Aspen's 10th Mountain Division Huts
The mountains of Colorado offer stunning scenery and a fascinating history.
Friday, February 11, 2011 - 02:51
In the mountains around Aspen, Colo., is a series of huts called the 10th Mountain Division Huts. I recently took a snowshoe trip up to these huts and spent two days there. Not only was I enthralled by the mountains but found the history of the hut I was staying in equally intriguing.
During World War II, General George C. Marshall sought to develop a new type of army division that could fight in the harsh mountain conditions in Europe. The 10th Mountain Division was activated in 1943 at Colorado's Camp Hale. Solders were trained for combat in the mountains of Europe and learned to shoot on skis, snowshoe and survival in a brutally cold winter climate without a sleeping tent. In 1946, they arrived in Italy and fought the Nazis in the mountains surrounding Florence. Currently the 10th Mountain Division is deployed to fight in Afghanistan.
Several of the soldiers, upon returning home from WWII, settled in the area around Aspen. They conceived and started the hut system. The hut system was devised to allow people to access the backwoods of Colorado. A series of huts was set up for people to spend the night in comfort while skiing/snowshoeing from hut to hut. One of the leaders in creating the hut system was Fritz Benedict. He and his wife, Faby, had a pair of huts named after them, the Benedict huts. Theirs were the huts I snowshoed to and stayed in during my time in Aspen.
Photos: Heather Altherr
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