Silverton Mountain Ski Area
Silverton Mountain Ski Area is a bit different. The single chairlift rises into a high alpine environment with amazing ski lines in every direction. This mountain is solely for the advanced and expert skiers who enjoy real adventure (the easiest run on this mountain is 30-35° - just like the steepest run at the average ski area). The mountain is operated at certain times of year just like a snowcat or helicopter operation: it provides guided-only skiing with small numbers of skiers on a daily basis. To ride the lift you must carry avalanche gear at all times. That means bringing along an avalanche beacon, probe pole and shovel (rentals available on-site) but it doesn''t mean you need any avalanche training.
Skiing Silverton Mountain means discovering loads of chutes, bowls, cliffs and other magnificent natural terrain. This is the steepest and highest ski area in North America, with no easy way down. With the exception of avalanche reduction work, the mountain is left in its natural state and the runs change almost every day as the mountain presents new terrain, new skiing and even new powder opportunities, often weeks after the most recent snowfall. While most days don't see even 80 skiers, the busiest days in the unguided season see less than 475.
Even during the unguided season, guided skiers are allowed into certain areas beyond the boundaries as per BLM safety regulations. These particular areas move around the mountain, based on the safety of the snow. This movement continually opens up new terrain and new powder. Consequently, Silverton claims more expert terrain than any other ski area in North America.
The single chairlift unloads at 12,300' at the top of a beautiful cirque. From there it's easy hiking along the ridge to access many different slopes or to reach the summit at 13,487'.
The 2 upper photos were taken on October 2, 2008
Quick Facts about Silverton Mountain Ski Area
Season: November to May (Weather and snow cover permitting)
Hours of operation: 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, MST
Top of the lift: 12,300 ft
Summit elevation: 13,487 ft
Vertical Rise: 3,087 ft
Total Ski Terrain: 1,819 acres
Average annual snowfall: 400"