Top five things on our winter wish list

The leaves are falling in Denver, the Broncos are 6-0, and the lifts are turning at both A-Basin and Loveland. It's going to be a wonderful winter. At least, that's what we're hoping -- and wishing.

Last year I got about five days of backcountry skiing in, a hut trip, loads of touring, a trip out to Utah's steep and deep Powder Mountain, and about ten resort days here in Colorado. This year is going to be better. And my wish list is getting bigger by the second:

1. Work less, play more. We live in Colorado for a reason, right? So I figure I'm going to go for a winter work week of no more than 30 hours. Considering I only work from noon to six right now, I think this shouldn't be a problem.

2. Hut Trip. I just received a sweet map from the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association (970.925.5775). Turns out they have a new yurt this season. According to the brochure, The Fowler/Hilliard Hut suffered a "devasting fire in late September 2009 and was a total loss." So they put up a yurt in its stead. We'll talk more about hut trips later; for now, get to the website and book your trip now. They fill up quickly, and most weekend slots are already taken.

3. Buy an Avalung. After seeing that video of the skier being buried in an avalanche in Alaska, I've decided it's high time to pull the trigger and buy me one.

4. Take an avalanche class. Lot of good the Avalung will do me without a solid refresher course on avalanche safety. Friends of Berthoud Pass offers great classes. They have two classroom sessions this year October 28 in Colorado Springs and November 6 in Denver at the Oriental Theater, followed by two days of on-the-mountain training. You need to attend the classroom session to get out on the snow.    

5.Teach someone how to ski. I've signed up to be a volunteer instructor with the National Sports Center For The Disabled up in Winter Park. And now I'm trying to guilt you into doing something similar.

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