On the 19th of January, in 2002, Aaoran and Jane Brill opened up their dream project, Silverton Mountain. All it had then was a single, double chair that they had purchased from Mammoth Mountain Ski area. Silverton Mountain is known best for its backcountry skiing that is assessed by lifts, but they also maintain several educational and beneficial programs like the Backcountry 101, Avalanche level 1 and Avalanche level 2. The design of the ski area was constructed with a special purpose of impacting minimum effect on the surrounding environment, so the resulting ski area focuses mainly not on development, but on skiing. Therefore, it neither has any condos and high-speed chairlifts nor plans to build them. Perhaps because it has such a clear focus in mind, it has been voted by the USA Today for extreme terrain as the best in the whole of West, including Skiing in Utah, Colorado, Nevada, and California
Base Elevation: 10400 feet
Summit Elevation: 13487 feet
Vertical Drop: 3087 feet
The ski resort is located close to Silverton in Colorado, USA, in San Juan Country, which is mere six miles away from the historical and famous mining town of Silverton, also located in Colorado. It’s one chairlift carries the skiers right into its terrain that is meant for expert and advanced skiers. Even to ride the life, advanced gear is required as Silverton Mountain is ungroomed and unpatrolled. Not only does the resort allow skiing that is accessed by a lift in a jaw-dropping 1,819 acres of land, but also helps in Helicopters accessed skiing by serving as the base area of some 22,000 acres of skiing assessed by helicopters. Silverton is open from December to April, on all days from Thursday to Sunday, which is a unique choice of days.
The website describes the area to be the most expert ski area in North America, along with being the highest in America at 13,487 feet. It has the most memorable steep terrain, and the best possible powder for adventure seekers (skiers, snowboarders) in the world, especially due to the absence of groomed runs and cut trails. Since the San Juan Mountains have unusually high elevation, the number of daily skiers remains limited, which in turn means that the quality of snow is unsurprisingly good. The Silverton Mountain, at certain points of time during the year allows guided skiing only. The ski area itself provides the guides, and each guide has eight or fewer skiers in their group. Each guided group may have to hike for anywhere between 5 to 45 minutes to be able to access the runs, although the chairlift also drops them straight to some runs. To reach tight chutes that are steep and have huge open bowls, one may have to hike from fifteen minutes to an hour.
The guided skiing and snowboarding is a one of its kind adventure at Silverton Mountain. It is somewhat similar to snow cat skiing, resort skiing, and heli-skiing, but still, stands out from everything else in the entire country. Without the crowd that is almost second nature to the ski areas, 1819 acres of terrain similar to the backcountry terrain remains undisturbed. Although there is a complete absence of cut trails, it has an abundance of nature’s best black diamond skiing in the USA. An average skiing day allows for 3 to 6 runs, which is roughly more than 10000 vertically.
The return after each run to the lift is via foot or shuttle. At the start of each day, the groups are formed, so no prior information is required about who you would like to be with for skiing. Although friends are placed in the same team, the level of skills, in the sense that all faster people are grouped together, the medium people are grouped together, while slower ones are placed together, as a slower person, or a fatigued person in a group of faster people runs the risk of putting others lives at risk. Starting from 149 dollars to 159 dollars, guided only skiing happens in December, January, February, and March.
Every skier must compulsorily wear avalanche safety equipment due to the unpredictable and raw nature of the slopes, and the necessary equipment which includes a shovel, probe and avalanche beacon. All of these can be rented from the Silver Mountain. Since the mountain frequently books up when the season approaches, reservations are highly recommended. And guides are also available for hire during the time when they are not compulsory.
Heli-skiing is another option available at the Silverton Mountain, an option unavailable in other operations of the lower 48. The terrain is an option only for skiers and boarders with expertise in their skills and is the ideal way to explore and appreciate the beauty of the mountain. Other rare options include All Day Heli Skiing, Heli Accessed Ski Touring, The Private ship, and Alaska’s Northern Chugach Range provides the Heli-skiing trip that needs to be experienced to be believed. Independent, third party contractors maintain, insures staff and provides all the helicopters.
The elevation of the ski resort is 4111 meters while the base elevation is 3200 meters. There is one lift in total, with 0 terrain parks and a total snowfall is between 450 to 500 inches, which easily exceeds the number of daily visitors. With an absence of clear-cut runs, you will find here plenty of adrenaline waiting for you, and never before experienced skiing in each and every direction. It does not matter how many times you have been here, or even if it is your first time here, you will, without a doubt, find something new or perhaps a new stash that you did not expect. The single drop heli programs costs 179 dollars for each drop, with other options for passes like All Day Heli that allows various other similar facilities and some that exclusively allow access to more than 22000 acres of terrain. So make a reservation, and prepare yourselves for the ride of a lifetime.
Even other than all of this, the calendar of 2016-17 is full of many events and educational programs. The New Years’ Bash is described as a ‘rowdy evening’ with offers for guided skiing, lodging at the recently renovated Grand Imperial Hotel and the reservations for the party are now open. Then, we have the College day on the 8th of January, 2017, where two college students are allowed to go in for the guided skiing for the price of one. March 30th is a day booked exclusively for season pass holders, where the powder lift will be spinning for unguided skiing. These passes are Unguided Season Pass, The Kids Pass, and the Solid Gold Pass. All these passes are only available in limited quantities, so do not ponder too much.
April 2nd, 2017 is the Clauson Classic, an endurance race that honors late ski patrol and one of the Silverton Mountain’s team members, John Clauson raises funds for cancer survivor camps. The last will be the 15th Annual Brewski, where you are invited to for an afternoon of beer tasting at Colorado’s finest microbreweries and an entire day of skiing. So go ahead and plan a trip to this amazing skiing location in Colorado and enjoy the Winters playing skiing and other snow games!
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