Your idea of a perfect weekend: ripping down the snowy slopes of 11,000-foot Sierra peaks by day, then kicking back at a cozy, timber-and-stone hut by night. Your backcountry heaven: Pear Lake Winter Hut. This 10-person shelter in a snowy bowl at 9,200 feet—more intimate and surrounded by more skiable terrain than neighboring Yosemite’s better-known Ostrander Ski Hut—requires a strenuous, 6-mile ski or snowshoe trip to reach, making it best for intermediate to advanced winter travelers with avy know-how. Once you’ve called your bunk, earn your turns on challenging ski runs with views over barbed Sierra summits or snowshoe through quiet conifer forests and up steep ridgelines—or don’t. Somebody’s gotta keep the pellet stove fed and make the hot toddies. Season December to April Lodging $40/person per night; apply for a spot through the lottery which is being drawn on November 2 this year.
Sequoia National Park, California