In the spirit of philanthropy, Coloradan distillers get their hands dirty at the Jackal Hut

In the spirit of philanthropy, Coloradan distillers get their hands dirty at the Jackal Hut

In the 40s, skiing wasn’t all fun and games. For a select few—dubbed the 10th Mountain Division—it was quite literally the opposite; it was war. With wooden boards under their feet and camouflaging white coats on their backs, these brave men travelled swiftly through vast mountain ranges all over Europe, triumphantly fighting for the United States in World War II.

Seventy-some years later, skiing is all fun and games thanks to the 10th. And though we will never be able to fully repay them for their help, 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company is doing its part by way of top-tier liquor and a dedication to community service.

Christian Avignon (left) and Ryan Thompson (right), founders of 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company.

Based in Gypsum, Colorado (just outside of Vail), and founded by two graduates of Moonshine University in Louisville, Kentucky, this is a company that knows how to make booze and how to make it right. They’ve earned a hell of a reputation since starting up in 2014, and we can back that reputation up, as we’ve happily sipped their products ourselves.


The 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company tasting room, located in Vail.


Behind the scenes at the clean, high-tech distillery in Gypsum.


These guys don’t mess around when in comes to storage protocol.

Producing liquor for skiers is just the tip of the iceburg on 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company’s agenda. Every summer, the team also pays tribute to its namesake through volunteer work on 10th Mountain Division huts in the Rockies. Most recently, employees trudged up to the Jackal Hut—right above Camp Hale, where the 10th troops trained—to show their support while preserving a place they love.

Jackal is one of the whopping 34 10th Mountain Division huts that are spread out across the Rockies. From Breckenridge to Aspen to Vail and beyond, these huts were once used by the 10th Mountain troops for training and housing. Now, they mainly serve as refreshing getaways for folks who love being in the mountains—like the 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits crew. Jackal is particularly interesting, as it’s the closest hut to Camp Hale, as well as the most eastern hut of the 34. With jaw-dropping views of the surrounding 14,000-foot peaks and world-class backcountry opportunity readily available in the winter, it’s a skier’s haven.

The crew had their work cut out for them, from cleaning out cookware to restoring decades-old wood to chopping logs to dusting and mopping everything in between. Every item on the hut’s checklist was completed, though, with help from the 10th Mountain Association. And you bet they deservedly capped that hard work off with some top-notch drinks.


Chopping wood for the hut was one of the many tasks the team took on.


10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company co-founder Ryan Thompson (center) helps transport chopped logs. (With whiskey within reach, of course.)


The crew gets to work on the Jackal Hut’s interior.

Between their work on the huts year after year, and the countless good times they provide liquor-loving skiers, 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company finds the balance between making customers happy while giving back to its roots. And that’s something we can all raise a glass to.

To hear and see more about 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company, head to their website (where you can buy bourbon, vodka, rye whiskey, gift cases and more), follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr, and check out their tasting room in Vail.

Directions to the 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company tasting room


We’ll be here this winter, will you?


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