Not everyone skis downhill at Badger Pass. Indeed, every year, hundreds of adventurers strap on skis and do just the opposite by meandering through the woods cross-country style. Their journey is a breathtaking – literally – 10.5-mile excursion out to Glacier Point Ski Hut.
“It’s probably one of the most amazing ski huts on the planet,” affirms Dave Bengston, Director of the Yosemite Mountaineering School. “Glacier Point overlooks Yosemite Valley and the peaks of the High Sierra with Half Dome right across the canyon. A full moon at night makes it unbelievable.”
In summer, the path from Badger Pass to the hut is actually Glacier Point Road. In the winter, the road closes, gets covered in snow and then groomed for cross-country skiing. Even though there’s some uphill effort involved, it’s not necessarily grueling. “It’s road grade, so it’s not super steep. In fact, the elevation at Badger is the same at Glacier Point, 7,200 feet,” says Dave.
Once at the top, skiers find a hut warmed by a wood stove, lined with cozy couches and sleeping space for 22, and a friendly hut keeper who cooks and cleans. Of course the sparkling expanse of the High Sierra greets them too, reaching as far as the eye can see. Dave recommends those interested in the trip be at least intermediate beginners with some backcountry skills. “It’s winter, after all,” he says.
Depending on your level of ability, the trip takes an average of five hours, and skiers can take side trips along the way, such as lunch at a scenic spot or a climb up Sentinel Dome. For most, this is the kind of journey you want to remember forever. So go slow, be safe and take it all in. Guided snowshoe and Nordic tours are also available at Badger Pass.