Lodging Ouray Colorado
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Ophir Colorado | 970.708.0092 |

OPUS Backcountry Ski Hut

Mountain Biking, Hiking and Lodging in the San Juan Mountains

Backcountry Skiing Silverton Colorado

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.





24″ In 48 hr.

Nice to have some fresh after a relatively dry January.

Be Careful out there she’s gonna take some time to settle !

Lookout Alpenglow

Happy New Year !

May the new year bring many magical, safe, backcountry days !

Crystal in Paradise

Crystal in Paradise

Thanks for all the great times in 2013

Front yard fun

Chief Mel whippin up some goodness

Chief Mel Whippin’ up some goodness


Crystal in paradise sunrise

Sunrise on South Lookout Peak

A Little Beta While We Wait – The Real Deal

A little beta while we wait for the next dump. Wise up y’all !

We see group after group lug pounds and pounds of food and booze to the hut each year. Dragging 80 lb. sleds up the 3.5 mile road route to the hut. Then dragging half that back down in trash and extra crap. We provide food and all the blankets you need at the hut so you don’t have to do that.

Tip : Buy your meals at the hut and take a more exciting route to the hut.

Mels perfect pizza

Mels Perfect Pizza

Come in from the Telluride ski area, Red Mountain Pass, Ice lakes basin ……. Get a map ! make your own route !

Ronjas fr above Ruby

Ronjas Couloir – Drops into Ruby lake from Columbine Lake

Paradise - Clear fr above - small

Paradise Basin in the foreground – Clear Lake behind.
Showing route into Clear lk. fr. Swamp Canyon.

San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act

Support the San Juan Mountains Act. Some might imagine that huts and wilderness don’t go together. Obviously, huts can’t be built in wilderness areas, but huts do help to protect the environment. By increasing the awareness and appreciation of the surrounding wild lands, those who might not spend time in the mountains can become comfortable with the wild and learn to defend it. This is the mission of the OPUS. You may have assumed it was all about partying and skiing.

Clear Lake ridge

Clear Lake ridge; Ice Lakes Basin

Clear Lake turns

Clear Lake Basin

Karen in Paradise Basin

Paradise Basin


Goldenhorn shoulder – Ice Lakes Basin

Clear Lake ramp

Clear Lake Basin – Entry Ramp

Going through old photos yesterday I came across a few good ones of the front yard, which will all be protected under the proposed wilderness study area. In fact everything on the south side of Ophir Pass road would be protected.