The Grand Opening of the Frog Lake Backcountry Skiing Huts in Truckee
The Newly renovated Eschenbach Backcountry House. This building was originally built in the 1930s and now houses a full commercial kitchen, a fireplace, sitting areas and a map room for planning out the next day’s backcountry skiing. Photo: Zeb Blais.
This week marked the grand opening of the Truckee Donner Land Trust Frog Lake Huts. And what a week to open! Massive Sierra storms are on the way and the backcountry skiing at the Frog Lake Huts is going to be off the charts. With 80” of snow from our last storm and more on the way, this will be an exciting spot to weather the storm!
We made a trip up to the Frog Lake Huts this week before the storm this week. We checked out the huts, get the lowdown on the amenities, and of course, to log some of the best backcountry skiing in Truckee! The huts are a fair way in, but that's what keeps the traffic down and the snow fresh.
How to get to the Frog Lake Huts in Truckee, CA
There are a number of ways to get into the Frog Lake Huts. Options include Johnson Canyon, The I-80 Rest Area (you must get dropped off here or you WILL get a parking ticket) and Castle Peak. There are also some alternatives from Euer and Carpenter Valleys, that are a little more difficult to navigate.
One option to get into the Frog Lake Huts is via Johnson Canyon. This is a fairly direct approach, but still requires a fair amount of navigation and terrain management and is not an insignificant amount of distance or vertical gain.Johnson Canyon Approach Stats:
Starting Point: Johnson Canyon Trailhead
Destination: Truckee Donner Land Trust Frog Lake Huts
Distance in (approximate): 4 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,500'
The Frog Lake Huts Compound
Upon arrival, we were immediately struck by the layout. The old cabins from the 1930s had been renovated and are now home to communal cooking space for the compound and a caretaker cabin.
The Eschenbach Backcountry House is where the kitchen is located and boasts a full commercial kitchen. It also has a great living space for gathering groups, dining and planning your next day's backcountry skiing adventure.
The commercial kitchen inside the Eschenbach Backcountry House at the Frog Lake Huts in Truckee. Great meals will be prepared here! Photo: Zeb Blais.
Communal living space and dining room at the Eschenbach Backcountry House at the Frog Lake Huts in Truckee. Great meals will be consumed here! Photo: Zeb Blais.
The New Frog Lake Huts: Morgan, Rockwood and Ted R Huts
The newly constructed huts have a modern design and are equipped with amenities that make them easily the most comfortable backcountry huts in Tahoe. Outside, they are corrugated metal, with lifted porches to allow for easy access, even on big snow years.
Hangin’ outside the new Morgan Hut Backcountry Ski Hut, with the Eschenbach Backcountry House in the background. Frog Lake Huts, Truckee, CA. Photo: Zeb Blais.
Inside, the new construction Frog Lake Huts are bright and modern. The floor plans range from the 4 bunk Morgan Hut with two double occupancy rooms, to the 8 person Rockwood Hut with two rooms of 4 bunks each, to the party house: The Ted R hut, with capacity for 8 in a large, open floor plan.
Inside the Ted R Backcountry Ski Hut. This hut has the largest capacity of the Frog Lake Huts, with bunks for 8 in a shared, open floor plan. Truckee, CA. Photo: Zeb Blais.
Inside one of the double occupancy rooms at the Morgan Backcountry Ski Hut. This hut has capacity for 4, with two mirrored rooms in this configuration. Photo: Zeb Blais.
The interior layout of the Rockwood Backcountry Hut. The Rockwood sports two mirrored 4 bunk rooms with a bathroom and mud room joining the two sides. This hut has capacity for 8 like the Ted R, but is broken into two, 4 bunk rooms. Photo: Zeb Blais.
Backcountry Ski Terrain at the Frog Lake Huts
Ok, enough about the huts already! What about the terrain?! Frog Lake Huts are situated within striking distance of a huge variety of terrain. Right out the door, there is serious, exposed, and cliffy terrain that requires deep, stable snow to ride.The Eschenbach Backcountry House perched above Frog Lake and below Frog Lake Cliffs in Truckee. The new Frog Lake Huts are obscured by the trees in this picture. Photo: Zeb Blais.
There is easy access to the open bowl skiing on the north side of Castle Peak. This terrain is serious avalanche terrain and has been the site of many avalanche accidents, including this one in 2019.
Low angle tree skiing options exist around the hut in multiple directions when avalanche hazard prevents travel in more avalanche prone terrain. On days with large storms, you can still find reasonable terrain to ski if the avalanche hazard is elevated. Be dialed on your navigation skills and make sure you have the education to understand the hazards!
There are some really LONG runs available. From Peak 8428 just above the huts, you can drop 2,000' into Carpenter Valley through old growth forest! There are some younger trees in certain areas, but there's a ton a great tree skiing to be had - not bad for Truckee backcountry skiing!
All in all, there is some great terrain to be skied out here! We can't wait until it's our turn to spend some time at the huts!
Skinning to the ridge above Frog Lake Backcountry Ski Huts before the storm. Photo: Zeb Blais.