Silverton Mountain Colorado

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The warm-up run at Silverton Mountain is not for beginners
The warm-up run at Silverton Mountain is not for beginners
Silverton Mountain is backcountry type terrain accessed via a single lift
Silverton Mountain is backcountry type terrain accessed via a single lift
You need to earn-your-turns at Silverton to get to the good stuff
You need to earn-your-turns at Silverton to get to the good stuff
Getting a guide is highly recommended for first-timers to Silverton
Getting a guide is highly recommended for first-timers to Silverton
Silverton has a limited daily capacity so it is generally pretty quiet
Silverton has a limited daily capacity so it is generally pretty quiet
Looking across to the back bowls & warm-up run from heli terrain
Looking across to the back bowls & warm-up run from heli terrain
The powder can be dry and plentiful at Silverton Colorado
The powder can be dry and plentiful at Silverton Colorado
Silverton is adventure skiing & boarding at its best
Silverton is adventure skiing & boarding at its best
Be careful of the creeks at Silverton Mountain
Be careful of the creeks at Silverton Mountain
Some gnarly terrain in the back bowls & plenty of spots to get cliffed-out
Some gnarly terrain in the back bowls & plenty of spots to get cliffed-out
The guides at Silverton are highly experienced in the backcountry
The guides at Silverton are highly experienced in the backcountry
There is a shuttle bus to take you back around to the base of the lift
There is a shuttle bus to take you back around to the base of the lift
Hiking at over 12,000 feet can be taxing on the body
Hiking at over 12,000 feet can be taxing on the body
Plenty of touring options around Silverton CO
Plenty of touring options around Silverton CO
Silverton has a heli operation offering single & multi-runs
Silverton has a heli operation offering single & multi-runs
The bar at the base of the mountain has a great vibe after a day on the hill
The bar at the base of the mountain has a great vibe after a day on the hill
The town of Silverton Colorado is only 10 mins drive from the base area
The town of Silverton Colorado is only 10 mins drive from the base area
Silverton has some funky (and inexpensive) lodging options
Silverton has some funky (and inexpensive) lodging options
There are a few dining options in the town of Silverton
There are a few dining options in the town of Silverton
Silverton also has some nice drinking holes
Silverton also has some nice drinking holes

Silverton Mountain Colorado

Readers Ratings

Silverton

Silverton3.5/514
Silverton3.5 out of 5 based on 14 reviews
  • Recommend
    79%
  • Would Revisit
    71%

Silverton Mountain Colorado

At Silverton Mountain Ski Area it’s all thrills, no frills and plenty of spills, as the Silverton logo seems to suggest! Silverton Colorado is for upper advanced and expert riders only, and it’s really only suited to those with an adventurous spirit. Silverton Mountain has some similarities to the New Zealand club ski fields, with minimal crowds, a relaxed vibe, limited infrastructure, and plenty of awesome powder and terrain that is only partially lift accessed, with hiking required to get to the real goods.

The Silverton Mountain ski experience isn’t for everyone. About 5% of first-timers will hate it. About 15% will enjoy the adventure but never return. The remaining 85% will become addicted to the Silverton Mountain ski area. Wondering why that doesn’t add up to 100%? At such high elevations, Silverton Mountain does funny things to your cognitive skills!

Pros & Cons of Silverton Mountain CO

Pros 
  • Silverton Colorado is an ideal powder hound ski area (rated as the #1 US ski area for powder hounds) with the right combination of:
    • Plenty of amazing steep terrain
    • Great quality and quantity of snow
    • Low crowds due the capping of daily visitors, so often there are lots of fresh tracks on offer
  • You can supplement your lift-accessed backcountry-type experience with heli skiing, with the option of a single run or 6 runs.
  • The Silverton Colorado lodging is inexpensive, as is the dining and drinking.
Cons
  • It’s all about quality not quantity at Silverton Mountain. You’re not likely to get much vertical in each day.
  • A mismatch of guided groups by fitness and ability is somewhat common and can result in a sub-optimal experience for those at either end of the spectrum.
  • Silverton Colorado is not renowned for having any nightlife, although the congenial après ski culture in the tent can be fun.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • Most of the terrain requires a good deal of hiking.
  • For most of the season it’s a requirement to be guided, which adds to the cost and is quite restrictive for those that don’t need guiding.
  • The high altitude of Silverton Mountain assists in keeping the snow in great condition. The downside is that at these dizzying heights, the altitude may reduce your perceived fitness level and there’s the risk of altitude sickness.
  • The facilities are very basic so don't come expecting a resort experience.
  • The Silverton Mountain lift is only open Thursday to Sunday which makes it a little difficult to work into a road trip itinerary, but the upside is that the powder piles up Monday to Wednesday (unless a private group has rented out the ski area).

Silverton Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The 1,819 acres (736 hectares) of in-bounds terrain is serviced by one chair lift, an old relic retired from Mammoth Mountain in California. The other “lift” is an old bus that is used to return skiers from the backside to the base area. From the top of the chairlift at 12,300 feet there’s hiking along a ridge up to 13,487 feet that enables access to a huge variety of lines. Silverton is a humbling mountain, if not for your ability, at least for your lungs!

The Silverton Ski Area terrain includes open alpine bowls, chutes, drop-offs, and lots of steep tree skiing. The challenging slopes are not manicured, so if you lose your nerve there are no groomed runs on which to bail out. Considering the slow chairlift, the degree of hiking, and the potential wait for the bus and others in your group, you may only get 4 to 5 runs a day.

Silverton Snow

The snow falls in abundance at Silverton, with an average of 400 inches (10.2 metres) per season. And as is typical of Colorado, the powder is light and dry. Better still, there are low numbers of visitors each day, so the likelihood of skiing or riding fresh powder is pretty high. Thursdays in particular can be epic if it’s been snowing early in the week because Silverton is only open Thursday to Sunday.

Whilst powder is common at Silverton, naturally there are times when there’s corn, crust or avalanche debris, so you need to have the skills to be able to ski or ride any sort of off-piste snow conditions.

Guided & Unguided Skiing

For most of the season, only guided skiing is available with a capped number of guests per day. Riders are put into groups of up to 8 with standard guiding, or private guiding is also available.

Late in the season, unguided skiing is also a possibility. During these off-peak times, it’s still possible to get guiding with the added benefit that the guides will take you beyond the unguided boundaries.

Where is Silverton Colorado?

Silverton Mountain is located in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado. The Silverton Mountain ski area is 6 miles from the town of Silverton. Silverton is about 50 miles north of Durango (and the closest airport) and only 30 minutes from Purgatory Mountain Resort. Telluride ski resort is not far away as the crow flies, but it’s about 75 minutes away by road (and incredibly far away from Silverton in the opulence stakes!).

Silverton Lodging

There is no lodging at the Silverton Mountain ski area, but there is inexpensive Silverton hotel and motel lodging in the nearby historic town. Don’t have high expectations of the mining town of Silverton being party central. With a population of about 500 people, it’s small and sort of cute, and thankfully there are no longer lewd women hanging around Blair Street!

Silverton Accommodation Listings

Facilities

When it comes to the facilities at Silverton Mountain, you should also keep your expectations really low. The facilities are housed in an old school bus and a big tent, and they make the day lodges of the New Zealand club fields look fancy. A basic sack lunch is sold at Silverton, but otherwise there are no dining facilities available, unless you call chocolate bars and packets of chips “dining”. In addition to renting avalanche safety equipment and backpacks, they also have powder skis and boards for rent.

Heli Skiing at Silverton

Silverton heli skiing is another option for avid powder hounds who want the backcountry fresh tracks experience, but want to save some energy for riding down the hill rather than hiking up. Packages available include single runs or a 6 run day.
Tours In/Near Silverton

Safari (Road Trip) Tours

SW Colorado Powder Tour
GUIDED PROGRESSION SAFARI
11 Nights | 9 Days Skiing | 5 Resorts
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Get off the beaten path in South West Colorado away from the crowds where you can have the powder all to yourself. Resorts visited include Telluride, Purgatory, Crested Butte, Silverton & Monarch Mountain.
Price p/p From price based on twin/double-share room occupancy.
Base/invoice currency is in USD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
AUD 6,954
View Details
 
See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Silverton here

Heli Skiing Tours

Telluride Helitrax - Day Heli Skiing
TELLURIDE DAY HELISKIING TOUR
6 Runs of Powder Heaven!
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Solo skiers/boarders, small groups & larger groups can enjoy an epic day of heliskiing at Telluride Helitrax. And if you’re skiing at Vail or Aspen, they can organise a same-day charter flight (fixed wing aircraft) to get you to Telluride. Have an awesome day heli-skiing & be home in time for dinner with the family!
Price p/p From price based on single day of heliskiing (6 runs) per person for 2021 season.
Base/invoice currency is in USD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
AUD 2,022
View Details
 
See all Heli Skiing tours that visit Silverton here
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