Emails like this get my attention and an auto-reply of yes.
Hey, if you are interested, a buddy of mine has the Gold Hill Ski Cabin reserved this weekend. A friend and I are going to drive down to Crystal Saturday morning, skin over the ridge to the cabin, and ski the rest of Saturday and Sunday morning. The cabin can sleep a bunch. I think we’ve got one open seat in our car.
Wait, there’s a Gold Hills Ski Cabin? It is near Crystal? It is one of those lost ski areas? You can stay there? How do you stay there?
So many questions. But I was in!
Saturday morning we started off from Crystal Mountain where I learned that for $20 you can get a single ride lift up the Quicksilver chair. Oddly, we said no to the free shuttle ride from lot B, but yes to the $20. From the top of Quicksilver we had been aiming for Bear Gap but were seduced but someone else’s skin track. It took us by Hen Skin Lake and then up to ridge and required booting for the last 200 vertical feet. While the forecast was calling for partly sunny, it was far from that, near whiteout conditions, crazy winds, and even a light amount of snow! On the plus side, the snow was dry and deep and we only encountered three other parties.
At the ridge we dug a pit on the south side, confirming conditions were firm, and then made our way to the cabin. Unfortunately the south side conditions were firm (wind blown and previously sun baked). After stashing our gear at the cabin we skinned up to Pickhandle Gap. The skiing through the trees was “ok”. A little less sun and wind affected. But we quickly found ourselves skiing into the drainage that leads to Morse creek and we had to be very careful not to end up soaking wet or worse.
The cabin, an old miner’s cabin, was super cool. Big fireplace, wood stove, generator for lights, indoor outhouse, lots of dry wood. Turns out it is owned by the super small, and I’m guessing, very exclusive, Gold Hills Ski Club of which one of our party is a member. Downside is the mice… Fortunately there were traps.
After learning all about wood stoves and cooking dinner, we entertained ourselves playing Rummikub. Very boring initially but fun once we figured it out.
Sunday we skinned back up to Bear Gap and then did a couple laps on the northwest face of Pickhandle Point. The snow was great! Finally able to put my new DPS skis to good work! To ski back to the parking lot (from Bear Gap) we put in a hard skiers left traverse which eventually put us on “Boondoggle”. I would like to know if there is a better way down from Pickhandle…
Thanks to Angela for driving, Quinn for the invite, and Nate for the cabin connection!
P.S. Should you want to stay at the cabin you will need to be friend a member. It isn’t rentable, members only and seems to be a tradition passed down through many generations of only a few member families. And it turns out there is a second cabin back there! Further up the way from the Gold Hills one. Apparently not as “luxurious” though. Unclear how you can arrange a stay there. Likely a similar situation.