The winter season brings many challenges, chief among them the wind, the snow, the ice, and the longing for the warmth of the sun on your frozen and emotionless face as though you are lost in an arctic labyrinth with homicidal rage with half a head of hair. Stanley Kubrick, director of "The Shining," knew very well that, some challenges are more easily resolved than others. Let us focus on one now: winter retreats without twins, imaginary bartenders, and preferably other human beings to keep you grounded in your sanity.
No winter is complete without mention of fire lookouts, and we have many listed on Outdoor Project. There’s no better resource to help you find the right one for you with tips for booking—though it is likely too late for reservable lookouts—than Fire Lookouts in Oregon.
Throughout the West and elsewhere, however, cabins, lodges, and huts are ideally positioned for winter adventures or short stays.
- The Rolling Huts: Minimalist cabins designed by a Seattle architect and best suited for the area’s cross-country skiing adventures in the Methow Valley of Washington.
- The Rustic Stone Cabin: Speaking of minimalist, this cabin is more organic, so to speak, and perched near the entrance of the Enchantments near Leavenworth, Washington.
- Pear Lake Ski Hut: Perched high in Sequoia National Park, Pear Lake is well-maintained and ideal for winter skiing excursions. Despite its challenging access, it can get crowded.
- Clair Tappaan Lodge: Pair a historic, dorm-style lodge with Tahoe’s world-class snow and you have an unforgettable winter adventure.
- Barlow Ridge Hut: Great views of Mount Hood National Forest and a long, steep access that weeds out the less hardy winter adventurers.
- Tilly Jane A-Frame: A classic hut that exemplifies Oregon, and everybody knows it. The oldest structure on Mount Hood must be booked far in advance, but it’s so much worth it that the Tilly Jane was resurrected by volunteers when the Forest Service threatened to close it.
- Journeyman Lodge: Creature comfort in prime Canadian cross-country territory, the Journeyman Lodge allows direct access to over 100 kilometers of winter trails.
- Geyser Pass Yurt: Moab isn’t typically associated with winter skiing, but enjoy the contrast of snow and desert at Geyser Pass.
- Brew Hut: Long access, yes, but there’s no better place to ski and see the Black Tusk brood over Brew Lake.
- Hidden Lake Lookout: In Washington, the vertiginous heights of the Hidden Lake Lookout are a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Backcountry skiing is optional but recommended.