Tony Krizan

Thanks to late-season snow, you can still ski to Ostrander and its unique overnight cabin

The view from Glacier Point looking down at Nevada Fall and Vernal Fall.
The view from Glacier Point looking down at Nevada Fall and Vernal Fall. Special to the Sierra Star

It is difficult to believe that we still have time to enjoy cross country skiing this season thanks to late-spring snowfall. What better way to enjoy the sport than a trip to an overnight cabin tucked away within the wilderness of Yosemite National Park? You’ll need skis to reach Ostrander Ski Hut.

This skiing adventure begins at Ostrander Lake Trailhead 1.3 miles east of Bridalveil Creek Campground at around 7,000 feet. The first three miles of this 12.7-mile round trip are relatively flat. After passing two junction markers this trail will increase gently in elevation. Soon this trail will have a surprise, because the final mile will have a sharp increase in elevation. Once reaching the saddle the views will make you forget your previous struggle. Now the trail will descend to Ostrander Lake at 8,500 feet. If you depart from Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area (formerly Badger Pass) add another 2 miles round trip to your schedule.

The warm, beautifully crafted two-story ski hut was constructed in 1941 overlooking Ostrander Lake and offers views of the surrounding mountain wilderness. This hut can accommodate up to 25 people with bunks, kitchen, wood stove and solar power for lighting. An on-duty National Park Service person will be present offering helpful suggestions for an enjoyable stay.

Second choice is to ski Glacier Point Road. This scenic 10.5 miles from Badger Pass to Glacier Point will offer some breathtaking sights of Yosemite Valley. The view of Half Dome is spectacular especially dressed in its blanket of white. Below this huge hunk of granite are Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall. On the west wall of Yosemite Valley is the double falls of Yosemite Falls displaying its 1,430-feet drop before sharing its flow with the Merced River.

For both ski trips first call the park service to set up permits. For the overnight stay at Ostrander Hut, reservations will be drawn at random from the requests received. Check online for fees and equipment needed for a comfortable overnight stay.

Enjoy another ski adventure in Yosemite before the gift of these late storms disappears.

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