|(Image: Silverton!!!, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from zachd1_618′s photostream)|
While the ski season takes a break for summer, it is never too early to plan out your next ski adventure. For those advanced skiers out there who love the open and untracked snow, Silverton Mountain in Colorado might just be everything you’ve ever wanted.
Silverton is a very unique ski experience. There is only one chairlift that takes skiers into this high altitude environment. The chairlift unloads at the top of a gorgeous slope, which then provides skiers with easy hiking along the ridge in order to access up to 1,819 acres of snowfields. Needless to say there is a plethora of amazing ski runs to take from the top, in every direction. This adventurous terrain is completely intended for advanced and expert skiers only.
Silverton Mountain has a very original and uncommon manner of operating. During certain times of the year, they provide “guided only” skiing, with minimal increments of skiers on a daily basis (similar to a cat or heli operation). However, during other times of the year, it allows for the completely untracked and “unguided skiing” experience.
Silverton consists of numerous chutes, bowls, cliffs and beautiful natural terrain elements. Due to the large amounts of snow, skiers are required to wear avalanche gear in order ride the lift at anytime.
With its peak at 13,487 feet, it is the highest ski area in North America. With an average of 400-plus feet of snow per year, Silverton has 1,819 skiable acres. It is also one of the steepest mountain resorts, with their easiest run at a slope of 35 degrees. That’s 5 more degrees than most ski resorts’ steepest runs.
The mountain is left un-groomed and natural, with the exception of the ski patrol avalanche reduction work. Silverton Mountain is basically always venturing into new terrain daily, providing new skiing access and usually new powder opportunities for sometimes weeks after the most recent snowfall.
While there is a cap on the amount of unguided skiers allowed each day, most of the time there are less than 80 skiers on the mountain at any given time.
The base of the mountain lies at 10,400 feet, with a peak lift served elevation of 12,300 feet. There is hiking up to 13,487 feet, which means with a little effort you can get around 3,000 foot vertical drop. Silverton’s extreme elevation also ensures an early and long ski season.
Skiers will need:
An avalanche beacon, probe pole, and shovel (rentals available).
YOU DO NOT NEED ANY AVALANCHE TRAINING.
Airports within range include Durango (52 miles), Montrose (50 miles), Telluride (110 miles), or Grand Junction (100 miles).
|(Image: Eye on the Prize, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from zachd1_618′s photostream)|
The Silverton experience can include:
Guided Skiing-Head out and explore Silverton with one of our skilled guides.
Unguided Skiing-Venture out on your own into the vast amount of unguided terrain offered at Silverton.
Heli Skiing-The best $159 you will ever spend. Experience heli skiing at Silverton.
Private Guides-Experience Silverton one on one with a private guide.
Education: Come to Silverton and learn more about backcountry safety and other mountain info.
Shaun White’s Private Pipe:
Shaun White has a private halfpipe on the backside of Silverton Mountain, in the shadow of Storm Peak.
This is just below the famed “Grande”, “Hanging Valley” and “Hidden Valley” runs, in an area shown on the map as “The Lake”.
Red Bull built the pipe for White, solely for training purposes.
Shaun also has a custom-built foam pit at the bottom of his halfpipe for practicing new and innovative maneuvers.
Silverton is the ultimate resort for untracked and powder-filled exploration. A call to all advanced and expert skiers, go off the grid and experience all that Silverton has to offer next winter.
For more information, including dates, lodging, and packages, check out their website: