Sign In:

×

Last Step!

Please enter your public display name and a secure password.

Plan to post in the forums? Change your default forum handle here!

×
×

Striking Gold in Silverton

Editor's Note: Kalen Thorien goes hunting for lines in Silverton, Colorado, and fuels us with more of the envy that makes Silverton, despite being in one of the most faraway spots in Colorado, feel that much closer (and that much higher on the bucket list). Good TR!

_Y7B7705-Edit.jpgBouncy happy play time in Silverton. Grayson Schaffer photo.

A few years ago, I had my first experience skiing in New Zealand, and I quickly fell in love with the simplicity of their resorts and freedom to roam the surrounding mountains–a concept that is very much lost in the United States. So you can believe it was a blessing to come across a place like Silverton Mountain in Colorado's San Juans. Owners Aaron and Jenny Brill created Silverton based off of the idea of the Kiwi ski fields: one lift whose sole purpose is to get you closer to your objective, after which point you put in the work. Their easiest runs are what most resorts consider double black diamonds. There are no groomed trails, and half the season is closed off to guided trips only. Basically, when you go there, you’re guaranteed fresh tracks, tough terrain, and very few people.

_MG_0965-Edit.jpgWhat was to come...

Grayson Schaffer from Outside Magazine hit me up to come down after Christmas for a week to ski Silverton and the surrounding backcountry. When you arrive, it’s not your typical Colorado ski town. Abandoned BBQ joints and dilapidated hotels take the place of Gucci and Prada stores. Wood smoke hovers above the streets and a few neon “Open” signs indicate some type of life. You quickly get the impression that the people who live here have a deep love for the mountains... or their car broke down and they just ended up staying. Like the mountain itself, the town is simple, down to earth, and authentic.

The week would see a plethora of deep pow, sunny days, chilling winds, steep lines, and endless tree skiing. Early mornings dotted with pink clouds on the high ridgelines were enough to warm the heart even though the toes were numb. Bottomless pow on the various passes enclosing Silverton allow for safe options in perfectly spaced trees while the looming high alpine teases the imagination and feeds the hunger for even the most aggressive skiers. You come here to get strong. You come here to test your abilities. You come here to experience skiing at its most raw. It’s perfection nestled in a forgotten range.

_Y7B7330-Edit-Edit.jpgOn the drive up to Silverton from New Mexico, we were greeted by classic alpenglow. Grayson couldn’t help himself and had to stop and snap a few photos. Needless to say I was extremely excited to see fresh pow and BIG mountains!

_Y7B7392-Edit.jpgA last-minute skin trim with the tried and true pocket knife...

_MG_0537.jpg

The double chair at Silverton puts you up to a saddle on a very impressive ridgeline. From there you have the option to ski right down, hike a few minutes, or all the way to the top of the billboard (when open) that you see in the photo above. The ridge before the iconic billboard is littered with amazing chutes and flanks that rival the best steeps in Chamonix.

_MG_0616-Edit.jpgThat perfect 13,000 foot Colorado pow. It comes in deep and often in the San Juans.

_Y7B7621-Edit.jpg

The next day we were greeted with bottomless fresh coldsmoke. Local pro, Sven Brunso, was kind enough to show us his secret stashes, and so the day was non-stop laps with every turn getting deeper and every smile getting bigger. Best day of the year so far!

_Y7B7857-Edit.jpgMama like!

_MG_0293-Edit.jpg

_Y7B7815-Edit-Edit.jpgThis ain’t no “smile for the camera” pow shot… just 100% authentic stoke!

_MG_0370.jpgA day well spent with good friends and pow deserves a tasty Aspen Brewing Company IPA.

After a few days of snow and socked in conditions, we were finally greeted with a few days of sun. Early morning turns and perfect conditions were more than we could ask for. The stoke was high!

_Y7B8850.jpg

_Y7B9218-Edit.jpg

_Y7B8725-Edit.jpg

_Y7B8660.jpgOh why hello sexy untracked line…

_Y7B8706-Edit.jpgYup, you were even better than you looked!

_MG_0761.jpgSilverton shuttle at your service. Do not open signs and local stoke is free of charge.

Needless to say, time is irrelevant in Silverton. The entire week was a blur of giddy pow turns and big lines. Losing track of what day it is is standard. Life is simplified to early mornings, breakfast burritos, skin tracks, freshies, great people, cold beer, pizza, and sleep. As they say on the back of shampoo bottles, “Repeat if necessary."

Well boys and girls, lather up because yes, it’s very very necessary. Cheers to you, Silverton! And thanks again to Grayson Schaffer for the awesome photos!

From The Column: TGR Trip Report Picks

Super nice shots!

    Thanks Austin! That was all Grayson Schaffer right there! Who knew writers could take photos ;) Cheers my friend!

Play
READ THE STORY
Faction Just Released a New Video and It’s Epic
Up Next Ski

Faction Just Released a New Video and It’s Epic

Faction Just Released a New Video and It’s Epic

The first episode in Faction’s latest three-part series is completely mouthwatering. Although the exact location is a mystery, it appears to take place somewhere deep in British Columbia. Wherever they are, Antti Ollila, Duncan Adams and Tim McChesney waste no time bouncing off cliffs and carving up backcountry pillow lines that look like they've never been touched before.  RELATED: The Bunch’s Newest Film Is Now Available For Free It seems like every few months Faction blesses the

Play
READ THE STORY
Why Does TGR Care About Climate Change?
Up Next Culture

Why Does TGR Care About Climate Change?

Why Does TGR Care About Climate Change?

Why do we care about the environment? Why do we feel it’s important to address climate change? Why is it necessary to contribute to a discussion on sustainability? RELATED: Join POW and Vote in the November Elections  Because, living in the mountains, we see climate change happening on a daily basis, right before our eyes. But most importantly, as patrons of the mountains, we have the responsibility to protect them, our winters, and our environment. “Why wouldn't TGR care about climate

Play
READ THE STORY
Killington and Sunday River Ski Resorts Open Tomorrow
Up Next Ski

Killington and Sunday River Ski Resorts Open Tomorrow

Killington and Sunday River Ski Resorts Open Tomorrow

No snowfall? No problem. Killington’s snowmaking team has been working overtime to make sure East Coast skiers and riders will get their first turns of the year in on Friday, October 19th. The K-1 Express Gondola will start running at 10 a.m. for Season Pass, Ikon Pass, and Express Card holders who will have access to the North Ridge Area until 3:30 p.m., giving them plenty of time to shred some of the summer rust off. The mountain opens to the rest of the general public on Saturday,