Tales from a Haunted Hut: Snowboarding Boreas Pass

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Railroad Crossing on Boreas PassCalling like a train whistle off in the distance beckoning you to her clutches as she chugs tirelessly up the mountain pass, only to drop off her passengers, and repeat the same process again and again.  These thoughts coursed through my brain as we hiked 6 1/2 miles up Boreas Pass from Breckenridge for our three-day, two-night stay at the Section House, one of the many 10th Mountain Division Huts located throughout the Colorado mountains.

Snowboard boots in front of fireNow curled up on the sofa across from a warm crackling fire taking in the expansive views from a cabin originally built in the 1800’s, magnificently restored in 1997, my thoughts turned towards the first people here, not as tourists, but as families looking for new lands, jobs, and adventures, yet finding more hardships than successes along the way.

Boreas Pass, appropriately named after the Greek god of the north wind, offered opportunities to those willing to take the risk, often times delivering only heartaches and hardships.

Today, thousands of adventurous tourists embark upon a similar journey, one not quite as harsh, yet full of adventures.  Adventures that lead you back to a cozy cabin where logs are already split, the fire already warm, and cooking utensils cleaned and waiting patiently for the next guests to create culinary miracles inside this piece of history.

Slogging up Boreas Pass, floating down on a cloud

Ken Pishna hiking up Boreas Pass with snowboard

And, as so many have claimed to have seen, ghosts eagerly anticipate the next visitors embarking upon their unique adventures. Ours has just begun. Slowly uncurling my legs from under me, ignoring their incessant screams to stay, I hesitatingly put on my snowboard boots, and we set off to conquer a mountain or two.

Getting ready to snowboard down from the peak of a mountain

A short hike we say, but Boreas pushes us on with the voices of the past whispering words of encouragement as we slowly trudge up the mountain, visions of powder turns spurring us on. Every few feet, we stop to take in the views and the oxygen, consider our options, question our choices. After all, the Section House was only a quick ride down; its coziness waiting to envelop us and protect us from the harsh environment known as Boreas Pass Summit.

April Pishna snowboarding on Boreas PassBut those ghosts – or was it just the wind – and those visions kept pushing us forward; not one climb, not two, but three climbs up the mountain, and each ride down proved better than the last.

Many people have experienced the slopes at a resort, but the feeling of flying down a mountain that you just climbed, while sweating, cursing, and doubting every life decision, creates this feeling unknown to anyone yet to have earned their turns. They are slices of heaven, like floating on a cloud, and regardless of the snow…it’s powder. It just is. These turns offer freedom and possibilities.

We are the mountain men and women of today!

Living a Stout Life at the Section House on Boreas Pass


We have come full circle. Ghostly whistles far off in the distance, faint rumblings of days gone by, intermingled with laughter, groans of sore muscles, and conversations of today with hands wrapped around a local brew, arms wrapped around a loved one or two, and the Boreas Pass Section House wrapped around you.


Vital Stats:

  • Spring Break 2018, March 26-28
  • Section House Hut Trip: 6 1/2 mile hike in and out on Boreas Pass Road
  • Six friends and four new ones – met a lovely family of four
  • RAIF housed us the night before and after giving us a taste of a Stout Life


Author’s Ramblings:

Writing Boreas Pass post at Section HouseSitting at The Crown Coffee Shop in Breckenridge, I was trying to write the post about this trip and was taken away by the simplicity of a small mountain town coffee shop. What follows are just a few of my observations.

A brownie, maybe a hot chocolate, ooh a croissant, coffee cups clinking, cold air rushes in, pizza sizzling on the coals, beanies, scarves, gloves casually thrown off. No rush or desire to be anywhere else. Flakes gently falling from the sky, whispers of conversations coursing through, boots tracking in snow, the briskness of the late afternoon giving way to the warmth of the smells and smiles inside.

As many of you know, we will be living full time in our RV named RAIF in the near future. Today, while working in this coffee shop, we got a taste of Living a Stout Life.

How do I create this life for me, you ask.

First, choose it.

Second, follow us on Facebook and Instagram and be inspired to Live a Stout Life.


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A Broken Compass and a Bold New Adventure

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6 years ago

So excited for your adventure! Can’t wait to meet up with you again somewhere along the journey.