Where are the yurts located?
The yurts sit nestled high in the Southern Swan Mountains of Montana, in between the Mission Mountains and the Bob Marshall Wilderness. They are situated deep in the Montana backcountry, approximately eleven miles via snowmachine or eight miles skinning from the trailhead. The trailhead is approximately an hour from Missoula, Montana.
The trailhead is located on Cottonwood Lakes road at the winter plowing boundary just past Rich's Montana Guest Ranch. The trailhead has limited parking so please consider carpooling.
What is the difference between the Lupine Yurt and the Alpine Yurt?
About two hundred vertical feet and ¾ mile separate the two yurts. Both yurts are similarly equipped. The Lupine maybe better suited for skiing off the Lookout/ Supernatural Area of the horseshoe where as the Alpine is slightly better situated for skiing the back bowls.
What is the elevation of the yurts?
The Alpine Yurt sits at approximately 6800’ and the Lupine yurt sits at approximately 6600’
How much snow do the yurts receive each season?
The Seeley-Swan area of Montana is known for its colder weather and heavier snow falls. This translates to incredible cold smoke powder skiing. On April 1st of 2009, we had almost 14 feet of snow pack, not fall at the Alpine Yurt. The average seems to be around 10 feet. Storms dumping multiple feet of snow are not uncommon.
What is a gear haul?
Take the weight of your back and off your mind. Yurtski will haul your group’s gear to the door of the yurt. We’ll take in your food, and personal gear while you hike with only a day/avy bag. Loads are limited to 40 lbs per person. A gear haul is not a people haul.
Why is there a person minimum?
The minimum allows us to ensure exclusivity to your group while staying at the yurts.
What is involved in a guided or catered trip?
To get the most out of your trip we highly recommend a guide. Often times, mountain weather can be inhospitable. Gray days and heavy snow are times when a guide really pays off. And we typically get a lot of snow in the Swan Mountains. Our guides are avalanche and first aid/cpr certified and have an intimate knowledge of the area in the deep winter and the summer as well. They’ll keep you on track when visibility is low and the snow is deep. We offer a day guide option to acquaint you with the yurt and some of the route options. We can also offer you a guide for the entire trip, tailoring your days to your specific goals whether they are steep and deep powder skiing or long ridgeline tours with spectacular views of the Mission Mountains, Swan Mountains, the Bob Marshall and the Scapegoat Wilderness.
As for catered trips, some of our guides have worked in fine restaurants around the country and are skilled in the culinary arts. Catering consists of three meals a day including a hot breakfast, take-along-lunch, après ski with hors d'oeuvre, and a gourmet dinner followed by a Dutch oven desert. Wine and beer service can also be included. We can even offer a multi-course wine dinner prepared by Red Bird Restaurant chefs from Missoula, Montana. We tailor your menu to your needs and specific dietary requests. You may also pair your catered trip with a guide to make sure your Yurtski trip is one to remember. All you have to do is eat, drink, sleep, and ski…what could be better?
How many people can stay in the yurts?
There is sleeping for up to eight people in each yurt. Sleeping arrangements include mattresses, 4-inch sleeping pads, cots, futon and pull out single. These differences allow for a variety of sleeping combinations.
How far is the skin into the Yurts?
From the trailhead to the Alpine Yurt it is an eleven-mile trip via a sled trail. The first five miles being flat. Skiers can take a cut off near the lakes, which reduces the skin to the Alpine Yurt to approximately eight miles. The Lupine Yurt lies approximately ¾ mile and 200’ below the Alpine Yurt.
What type of terrain is in the area?
The immediate Yurtski terrain consists of a horseshoe shaped ridge that is separated into three main bowls by short finger ramps. The skiing in these areas ranges from steep cliff sections and chutes to mellow burnt tree runs which funnel back towards the yurts. There is also ample opportunity to tour the ridge and drop off the backside towards the Bob Marshall & Scapegoat Wilderness. Longer tours may decide to drop off the backside to a lake for lunch and laps.
How do I book a trip?
There are Book now button on every page of our website. Click this link and you will be directed to a reservation process that will allow you to make your 50% deposit online.
Do we need to have avalanche equipment even if we’re not skiing?
Yes. A beacon, shovel and probe are mandatory for anyone visiting the yurts. The Swan Mountains are avalanche country and need to be treated with respect. Avalanches can and do occur in the area.
Can I snowboard at the yurt?
Absolutely! Split boards have made great strides in recent years and work quite well. Otherwise, a traditional snowboard combined with snowshoes or approach skis are an enjoyable way to enjoy the backcountry.
Are cross-country skis or snowshoes okay?
Cross-country skis are not recommended. Snowshoes seem to work for some snowboarders.
Can I snowmobile into the yurts?
While you can reach the yurts via snow machine, there are two large side hill drifts. No highmarking.
What do you do for water?
We utilize a mountain spring for drinking water. Drinking water can be retrieved on the way into the yurts and with gear hauls we will gather at least 5 gallons of water for your group. If your group is self sufficient, water jugs are recommended, as is a hatchet to break the ice that forms over the spring. We drink from the spring untreated; however this decision is ultimately yours. Boiling or treating water with iodine are good options. Otherwise, culinary/ washing water is gained from melting snow.
Are the yurts heated?
The yurts are heated by wood burning stoves and all firewood is provided. Inside the yurts there are wood bunks full of dry, split wood. Outside the yurts there are woodpiles where rounds can be found for splitting.
What do I need to bring?
Beacon, shovel, probe, skis, skins, poles, Morrell Mountain Quad Map, GPS/compass, personal/trip first aid kit, snow kit, sleeping bag/sleeping clothes, yurt slippers, food and drink, toilet paper, towels/rags, cold weather clothing (waterproof pants and coat, non cotton layers w/spare, hat w/spare, gloves w/spare, socks w/spare, goggles, fleece/down coat), headlamp, leatherman or like tool, liter/matches, spare batteries for beacons/headlamps, Fully charged/ turned off cell phone (we can get some reception in certain spots on most days), camera, positive attitude
What is supplied at the yurts?
Yurtski provides a wood burning stove, firewood, ax, maul ax/splitting tool, cook stove, propane, lantern, white gas, pots, pans, plates, bowls, cups, cooking and eating utensils, kettle, snow melt pots, at least 5 gallons spring H20 for drinking (only if a gear haul is elected), sleeping mattresses/pads/cot/futon, Life flight extraction kit (helicopter specific backboard, splints, neck braces, emergency blanket, six man carry, basic first aid), super terrain
Is there an outhouse?
There is a three sided outhouse located directly behind each yurt in order to answer nature’s call in relative comfort.