt 3-6 hours
*What do we do for water?
Winter hut users will find large pots at the huts for melting snow. Put water from a water bottle in the stainless steel pot and slowly add snow until you have accumulated some water volume. Filling the pot with dry snow will result in scorching the metal pot and a certain “burnt” taste to your water. If you consistently add snow to the pot, you can make plenty of water for drinking, cooking, and washing dishes.
*Will my cell phone work at the huts?
A cell phone could be extremely helpful in the event of an emergency, but cannot be relied upon. Cell communication is very limited, it may be available near the following huts; Tornak, Coyote, Bench and Pioneer.
*Are snowmobiles allowed to access the huts?
It is possible to use a snowmobile on the approach to Tornak, Coyote, and Pioneer, but it is not possible to take your machine to the front door of any of our yurts.
- Tornak: please park your snowmobile on the road 100 yards uphill from the Yurt. It is important to us to keep the area around the yurt pristine and discreet.
- Coyote: we suggest you park your snowmobile just past the gate on the East Fork of Baker Creek road at an obvious pullout away from avalanche terrain. You then hit the skin track, carrying your gear for 2 miles and 1800’ elevation gain to the yurt. The snowmobile tow in reduces your approach time by at least 2 hours.
- Pioneer: snowmobiles are allowed within 1000 feet of the yurt up until March 15th, after that the area is open to snowmobiles and you can actually snowmobile right up to the yurt, keep in mind that it is in mountainous terrain.
- Boulder: is in a non-motorized area, so no snowmobiles.
- Bench and Fishhook: located in a non-motorized region, but it is possible to snowmobile the 2 miles up Redfish Lake Road to get a little closer, but is a fairly easy ski in.
For those planning to take your own snowmobile on the approach, please keep in mind that the yurts are in very remote, backcountry locations and some travel through avalanche terrain. Additionally, the goal is to have a quiet, non-motorized backcountry experience, so please be courteous of fellow backcountry enthusiasts.
*Can I use a sled to pull the heavy stuff into the huts?
Sleds work great for Boulder, Fishhook and Bench, but are more difficult getting into Pioneer, due to distance and elevation gain. We do not recommend sled use for access to Tornak Hut and Coyote Yurt, the routes are too steep.
*Can I go to a hut in the summer?
Yes. We do keep two yurts open in the summer. Coyote Yurt located in the beautiful Smokey Mountains is perfect for hiking or mountain-biking and Pioneer Yurt in the Pioneers ideal for ascending nearby peaks, alpine climbing, and hiking.
*How do I make a hut reservation?
To make a reservation visit our website, click on your desired adventure and visit the ‘BOOK NOW’ button. You may also give us a call in the office at 208-788-1966 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will collect a non-refundable deposit of 50% of the total trip cost to hold your dates. We accept all major credit cards, checks or cash.
- On weekends (Fri/Sat nights and holidays) a Private reservation is required and the minimum cost is $360/night which covers up to 8 people. Each additional person is $45/night.
- Sunday-Thursday nights the minimum is $180 which covers up to 4 people. Each additional person is $45/night. If you would like to reserve the yurt Privately on a Sun-Thurs night, to ensure that no other party will join you, the minimum is $360/night.
- Please remember to attach an additional 6% to your total for Idaho sales tax and 3% for USFS tax.
*How do I sign-up for an Avalanche Education Courses and other guided expeditions?
Either call us or check out the trip pages for dates and cost of the programs. To make a reservation we will need a non-refundable deposit of 50% of the total trip cost. Upon receipt of the deposit we will send you a confirmation email with an equipment checklist and online client questionnaire and waivers to be filled out. After you have looked over the equipment checklist please let us know if you will need to rent any gear. You can check out our Avalanche Education courses here.