Our friend Dustin Eldridge has been enjoying the stellar CO season along with the rest of the state, and was able to write us a little report about his trip to Silverton back in December. Check it!
Silverton Mountain is a pow hound’s dream, located an hour north of Durango in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. I was perusing Silverton’s website in school one day, dreaming for an excuse to make the eight-hour journey. It was as if the snow gods answered my prayers. “Bootpackers needed Dec. 4,5 and 11,12. Bootpack avalanche terrain for one day and receive a free lift ticket. No experience needed.” I started planning the logistics that very second. We pulled into the parking lot, which lacked the Summit County crowds I was accustomed to, on Saturday morning. Silverton’s base area consisted of its single chairlift, a tent serving as a ticket office/bar, and a bus repurposed for renting equipment. After receiving a brief safety discussion, our day began by shoveling and packing snow at the base for the helipad (heli-skiing started the following weekend).
Silverton offers guided (both heli and lift serviced) and unguided skiing. The guided ski season is much longer, (and more expensive) running from January to the end of March. For the more adventurous or less wealthy, unguided skiing is offered at the beginning and end of the season. Either way, you’re time spent at Silverton will be a pow-filled adventure on one of the gnarliest lift-serviced mountains around.
Sunday was our day to ride. Our first run began with a 45 minute hike from the top of the lift to Rope-Dee-Dope 4. Once we arrived at the top of the chute, I was astonished by Silverton’s steepness. I can’t remember the last time I got the butterflies in my stomach so bad. The chute itself was nothing exceptional… besides the 50+ degree steepness. It was rocky, and the covering was marginal at best.
Down below the chute was an entirely different story. Pow turn after endless pow turn was slashed. I found myself flowing down a vast, undulating, open bowl. To be honest, it’s hard to remember. Especially because each of the following runs was the same – deep, bottomless, pow turns run after run after run. And this was December 12th! Days after a storm, I had gotten one of the best powder days of my life. After about five runs, we returned to the parking lot, legs burning and our minds hazy from too faceshot overload. Yes, there was still plenty of powder left on Silverton. But we couldn’t summon the strength to take the lift even one more time. Although it was sad leaving Silverton, I was gald I was fortunate enough to share this San Juan gem with my good friends. We’ll be back in April anyways.
Think you’re ready to tackle the San Juans? Check out the Treasure Mountain Hut in Silverton