Hut to hut skiing is a form of back country skiing in which skiers travel between various ski huts, sometimes on an extended trip. The term “ski hut” conjures up an image of a rickety old building, but in fact most ski huts are warm, well insulated, and quite hospitable. Many ski huts are run like small hotels, with a staff to maintain them during the winter months when they are in active use. Hut to hut skiing is quite popular in many parts of Europe, and in parts of the American Midwest and Northeast.
Depending on where you do it, hut to hut skiing can be physically challenging or it can take the form of a relaxing vacation. In either case, skiers usually engage in hut to hut skiing in small groups, looking out for everyone's safety along the way. More physically challenging routes might include difficult ski trails, or areas in which the skiers may need to clear fallen branches or trees. Groomed or less challenging routes will feel more like a stroll through the snow for the skiers, and are well suited to less experienced members of a hut to hut skiing party.
In some areas, remote regions are only accessible in the winter through skiing, so hut to hit skiing is a fun way to get outdoors. While wandering through nature, skiers can also enjoy peace and quiet on many ski trails, except in regions where snow mobiles and other motor vehicles are permitted. While hut to hut skiing, skiers can refine their cross country, telemarking, or racing skills. The skiing trip also gives people a chance to get to know each other better and enjoy the outdoors as a group, much like summer backpackers do.
It is conventional for skiers to make a reservation with the host of a hut before skiing out to it. In some cases, this may be as simple as signing up to use a minimal ski hut on a particular day. In other instances, skiers pay for the service, and arrive expecting amenities such as food, fuel refills, fresh sheets, and other comforts. In either instance, hut to hut skiers usually try to leave the ski hut in excellent condition, and will sometimes contribute to a guest book, wood pile, or some other community project.
It is traditional for shelter to be offered to any skiers who may arrive, especially during inclement weather. The huts are placed at intervals along the trail and maintained by public service groups, skiers, or private organizations who make a profit from hut to hut skiing. During the winter, crews check on the warming huts periodically to make sure that everything is well stocked and in order, and in the summer months, any needed repairs are performed. Many ski vacation companies offer hut to hut skiing trips for skiers interested in experiencing, but not organizing.