Silverton, CO Backcountry Report: Steep and Deep on The Million Dollar Highway

Robert Hansen | | Trip ReportTrip Report
Highway
Driving the Million Dollar Highway – Robert Hansen

Silverton is a Victorian mining town nestled deep in Colorado’s San Juan Mountain range. The town is a host to a ski area as well as endless aesthetic ski options. The connector between Silverton and Ouray, the notorious Million Dollar Highway, offers awesome access to many of these routes. Do not expect to have the area to yourself as the word is out on just how good the skiing can be here. However, due to the sheer size of the area, one can expect to find fresh tracks a good while after the storm has passed.

Sunset Over Silverton – Robert Hansen

A Christmas storm lingered over the pass dropping as much as 40 inches over a four day period. With a lack of snow on the front range, it was time to pack up the truck and head down for a few days of crisp bluebird powder skiing. The avalanche danger was a little high when we arrived. While we waited for stabler snow we found some fun long turns in Sam’s Trees. The next day we played across the highway in the Graveyard. Both of these areas require little or no approach and offer long fall line skiing.  Not only is the zone less busy then the summit it offers another hidden gem, a thermal bath a short jaunt from the road. The primitive hot spring offers a toasty soak after a cold day out on the hill.

With spirits heightened after a cozy soak it was time for a trip into town for a cold brew at a local watering hole. Silverton is a quaint mining town of under 700. Despite this, the town is equipped with ample breweries that serve high quality locally brewed beer. Spirits in the brewery were high as the mountains had provided a stellar day for anyone playing on them. The skiing began to deteriorate the next day so after a fun day on anvil mountain, we packed the truck and headed home.

Peak
Dream Lines in The Distance – Robert Hansen

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