If you're a hardy cross-country or backcountry skier looking for a new adventure, now is the time to enter the lottery for a stay at the Ostrander Ski Hut in Yosemite National Park.
The Yosemite Conservancy now is accepting lottery registration forms for the 2012-2013 season at the hut, a popular overnight destination for those making the stunning 10-mile trek from Badger Pass Ski Area to Ostrander Lake in Yosemite.
The ski hut was built in 1940 by Civilian Conservation Corps crews upon the recommendation of the Yosemite Winter Activities Committee. "The original plan, however, was that two huts be constructed. One would provide for people who carried their own sleeping bags and food; the other would cater to those who wished to rent bedding and purchase meals from an authorized public utility operator," according to Park Service documents. "After the committee determined that it was unfeasible to construct two huts, the Park Service decided to provide both services in one hut."
The building was the last constructed in the park by the CCC.
"Ostrander Ski Hut provides visitors with the chance to experience a breathtaking winter backcountry adventure with unforgettable views of Half Dome, the Clark Range and Mount Hoffmann," said Mike Tollefson, president, Yosemite Conservancy. "It's a perfect winter retreat away from crowds and resorts in a beautiful and isolated wilderness area. Proceeds collected from the ski hut, along with contributions to the Conservancy, are poured into projects and programs that preserve and protect the park and improve the visitor experience."
The Yosemite Conservancy manages the rustic two-story stone ski hut, which sits in a small glacial cirque at the edge of Ostrander Lake at 8,500 feet. The historic hut was built in 1941 and maintains many of its original facilities. The accommodations are suitable for individuals or groups up to 15.
The ski hut is staffed by a full time hut keeper and is typically open mid-December through the end of March. Facilities include single bunks with mattresses, community cookware stocked in a common kitchen, wood for heating, solar powered electric lights for evening use and two outdoor toilet facilities. Nightly rates range from $35 Mon.-Thurs. and $55 Fri.-Sun.
The lottery applications must be returned by 5 p.m. PST on Nov. 14. The annual registration lottery is scheduled for Nov. 15. Starting on Nov. 26, remaining reservations can be booked by calling 209-379-5161. Reservation information, equipment lists and a description of facilities can be found at this website.