Originally published in the Winter + Spring 2019 issue.
After more than a decade of planning, Summit Huts Association (SHA) is opening Sisters Cabin this winter. Outside of Breckenridge, it’s the fifth backcountry hut in the Summit Huts system and will be located in Weber Gulch on the northern flank of Bald Mountain (a.k.a. Baldy), at an elevation of 11,445 feet. Operating under a special use permit from the U.S. Forest Service, it is the first new hut to be approved on public land in Summit County in 22 years.
Sisters Cabin will be a winter-only hut, open to guests from the third week of November through the end of April. The 2,090-square-foot hut will offer state-of-the-art design and green-building techniques to minimize its environmental impact and offer users an experience similar to those they have come to expect at SHA’s flagship huts, Janet’s Cabin and Francie’s Cabin.
The hut will be build using structural insulated panels (SIP) as well as a Douglas fir timber frame. All materials will be flown in by helicopter due to the remote site.
“What we’re trying to do is make a hut that has all the traditional appeal and comfort and coziness of Francie’s and Janet’s, but with cutting-edge technology,” said Robbie Dickson, Breckenridge architect, former Summit Huts president and principal of Equinox Architecture LLC.
Among its features, the Sisters Cabin will accommodate 14 guests with beds for two more in the hutmaster quarters. It will be heated by a wood stove in the main living area and passive solar energy via large south- and west-facing windows, with electricity drawn from a solar array outside the hut. Two bathrooms within the hut will feed a composting toilet below, similar to those at Janet’s and Francie’s, while an adjacent sauna and woodshed will be connected to the hut by a covered walkway.
To accommodate Sisters Cabin guests and minimize the impact on other recreationists, SHA worked with the Town of Breckenridge and Summit County government to plan a new, 17-space parking lot that will be constructed near the Sallie Barber Trailhead on French Gulch Road this fall.
For more information, email [email protected], call 970-453-8583, or visit summithuts.org.