You can enjoy the Chief Joseph Cross Country ski trails and help keep the warming facility operating this winter when you volunteer as a cabin host. The Gordon Reese cabin is a popular stop on the miles of cross country ski trails at Chief Joseph Pass on the south end of the Bitterroot Valley. The Wisdom Ranger District of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest handles the volunteer reservations, where you stay overnight for free, but also help with cabin and trailhead facilities during the day. Volunteers tend to the woodstove, keep the cabin interior clean, clear snow from access paths and from the deck and doors, restock firewood from the basement of the cabin to the main floor, and make sure there's snow melting for hot water. Oh, and spend a bunch of time out on the trails, too! This is a popular volunteer opportunity. November 4 at 8 a.m. is when you can attempt to become a volunteer. There's only one line, so keep trying. The phone number is (406) 689-3371.

Now, if you just want to rent the cabin for a night, it's $10 a day and you can pick available days between December 1 and April 15. You can register on-line at www.recreation.com, starting at 8 a.m. November 4th. Or you can call (877) 444-6777. Though you rent the cabin, it is a resting area during the day for skiers, so you'll have visitors. Pets are not allowed at the cabin or on the trails. The Chief Joseph area has over 30 miles of trails and is accessible from a parking lot along State Highway 43, 10 miles south of Sula. The cabin is a half-mile from the trailhead. The Bitterroot Cross Country Ski Club and Lost Trail Powder Mountain ski area maintain and groom the trails. For more information, call (406) 689-3243.
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