Happy Camper

A new backcountry yurt in Montana.
Author:
Publish date:
Bell Lake Yurt, Montana

Last December, Montana Backcountry Adventures’ 450-square-foot canvas yurt—called the Bell Lake Yurt—was heli-dropped deep inside Montana’s 10,000-foot-plus Tobacco Root Mountains, an hour’s drive west of Bozeman. The rudimentary shelter, which can accommodate six skiers and two dogs, comes with cots (bring your own sleeping bag), a wood stove, a propane stove, cookware, and an outhouse a short walk from the wooden deck. The area’s nonmotorized-use rule means no snowmobiles and plenty of fresh lines. On nearby 9,698-foot Branham Peak, there are a half-dozen couloirs and the wide, powder-filled bowls of Bell Lake cirque. Park your car on South Willow Creek Road. From there, they’ll snowmobile you in (for an additional fee) three miles on a Forest Service road, and you’ll skin in the last two and a half miles over 1,700 vertical feet. Staying at the Bell Lake Yurt can be as cheap as $35 per person per day unguided (Level I avy certification required). Or pony up $500 each for a three-day guided, catered trip, where co-owner Andy Goggins will cook you locally raised, grass-fed beef tenderloin filets and, for breakfast, hot huckleberry flapjacks. [Open from mid-December to late June; skimba.com]

Related

SacredSnowTHumb

Sacred Snow

Montana's remote Rocky Boy Reservation, home to the Chippewa Cree, might seem an unlikely place for skiing. But on the slopes of Bear Paw Ski Bowl, powder meets purpose.

The surest way to cover your tracks.

Shelter from the Storm

Their backcountry cabin is a secret, illegally situated on government land. But they insist it’s an essential facility to be used in case of emergency. Oh, and it happens to be located among some of the world’s best ski touring. Are they selfish criminals or safety-minded altruists?