Ski Hit Trip with Kids - Tip and Tricks Ski Hit Trip with Kids - Tip and Tricks

Hut Tripping With Babies In Tow

By Marily Melis

Ski Hit Trip with Kids - Tip and Tricks Ski Hit Trip with Kids - Tip and Tricks

Yes - we planned a hut trip with 12 people and 3 babies. 6 of the adults don't have kids and they amazingly still wanted to come. The plan was pretty simple, skin in 4.2 miles towing the kids to The 10th Mtn Division Hut just outside of Leadville, Colorado and hang with our tribe in the woods who had skinned in the day before.

*Skinning: aka hiking with back-country skis on your feet. Essentially special AT boots that allow your heel to freely move while skins are attached to the bottom of your skis to give you traction for uphill travel. Plus add pulling a ski chariot with a child in it.                                                     

How to begin, as you all know poor preparations leads to (piss) poor performance. So, of course, we created a list of who was coming, where to meet, GPS coordinates and what to bring:





  • Baby
  • Baby gear: Chariot with skis, harness and those little pins (never forget the pins, hair ties won't cut it), Bjorn, insulated sleep sack, fleece onesie, gloves, hat, sunnies, diaper bag (ya know what that entails) and of course snacks.
  • Adult stuff: Whiskey, skis, skins, layers, sleeping bag, hut slippers (a key item often overlooked), sunscreen, extra socks, tank top (huts get HOT), our meal contribution - breakfast burritos and a soft flask of wine.

As you can see my list making is pretty loose. I usually run through scenarios in my head of what the weather might do, what activities we'll be doing and just start making a pile.

The game plan was to get to the trailhead by noon, arriving at the hut way before sunset. Well, my thought and my husbands thought of where the trailhead was significantly differed, and we were both way off. Luckily, we realized this while we still had cell service and were able to zero in on the correct parking lot to start to trek. Which in the muddy spring conditions lead us a bit farther up the newly snowplowed road - cutting off a mile of the hike in (sweet). We got organized on the side of the road, which definitely takes longer with a crawling child. Our technique is that one person hangs in the back of the truck with the baby and the other does all the gear prep. Aka, diaper duty or gear duty.

Kid duty in the back of the heavy duty!

We had to maneuver the chariot up the embankment before we put the baby in, as it was a bit of a 4x4 effort just to get it up and over the berm and on the trail. In that time we decided to start with her in the baby Bjorn on Dad while he skinned in on his split board (a snowboard option for backcountry travel, essentially your board splits in half for uphill travel) Skins on, packs loaded, baby on board and we were off!

The trail was pretty rolling and had a weird slope to it causing lots of sidestepping and wonky maneuvers, which when pulling a sled become all the more comical. Imagine clipping tree limbs, getting stuck on branches and having to back up to get around down trees. Luckily Arlen was not in the chariot for these antics and gave me time to get used to the sled. The trail had melted down to the dirt in many areas so ya had to bush-wack-it around deep tree-wells to stay on the snowpack. All of which slowed us down.

Soon enough we realized we were overdressed, a common issue when skinning, it's a lot of work. So we stopped to de-layer which was a perfect time to nurse. There's something quite empowering and miraculous about being able to feed your child at 10,000 ft like this. It's a necessary that forces you to take in the view and look at your surroundings. {Pause for enjoy the JOURNEY moment } We then put Arlen in the chariot and I pulled her smoothly the remainder of the way.

Getting to the hut, which sat just above treeline right before sunset was a sight to savor.  We were welcomed by our crew with apps and drinks.

Hut Trip Babies - Living Thier GoatImmediately the 3 kiddos got busy eating snow that we had in buckets to melt on the fire for water. Having 2 walkers and a crawler meant we all had to be on the watch - the "HOT" fire was off limits along with the wood chip box. Otherwise, they had free range of the hut.... kinda. We also had to mind the skis against the wall, as they can easily crash down causing a domino effect and a nice sharp edge to the face of a toddler isn't ever a good look.

Hut hanging is pretty rad at 11,500 feet. We all managed to get the kids down by 7:30 pm or so and could enjoy an adult dinner and card games of golf with the full moon peeking in through the windows.

The 3 little girls all slept in insulated sleep sacks cocooned in their parents' beds. This particular hut had 2 dormers upstairs that we could contain them in and keep the midnight stirring/cries down for the rest of the crew to sleep through, also the extra earplugs and nightcap of whiskey allowed everyone else to rest easier.



*notice the RAD Growing GOATs wool cap!

The morning consisted of the usual hut rituals of getting the fire going, snowmelt water boiling and breakfast cooking before cleaning up the hut and getting out to explore. The sun was beaming and we all gladly took on parts of the chores so that we could then click into our gear and cruise around the area.  Which was quite fun pulling a babe down some whoops and swoops.

It was a bit daunting at first and there were several opportunities to bail out but we committed to this trip and can't wait to bring the kiddos back to this hut again and again. It's simply making a decision to go and then just GO. If ya don't show up, you'll never know what you are missing.


See full photo gallery in our Hut Highlights at

Backcountry huts book up really fast so be sure to plan ahead and commit early. Here is a great resource for huts in Colorado.

Hut tripping with kids in tow