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Outdoor Program yurt trip offers a holiday getaway

Yurt Daytime
The Bloomington Canyon Yurt. (Source: Daniel Turner)

The Bloomington Canyon Yurt offers a unique lodging experience, secluded landscapes and an adventure-filled itinerary.

From Feb. 13 to 16, Weber State University’s Campus Recreation Outdoor Program is hosting a cooperative President’s Day backcountry yurt trip.

“Where we’re going, there aren’t a whole lot of folks around,” said Derek DeBruin, Campus Recreation Outdoor Program assistant coordinator. “So there’s beautiful, untouched terrain.”

Owned and operated by the Outdoor Program, the yurt is hugged by a valley in southern Idaho, isolated from modern distractions and homework.

The yurt’s location makes it a base for a variety of adventure, DeBruin said. With ski runs right outside the yurt’s front door, there are numerous opportunities for skiing and snowboarding.

Campus Recreation Outdoor Program Assistant Coordinator Mike Henderson said the trip is a great way to take advantage of the long weekend.

“Holiday weekends like President’s Day happen to be the most crowded times of the year at the resorts,” Henderson said. “This is a great opportunity to utilize those holidays that we’re given and have access to these unbelievable resources and experiences that you can’t get just by going up to a resort.”

The yurt, a circular structure with canvas walls, is filled with amenities like bunk beds, a wood burning stove and a solar light system.

“You’re spending four days sleeping in the same 24-foot round building and there’s something about that experience,” Henderson said.  “You get to know other people on a much different level than you can on a 13-minute chair ride.”

Students of all skill levels are welcome on the trip, but beginners should have some prior experience with skiing moderate-to-difficult terrain.

“We ask for prior skiing experience, relatively good fitness and we can teach you everything after that,” DeBruin said. “We are earning our turns and it will be two or three days of hiking uphill, so you just need to be ready to do that.”

DeBruin says that he and other trip leaders are there to help make the yurt trip as safe and fun as they can.

“We are so familiar with the terrain and conditions in general,” DeBruin said. “That makes us better able to plan the tour in a way that can meet everyone’s goals.”

The trip costs $80 for a WSU student or faculty member or $100 for a community resident. This price includes transportation, lodging and meals. If needed, equipment can be rented from the Outdoor Program.

“It’s a pretty reasonable price, making it even more appealing for a college student,” said WSU senior Ryan Mulcahy, a past participant on a yurt trip. “Since you’re in Utah, there’s some of the best terrain and I think it’s a good opportunity to take advantage of where you live.”

Those interested can register for the trip online at, over the phone by calling 801-626-6373 or in person at the Outdoor Program, located on campus at Annex 9.

“We’re all about building the outdoor community,” DeBruin said. “I would hope that anyone coming on the President’s Day trip can get a taste of that community and stick around for a long time.”

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