Winter camping is often associated with misery, frostbite, and hauling huge loads of gear to a frigid tent. Even those who camp in yurts often have to split wood, build fires, melt snow, cook meals, and scrub dishes.
But, for those who want the overnight backcountry experience without the toil, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has figured out a solution. The resort offers guided overnight backcountry trips to the Rock Springs Yurt, a ski-in, ski-out structure located outside the resort’s boundaries in the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
Head “yurtmeister” Brian Hady has led over 50 overnight trips to the dome in the past five years. As a backcountry tour guide, he skis with clients from the bottom of the Hoback runs at the resort to the yurt, takes care of all yurt maintenance, keeps the fire stoked, cooks meals, and melts snow for water.
“My favorite moment is often when people realize that their drinking water is coming from the snow that covers the mountains around them and it just needs to be melted over a hot woodstove,” he says.
As a teen, Hady became an Eagle Scout, and he later studied outdoor education and natural resources at Colorado State University. These experiences make Hady the ideal year-round yurtmeister. On average, he logs 15 trips to the hut per winter and six during the summer when hikers stay there.
The allure of the yurt holds strong for Hady, despite snoring clients and the hefty pack full of supplies and emergency gear he skis in with. He fondly recalls nights of storytelling beside a toasty wood fire and times when clients have built ski jumps, throwing tricks over the bonfire.
According to Hady, it’s hard to beat riding the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram to the 10,450-foot summit of Rendezvous Mountain and skiing down to the yurt with clients for his job. He especially enjoys helping people relax and bond with each other.
“People get a break from technology and really get to connect with each other,” he says. “Spending quality time with people in a beautiful outdoor setting is what drew me to the job.”