The focus of Front Range resorts seems to have shifted to entertainment (Walt Disney would be proud). Are you ready for Silverton?
Nestled in the San Juans is one of the Meccas of the ski world, the 1800 acres of Silverton Mountain. The town of Silverton is about an hour from Durango, CO. Founded in 2002 by Aaron and Jen Brill, Silverton has catered to advanced skiers looking for a more advanced and technical ski area. Silverton is a gem in the ski industry, gritty, core, and raw in the age of technology. To return to the base area Silverton runs an old bread delivery truck and ex-whitewater rafting school bus as shuttles, their answer to gondolas and more chairlifts.
Backside of Silverton, 2nd peak from the right is billboard, 13,487′. photo: powder magazine
Get in. Yes, there is powder. photo: NyAxter/Panoramino
The San Juan Mountains of Colorado are an entirely different world than the Front Range. Not only are the mountains much steeper, but they are also affected by different weather patterns, blessing them with higher average snowfall than the Front Range. The beauty of this climate and the system at Silverton ensures that the 80 guests per day get the best snow possible. By limiting the number of guests and days of operation Silverton ensures that powder stashes are left untouched for those who come later.
Red Mountain Pass. To the left, sheer cliffs to the canyon floor. Imagine turning a suburban around on this stretch after a boulder falls in the road. photo: ouraylovers.com
While Silverton is somewhat in the middle of nowhere, it is just over a 6 hour drive from Denver (assuming Red Mountain Pass is open), which can be a very scenic drive through the high mountain valleys of Colorado. For those with a private jet (or who want to fly in) the airport in Telluride has daily commercial flights. Highly recommended but a bit out of the way for apres is Olde Schoolhouse Pizza. Tickets for a day of guided (powder) skiing at Silverton are $99, less than a discounted day at Vail. Don’t worry, no avalanche training or gear is needed, visitors are guided and avalanche equipment is available for rent.