Green yurt surrounded by snow

4 Reasons You Should Adventure to a Backcountry Yurt

Perhaps winter makes you think of cozy evenings by the fire, or days spent frolicking in the snow, or nights laughing with friends over hot toddies… You can find all of these things and more on a backcountry yurt adventure.

There are many advantages to planning a backcountry yurt trip during the winter months. In this article, I’ll cover four of them, along with some tips for making the most of your adventure.

Green yurt surrounded by snow

You’ll Skip the Crowds

While downhill skiing and snowboarding can be a blast, heading to a ski mountain often means sharing the slopes with hundreds of other humans. Ski-in yurts and cabins drastically limit the numbers of people you’ll see because they require reservations and they are self-selecting.

Many fewer people are willing to forge into the wilderness than saunter into a resort. This means, as one of the brave ones, you can revel in the snow-coated scene with just you and your friends or family.

However, the limited numbers also mean that fortune favors the planners. Many places will sell out for the season, so it pays to book your dates in advance. Of course, the risk is that the snow conditions won’t align with your intentions, but the whims of nature are always a factor in planning backcountry adventures.

You want to pick a location that is feasible for you to get to and whose mileage and terrain match your abilities.

Great Backcountry Yurt Options

Here are five top-rated backcountry yurt adventure options.

Related Reading: Learn How to Pack Your Daypack for a Long Hike

You’ll Be Immersed in Natural Beauty

On my last backcountry yurt trip, the epic beauty made me euphoric. Gliding along on my cross-country skis, I took in the sparkle of sunshine on the snow, the creak of pine branches in the wind, and the sublime peace of the forest. It was energizing and soul-fulfilling.

Sure, you can see views of snowy forests from your car window, but the sensation just doesn’t compare to being out amongst it yourself. And, by propelling yourself on skis, you keep yourself warm enough to be comfortable being outside in a glistening winter landscape.

As a medium-level skier without skins, I opted to carry my snowshoes with me. When the slope got too steep—which happened twice on the way to the yurt—I transferred my skis to the outside of my pack and put my snow shoes on my feet for the climb.

Ski trail and view of mountains in the distance
Credit: Jane Cullina/TREKKN

Be aware of what your ability levels are and communicate that information clearly with your traveling companions so that the expectations of the group are aligned.

If you’re traveling to an area where avalanches are at all a risk, make sure that at least one person in the group is trained in avalanche safety and bring a beacon, probe, and shovel. Learn more about avalanche safety in advance of booking your trip and check the conditions before departure.

You’ll Only Have to Carry Some Supplies

I’ve done winter camping trips where we’ve hauled canvas tents with wood stoves on sleds behind us, which is its own adventure, but the great thing about a backcountry yurt trip is that you only have to carry some of the gear required to keep you warm and dry at night.

After all, you’ll be sleeping in a yurt! And typically the organization running the sites keep them stocked with plenty of wood for heat.

Other things that are usually included are: beds, mattresses, tables, chairs, stoves, lights, and kitchen supplies. Not having to lug those things in significantly lessens your load. You’ll still carry your warm layers, a sleeping bag, safety gear, and food.

In most cases, you’ll be able to fit these items in a backpack, although you can always opt to haul a sled instead.

Woman skiing on trail in Idaho
Credit: Jane Cullina/TREKKN

Recommended Adventure Gear

Alongside the essentials, here are a few tips for items that will make the trip even better:

  • Bring along some microspikes for walking to and from the outhouse without having to strap on snow shoes. It can be icy!
  • Pack some down booties to keep your toes toasty warm inside the yurt.
  • Bring a deck of cards for downtime in the evening, or days when weather conditions might get the best of your plans.
  • Tuck a pair of earplugs into your packpack—it’s likely that one or more of your bunkmates might be a snorer.
  • Bring two-way-radios to better communicate while on the trail.

Related Reading: Top Gear for Winter Adventures

Wood stove and cabinet inside a yurt.
Jane Cullina/TREKKN

You’ll Be Invited to Star-Studded Dance Parties

The effort you put into getting to the yurt will make the arrival that much sweeter. And after the skis are off, the sleeping bags are unrolled, and the wood fire stove is stoked, you’ll get to enjoy the company of your traveling companions, swapping stories, sharing meals, and perhaps join in the time-honored tradition of yurt-porch dance parties lit by the winter stars.

Part of the joy of an outdoor adventure is how delicious any and all food tastes. It’s often helpful to divide up meal responsibilities so one person isn’t doing all the work. The more prep work you can do in advance, the smoother the operation will be at the destination.

One friend really impressed me when he pre-made and foil-wrapped breakfast burritos for everyone, then just heated them on the stove the morning we ate them. Delicious!

Another treat we gave ourselves were “snow-ritas” — a small flask of tequila plus some lime juice poured over freshly gathered snow cones made for a special after-dinner treat!

Green yurt surrounded by snow
Backcountry Yurt (credit: Jane Cullina/TREKKN)

Above All, Be Safe

As you can see, there are many reasons to plan a backcountry yurt trip for your next adventure—you’ll probably discover even more out there on the trails!

Before you embark on a backcountry yurt trip, prepare yourself with safety information. Follow all of the directives from the organization maintaining the yurt and trails and know your own limits. Happy exploring!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *