Lodging Ouray Colorado
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Ophir Colorado | 970.708.0092 |

OPUS Backcountry Ski Hut

Skiing, Mountain Biking, Hiking and Remote Lodging in the San Juan Mountains

Backcountry Skiing Silverton Colorado

Pulver and Firn

Powder and Corn

Powder on the north aspects and corn on the southern aspects.

Some of the best Powder skiing is yet to come.

May showers

May showers

Every little bit stacks up

Just enough is good enough, sometimes more is too much.

It continues to snow small amounts weekly and the skiing has been amazingly good. Even though January temps were average ( for April) the snow is in great shape.

Crystal in paradise sunrise

A little Icing on the Cake

Not always a good thing. Nice, Big, Cold storm finished off with a beautiful topping of rime, almost like being in the Pacific Northwest. Obviously, though, that means the storm finished off wet and heavy, on top of a bunch of sweet light powder.

Pilots Knob in Rime South Lookout in Rime

So, cool your jets and give her a little time to settle

The Usual Fall Antics and Some News

New at the OPUS this winter – Beverages !

Yes that’s right folks ! Beer, Wine, and a limited selection of Spirits will be available for purchase at the hut.

OPUS HUT San Juan Mountains Colorado

It’s been a long fall. There is a couple feet on the shady side and tracks on the north side of the battleship. A fine mix of hard and soft wood firewood was flown in and many cases of beer carried in Sherpa style. As the sky turns gray I’m hoping my next trip is on skis not chains.

The last commute was fairly rugged, chains on all four wheels, snow flying over my hood. The immortal words of Yukon Steele in my head, “just keep the RPM’s up and nothing can stop a Toyota”. My poor mule, front end, bearings……it’s been a long summer. Got back in to drive her down and – no four wheel drive, a surfy ride down. Thought I had just spent my fun tickets…turns out the Marmots just wanted one last fall meal of  Toyota wiring.

Columbine Lake

Mountain Biking past Columbine Lake

Mountain Biking past Columbine Lake

The Elusive beautiful Columbine Lake. Many hikers seek it, few make it there. It’s not easy but it is worth the effort.

OPUS Routes - Columbine - resizeOPUS Routes pass to Ruby - resizeOPUS Routes Pk 13,300 from Ophir - resize These Google Earth images show popular trail and Mountain routes to Columbine from the OPUS Hut.

The first image shows the treeline traverse around the east end of the Lookout Peak ridge.

The second shows the difficult but fast route through Ruby Lake , northeast of the hut.

The third image shows the difficult, fastest route over the top of Peak 13,330 directly north of the hut.


Flower Power

The flowers are still bloomin’ peakin’ !

Clear Lake Columbine

Clear Lake Columbine

May Powder

Two feet of fresh over the weekend – “toothy smiles” they say.May Panorama by Andrew Nardecchia

For those who know….the season rolls on

Spring PowderRyan Cropped

Spring Thing

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It’s a magical time in the northern San Juans. Spring !

The snow is settling down, the sun is sweet, and the pow just keeps comin’ .

Don’t forget the sunscreen.

40 inches so far

Sunshine at dawn and Gladstone 2

Sunshine and Gladstone at dawn


Definitely February transition time out there. Storm Total is 40 ” so far with more forecast. A real “crusher”, we hope. Crushing, and compacting all those large unstable crystals down at the bottom of the snow pack.