Looking to blaze up? Find a smoke shack on the hill

Last week, the Summit Daily reported on the efforts of two U.S. Forest Service officers to bust a pot smoker on the Snowmass chairlift. For the record, smoking any substance, whether legal or illegal, is generally frowned upon while riding the chairlifts. It's especially vexing when cigarette smokers decide to use the hill as their personal fucking ashtray, and I know that's led to a few interesting confrontations over the years.

In Colorado, there's long been a tradition of stoned skiing. While it's probably not going to enhance your ability to slither through the bumps or successfully land big air, I have known at least a couple of people over the years who skied as well or better when stoned. Go figure.

Now, if only that dude on the chairlift had sought out a smoke shack, he could have avoided all potential hassle. Smoke shacks range from simple lean-tos to relatively palatial cabins and treehouses. The Forest Service has, over the years, tried to tear down existing smoke shacks, and made a big to-do about going after several at Crested Butte a couple of years ago, but they often get rebuilt as quickly as they are torn down. The Forest Service likes to claim that smoke shacks damage the forests and the trees are illegally cut; the former is absurd, though there is some logic to the latter.

For those in the know, smoke shacks are easy to find. There are several in the tree runs off Mary Jane, such as the Swing Hut in the trees off Railbender, and another that's supposed to be somewhere in Topher Trees. Vail is rumored to have one off Bwana under Chair 26, while Breckenridge's best known one is on Peak 9 and accessed by taking the Mercury lift.

Even backcountry skiers can get a little 4:20 action at smoke shacks, and we're not talking the 10th Mountain Division abodes. Loveland Pass, for instance, has a little smoke shack that has a roof skiers and boarders like to launch off of.

If all this sounds a little over-the-top, check out this video of a shack off Breckenridge:

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