And now for something completely different

Silverton Mountain is a backcountry skier/riders dream. Located deep in the San Juan Mountains it has super steep terrain and is regularly hammered with big storms. Because the base is at 10,400’, the lift goes to 12,300′ and the hiking tops out at 13,487’ it typically provides great early and late season conditions.  The place is run by Aaron and Jen Brill who basically designed, built and now manage the mountain – it’s basically my dream of what I would like to have in my backyard – a single lift that accesses tons of steep powder laden terrain. I try to make it there at least once a year for the unguided skiing (early and late season only) but it’s a long ways away (7 hours by car over hairy roads) and can be a somewhat frustrating experience at times (try to imagine doing avalanche control on almost 2000 acres subject to huge storms with just you and your friends to help – it takes time). But on every day I’ve been there I  have had at least one run that rivals the quality of heli and cat operations at ski hill prices.

Speaking of helicopters, amazingly enough Silverton added one to their mountain last year. This is sort of like your favorite burger joint adding lobster thermidore to their menu because prior to this the only amenity Silverton offered was a yurt with a wood stove and some post skiing beer.  And this morning I found this link to Red Bull Project X where they used the helicopter to help build a half pipe for Shaun White there – what will they think of next! Well worth checking out – they obviously spent a lot of money to make this happen and the website, pictures and video are all high quality.

And on one final note,  Silverton needs our help to allow this all to continue happening. They’ve added a new bus (with seats, no less!),  are trying to open more terrain early season and increase the number of unguided days. But they can’t do it if we only show up on dump days so if you can, get your butt down there early season – you’ll be a better man (or woman) for it.

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