Weston Pass Hut now open for backcountry adventurers
Business name: Weston Pass Hut.
Location: Weston Pass Hut sits atop the saddle of Weston Pass, between Leadville and Fairplay.
Date opened: August 2015.
Owner: There are seven owners, and Harry Camp is currently serving as the manager.
What goods or services do you provide? We provide a unique hut for backcountry adventurers in Colorado’s Mosquito Range. We hope the hut will be used by backcountry skiers, hikers, dual-sport motorcyclists, hunters, and anyone else who wants to get in the backcountry and take a break from the grid.
What’s new or exciting at your place? We are really excited about the structure and the location of the hut. This summer, we installed a natural tundra roof, which acts as green insulation, makes the hut unique, and looks amazing. The hut is also deep in the backcountry but accessible by vehicles in the summer, which will allow many people to experience the quiet and beauty of the Mosquito Range.
What strategy do you use to differentiate your business from your competition? Building a backcountry hut is a major undertaking, and so we view other backcountry hut businesses as colleagues. We have an enormous amount of respect for anyone who builds off the grid.
Our hut contributes to the growing system of Colorado huts in new and interesting ways. First, our hut is accessible by vehicles in the summer, which will make it accessible to diverse groups of people. Second it is one of the highest commercially-run huts in Colorado, which makes it a special destination in the summer and winter. Third, a massive elk herd often grazes within view of the hut, which gives our guests amazing access to wildlife.
Finally, we used green building strategies such as installing a natural roof, using earth insulation, and building with locally and sustainably milled lumber.
What philosophy do you follow in dealing with your customers? What can your customers expect from you? Every owner of our hut has incredible memories and stories from spending time in the backcountry. We want to facilitate similar, but unique, experiences for others. We hope that the hut becomes a special and meaningful place for many backcountry adventurers. To this end, we provide many amenities to make each stay safe, comfortable and memorable. We also provide excellent customer service to ensure that no one goes to our hut without having all of their questions answered.
Tell us a little about your background, education and experience: The great thing about this project is that it brought together a diverse group of people with many different skills and backgrounds. Fortunately, some of our owners have amazing construction and mechanical skills. Others have important experiences in backcountry outfitting. We have all learned a lot from each other, and building the hut has been an important lesson in the power and challenges of cooperation.
What is the most humorous thing that has happened at your business since you opened? Although the roads to the hut are pretty good, we have seen some people with very inappropriate vehicles try to get up them. A driver of a new Mercedes sedan attempted it but had the good sense to turn around. A driver of a new Ford Mustang actually drove over the pass, but the car was a rental. We recommend high clearance vehicles or good rental insurance!