One of the ultimate backcountry skiing and expert rated alpine skiing destinations in the country, Silverton Mountain is not your average ski resort. Instead of skiing programs for toddlers, you’ll find informative and educational classes regarding avalanche safety and mountaineering instruction. Instead of masses of people skiing down well-groomed slopes of a gentler grade, you’ll find untouched backcountry steeps. Silverton Mountain provides a completely unique experience.
Silverton Mountain is located in the heart of the San Juans. It has a summit elevation of 13 300 ft and a vertical drop of 2900 ft. This extreme height means that it enjoys an average of 400 inches of annual snowfall. There is no need for snowmaking machines here! There is only one double chairlift but one lift is all you need to gain access to the steepest, most powder-filled skiing in the area. From the top of the mountain you can use your backcountry skiing knowledge to cut your own path back to base camp.
The base camp may be somewhat less commercialised than other resorts, but it provides all the facilities that skiers and snowboarders could possibly want. And with runs being equally divided between advanced and expert skiers, it is unlikely that you’ll find too many beginners bumbling around on the slopes. Some of the slopes reach angles of 55 degrees – a fact which has earned Silverton a reputation as the Top Extreme Ski Experience in the United States.
However, such extreme slopes don’t come without their hazards. Winters are heavy and though they supply amazing skiing and boarding conditions they also create a potentially dangerous environment for the sport. Skiers are expected to bring an avalanche beacon, a probe pole and a shovel. They will also need a Colorado hiking pass and some idea of what avalanche safety entails. Backcountry skiers are only allowed to enjoy their sport in groups of eight, under the watchful eye of an experienced guide. However, the exhilarating ride is all worth it at the end of the day.
The slopes themselves are continually patrolled by teams of experts who engage in avalanche mitigation work. However, this does not mean guests can get careless about where they ski. There is also plenty of accommodation available in various forms and most boarders find Silverton Mountain to be good value for money. Dining can be enjoyed at the Brown Bear Café, The Explorer’s Club, Pasta La Vista, the Pickle Barrel and Silverton Brewery to name just a few. Silverton Mountain opens in November and closes in April. If you’re into extreme skiing, don’t miss out on this amazing mountain!