Overall Rating

Silverton

Silverton3/512
Silverton3 out of 5 based on 12 reviews
  • Recommend
    75%
  • Would Revisit
    67%

Silverton - Reviews

Silverton - Reviews

One of the most Unique Special ski areas in the lower 48

Robert Brudenski26/02/2019
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    51-70
  • Month Visited:
    February

One of the most Unique Special ski areas in the lower 48

Robert Brudenski26/02/2019
A very special and unique mountain experience, steep and deep! All expert or above terrain. Guides that know their sh+t. Great staff. No frills. Adrenaline mountain! Loved the all day Heli, was a ski day I will never forget. Skied knee to waist deep powder ALL DAY, and with runs that were about 250 turns long. Just an incredible place. The town of Silverton is also great to stay the night and have fun. Loved it. Definitely will be back soon. Totally worth every penny.

Best day ever

Jill N.24/02/2019
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    February

Best day ever

Jill N.24/02/2019
Had a great day. The guides were professional the terrain was insane. I even got my first heli drop. I am not a backcountry skier, i am a strong resort skier who has been in the backcountry a few times a year and I loved it.

Best. Day. Ever

Tim22/02/2019
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    February

Best. Day. Ever

Tim22/02/2019
Amazing mountain. Great terrain. Passionate guides.

Baumann

Prawn01/02/2019
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    51-70
  • Month Visited:
    January

Baumann

Prawn01/02/2019
Four Runs. First two totally pristine with 15 inches of untracked snow. Last two runs less than 50% pristine with a long runout in a tracked out gully choked with avy debris. Less than 10k vertical for the day.
Because avalanche control is minimal at Silverton, we spent a good amount of time waiting as one skier at a time descended. The consensus among the locals in my group, was that we would have skied much more untracked snow had we gone to another nearby resort that day. On a powder day at my local Tahoe resort, I can score more untracked turns than at Silverton along with 30k of vertical before my legs give out.
Cost $179. I can't say the price was worth it. Perhaps the heli-skiing, which I did not try, is worth the money?
The spectacular San Juan scenery is very cool. Silverton will give resort skiers a taste of back-country skiing. Hiking is mandatory. If you are coming from sea level, wait a few days to acclimate before you go.

Deserves 4 stars when unguided...but they just axed unguided skiing there.

Michael26/10/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    December

Deserves 4 stars when unguided...but they just axed unguided skiing there.

Michael26/10/2016
I'm a 17 year resident of Silverton, and of Telluride and Durango before that. I've also lived in Aspen, Jackson, and Alaska. I only moved to Silverton because of the promise of a New Zealand-style minimal infrastructure advanced/expert ski area in North America. I was Silverton Mountain's most vocal supporter and volunteered as a patroller/guide there the first few years it was open. Now that they've cancelled all early season unguided days, leaving we locals with 3 to 4 unguided days in April which I'm sure will be gone by the 2017-2018 season, I'm feeling that there's nothing left to lose by giving my honest assessment as a hardcore sleep-in-your-car powder chaser of my so-called home mountain:

When UNGUIDED and when not plagued by an ever-growing number of private property disputes that have made several of my favorite runs unskiable, Silverton Mountain on a good day deserves 4 stars. Why not 5 stars? It certainly has nothing to do with the crappy slow lift, the crappy dangerous shuttle vehicles, or all the hiking involved. It's mostly due to poor glading, especially of small saplings in the major chutes. And because there are no bumps. When there's no powder, bumps are my refuge. Couldn't care less about groomers. Both issues would be very easy to solve if the mountain was run unguided every day of the winter as their current permit is written. Running Silverton Mountain as regular albeit challenging ski area (did you know their permit does not require a beacon/shovel/probe?) would create some great bump skiing/riding that would provide loads of fun during the few times there is no powder. Likewise, more skiers on the lift means more money for glading. And for gosh sake, no one complains about the hiking, but buy another used double-chair for the backside and eliminate the cheesy shuttle vehicles. Then I'd give it 5 stars by North American standards. But after becoming famous in the ski media for creating the ultimate ski area for dirtbags, they are just using this place to sell heli-trips in Alaska and to impress ski magazine reporters.

Which brings me to the guided skiing. True core skiers and riders - the type of people that Silverton Mountain was built for hence their name Core Enterprises, Inc - will mostly hate Silverton Mountain unless they bring seven of their equally fit buddies and score a really cool guide. There are always good and bad days, of course. But nothing sucks like being force-marched up a mountain ridge past fields of untouched powder which you're being told is reserved for "someone else" (i.e. ski reporters, film makers, friends of the owners, and some winter sports celebrities who can't afford all-day heli service like Sean White, Jonny Moseley, and Justin Timberlake types). Or being mixed-in with a bunch of strangers of very uneven fitness and skill levels. Or getting a guide that's either not as experienced as yourself, or who may be experienced but lacking in people skills. If you're less fit than others in your group, you probably won't get more than a run or two in before exhaustion and peer pressure force you to quit. And if you're super-fit, you'll experience a lot of waiting around for people you've never met. How do I know these things when I've never paid for a day of guided skiing there? Well, besides having actually been there in the early years when we thought we were building the next Mountain Baker or Bridger Bowl, I own a small ski lodge and talk to Silverton Mountain skiers every weekend. And I hear the same complaints over and over again. Because I recently started criticizing how the so-called ski area is managed, I'm banned from advertising on their website anymore. That's not why I've written this extremely accurate review. I've wanted to do it for years. But banning me from advertising has finally set me free to give my honest assessment.

Guided skiing was a temporary program the federal government created in 2002 to allow Silverton Mountain time to go through their environmental, safety, and permitting process. They erected their lift on private land before receiving their permit to allow skiers on the public land surrounding the lift. It's a wonder the government allowed them to operate at all. But once the full permit was issued in 2006, guided skiing was no longer required. I and others were led on for years by the owners, telling us that they were going to spend several years easing their way into winter-long unguided skiing. But all they were easing their way into during that time was heli-skiing, the exact opposite of a dirtbag New Zealand-style clubfield. Now they've gone from a high of 23 unguided days each winter to 4. The lift is open less and less days each winter because all they care about is heli.

And it's not even the Silverton heliskiing they care about. They've opened four Silverton Heli Guides basecamps in Alaska. That never would have been possible without the ridiculous amount of attention they received from bedazzled ski reporters who keep suggesting that Silverton Mountain is a real ski area for guys like me. Well let me assure you, there is no ski area in Silverton for guys like me. Nearby Purgatory is strictly for intermediates. All there is in Silverton for guys like me is the backcountry. I reluctantly agreed as a lifelong wilderness advocate to give up some prime backcountry terrain in Silverton in order to have a minimal infrastructure advanced/expert hill that would bring 475 skiers a day, six months a year to the poorest town in Colorado. I did not agree to give up public land for a private playground that brings 80 skiers a day, 4 days a week, for 3 months of the year. They should use their permit as written, or lose it.

A quick word about heliskiing in Silverton: There's a reason why pay-per-run heliskiing is somewhat affordable at Silverton Mountain. There are two tiers of heliskiing: budget and elite. Budget heli drops are within the boundaries of the ski area on terrain that is more easily controlled. Just as with the guided lift-served skiing, you will be powder farming, laying your lines side-by-side on heavily tracked-out runs. The elite all-day heliskiers get taken outside the ski area into real backcountry. Budget level heli drops also require the purchase of a so-called lift ticket (for guided-only skiing) in addition to the cost of each heli drop. Elite heliskiers, don't forget that there's a reason why heliskiing is practically non-existent in Colorado's dangerous snowpack. You'll see lots of runs that look as hardcore as those you see in Alaska and BC. You probably won't be skiing them, no matter how good you are.

Skip it if your competent in the BC

Tom Collins08/03/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    February

Skip it if your competent in the BC

Tom Collins08/03/2016
I read the other reviews on this site and I could easily have written them myself if I was a certain type of skier. For example;

1. You're mostly a resort skier and don't have much/any avy training: You'll have fun getting a taste of the potential that exists in BC skiing.

2. You're single skier looking for a slice of the San Juan BC: This is a safe way to do it.

BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY:
You've got a pack of pals and are competent in the BC: SKIP IT! You would have more fun planning your own tour. Go to Telluride and ski Bear Creek if your friends are too lazy to skin. Silverton babies the clients and the extreme terrain is mostly marketing. Silverton has the potential to fill a pretty unique niche but they aren't doing it in a way that you are likely to feel good about having spent the time or money on. That was pretty much the consensus from our group of skiers. We left feeling excited to get out of the Silverton straight jacket. We weren't crazy about our guide (Sheldon) either.

No matter what type of skier you are, if there's good snow, you're going to have a good time. But that's true anywhere.

The nightlife is non-existent. But that should be obvious..and not your draw.

MY RECOMMENDATION: Don't plan a trip here unless you fit into category 1 or 2. Even then I think your time and money is better spent elsewhere.

True hardcore resort

Daniel Sherwin01/07/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    18-35

True hardcore resort

Daniel Sherwin01/07/2015
Silverton would have to be my favourite of the Colorado 'resorts'. It's rough, there are no services, the town is tiny, there's only one lift and it runs slowly and intermittently (but reliably in my experience). There are no pistes. There's a higher than usual chance of injuring yourself on the extremely steep terrain...

And in return, you get an uncrowded, ungroomed only backcountry style resort. This is kind of Gulmarg in the states. Get a group of mates together and make the most of the snow! The terrain is absolutely unbeatable. You can essentially go as big or as hard as you like here.

I noticed one fairly poor review of this place. I think it's the kind of place you need to arrive with and maintain the right state of mind. You need a group of people with similar characteristics - similar hiking speed, similar terrain capabilities and hopefully a desire to make the best of the conditions. Sometimes it is icy, sometimes it's tracked. Sometimes the avalanche risk in certain areas is a concern. If you move past these issues and focus on the upsides of such a place, you'll enjoy it far more.

Rating systems are unfair to places like this. If you prefer to hike and explore and push the boundaries, if terrain is more important than a fancy drink at the end of the day, this is a 5 star destination. It's not for everyone but it sure is perfect for me!

Best suited to: the hardcore skier or boarder who is happy to hike for terrain. Grab a group of mates, get a guide, find the goods.

Pros:
Uncrowded
Awesome terrain
Steep
Almost certainly untouched snow available
Lift-accessed 'backcountry'
Heli operation also available

Cons:
Lower number of runs per day
You have to hike!
No pisted runs
Skiing/riding can be difficult when icy
Only lift is a fairly slow, double chair which is only run as a couple of groups arrive at the bottom
Silverton town puts itself to sleep pretty early each night and doesn't have a lot in the way of services

Great visit

Stefan03/01/2014
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Intermediate
  • Rider Age
    18-35

Great visit

Stefan03/01/2014
An amazing experience. We had snowfall every night and great riding conditions 2 out of 3 days. I would recommend a 2 day visit, not three.

Then head over to telluride! Awesome area to snowboard in.

Great Terrain--Poor guide

Greg22/12/2012
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50

Great Terrain--Poor guide

Greg22/12/2012
We were excited to go, but rather disappointed during the day. We were placed in a group that had 5 first time visitors to Silverton, and 3 "regulars" who had been to the area every week for the past 6 weeks. The guide catered to the "3" and treated the others in the group like we didn't exist.

He continually told us that areas were closed due to avy hazards, while we watched group after group ski deep powder in the closed areas, while he took us to skied out mogul fields that the "3" wanted to ski.

Also, they had a helicopter special going on that day and all we heard all day was like a time share presentation as to how we should be paying for a helicopter ride if we wanted the good powder runs.

The terrain and area was absolutely beautiful, but our guide was AWFUL and the areas we skied reflected this.

I would go, but be very careful with the group you get put into in the morning.

Pow! Pow! Pow!

Guillermo29/03/2011
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    51-70

Pow! Pow! Pow!

Guillermo29/03/2011
Just got back from two days at Silverton. Amazing! Only got in 5 runs each day but they were some of the best I've ever done, and that includes Cat and Heli. It snowed both days and so we had fresh tracks till the end. In fact the last run was the best.

The first hike was the most difficult even though it was only 15 minutes or so. After that my body and mind knew it was worth it and pushed waiting for the payoff.

I'm already planning a trip or two for next year.

This program is making me rate Piste Trails - there are none, but that's not what you go to Silverton for.
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