Tag Archives: Architecture&design

Backcountry Hut Company: Architectural Design & Business Model

Backcountry Hut Company: Architectural Design & Business Model

by Sam Demas, October 12, 2016; All photos courtesy Backcountry Hut Company

The Canadian company Backcountry Hut Company (BHC) has completed its design and has constructed a prototype for a pre-fabricated, modular hut system. The design is optimized for alpine and other outdoor clubs, lodge operators, and also private outdoor recreation enthusiasts.  Based on a conversation with BHC’s Wilson Edgar, this post is a brief description of the design concept, business model, and rollout plans.

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Outdoor Society argues for more huts in USA

Mathias Eichler, outdoors advocate and editor of the Outdoor Society blog, grew up in the foothills of the Alps.  He can’t understand why there are not more huts in USA, his beloved adopted land.  He is a great fan of our National Parks and advocate for recreational use of public land. {Featured image courtesy Mathias Eichler}

In two posts (click on titles in excerpts below) he discusses his ideas.  In an editorial “Whats next for America’s Public Lands?” he presents a case for more huts on public lands.  A separate piece “Eight Huts we need in the Mountains of the American West” presents brief profiles, accompanied by great pictures, of some huts he admires.

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Hut-to-hut skiing: a tale of two Mt. Tahoma Huts

Featured Huts: A tale of two Mt Tahoma Huts

by Sam Demas



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What is a hut? Towards a hut definition

 What is a hut? A pictorial romp and an initial typology

What is a hut?  Is it a hovel, a shelter, a hostel, or a hotel?  Quick answer: all of the above, and much more. In everyday useage it is a catchall term for forms of shelter and specific definitions are elusive.  These are notes towards a workable hut definition.

We’ll touch on the most common definitions and perceptions of the term “hut”, then focus specifically on the use of the term in the context of long distance walking. My purposes are to briefly illustrate the wide range of huts for walkers (and skiiers & bikers, which are lumped into the terms hikers and walkers here) and to attempt an initial typology clarifying the uses of the term.

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How do huts operate? Lets find out: help us write “operational profiles”

A few people around the nation know a great deal about how hut systems operate.  But in the U.S. there is very little written about how hut systems are designed, built, and operated.  Almost nothing is known about the economics and demographics of hut systems.  And, other than the Colorado Hut and Yurt Alliance, there are no formal mechanisms for information exchange among those who do know.  This will need to change if we are to learn from each other, develop “best practices” and ensure that hut systems are operating optimally for their clients, for their owners, and for environmental protection.

h2h aims to stimulate activity in filling this gap in the nation’s knowledge base by publishing “operational profiles”.  We are at the beginning of this process and have three so far:

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Founder Profile: Fritz Benedict 10th Mountain Division

Frederick “Fritz” Allen Benedict, 1914 – 1995, founded the 10th Mountain Division Hut in the early 1980’s.  It has grown into the largest hut system in the USA.  His vision, energy and experience were key ingredients in this remarkable story.  It is in part a tale of a young man’s formative dreams coming after a lifetime of preparation.

[Louis Dawson has lived and studied the history of 10th Mountain Division and their website includes a history of the hut system and a separate history of the U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division (about which many books have been written). The following notes are intended to supplement Mr. Dawson’s history.]

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Book Review: Huts of the Swiss Alpine Club

The Huts of the Swiss Alpine Club

by Marco Volken and Remo Kundert

AS Verlag, 2013.

 WOW.…a comprehensive view of the world’s premier hut-to-hut hiking systems! This is a luscious feast for trip planners, armchair trekkers, architecture mavens, and dreamers and designers of future hut systems in America and elsewhere!

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The Diverse Huts of the Swiss Alpine Club — essay by Marco Volken and Remo Kundert

“The SAC huts are open to all and serve as a meeting place for a variety of outdoor enthusiasts. They are both objects of identification for members and an important infrastructure for alpine tourism.” This is how the Swiss Alpine Club summarizes the purpose of its huts in its 2006 hut regulations.

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