We're doing our best to keep the wine in our plastic cups on the ride to the Backcountry Hut. This takes some doing in our off-road limo: an old military ambulance lurching over the slopes on army-tank treads. Twenty minutes into the woods, our tank shudders to a stop in front of a rustic lodge glowing bright between heavy-limbed trees. Silence. We pause in the gathering snow, lit blue by an early moon. These frosted woods are ours tonight.
Inside the hut, we rub our hands above a potbellied stove as a chef in ski pants preps a dinner of steaks and salmon. In the morning, we'll make snowballs, forge fresh tracks, and light a bonfire. But tonight we toss tales across a wood table well into the night. Tucked away in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia, we've discovered the soul of Snowshoe Mountain.