Smoke Shacks are Secret Manmade Huts on Colorado Ski Mountains
WARNING: Under no circumstances should you enter this property. By doing so you risk bodily harm and/or prosecution for trespassing on private property.
If you're not a local in a ski town or what many refer to as a "ski bum," you may not know about the mind-blowing ingenuity and secrecy of the handmade, hidden structures located on many Colorado ski mountains known as "smoke shacks."
What are Colorado Smoke Shacks?
Smoke shacks are a fascinating phenomenon that live on popular ski mountains unbeknownst to the average skier or snowboarder.
They are typically handmade out of pieces of trees, plywood, sheet metal, and other materials that have been transported via ski or snowboard to a remote site on the mountain. Many smoke shacks are held together by baling wire instead of nails and screws and are surprisingly well put together.
However, make no mistake, they're not always the safest of structures and aren't really supposed to be there.
The smoke shacks are typically created and used as a place for local skiers and snowboarders to take a break, hang out and spark up a bowl before returning to the slopes.
Where Are Colorado Smoke Shacks?
Smoke shacks are pretty hidden but they are present on many popular ski mountains, unbeknownst to most. They are often accessible only by traveling off-trail through trees, which is in itself discouraged and not what most would consider very safe.
It's also been said that ski patrol on the mountains in which smoke shacks are located have been known to blow them up with dynamite when they find out about them. However, the locals that build the smoke shacks simply begin work on another after they are destroyed by ski patrol.
Take a Virtual Tour of Colorado Smoke Shacks
Take a look at a few smoke shacks in Vail and Breckenridge, Colorado: