Silverton Mountain, Colorado's highest, steepest ski area, is open. You can read about every Colorado ski resort in the Edge, our winter sports guide, as we roll it out online. Each description lays out what's new, what the signature experience is, what to splurge on, how to go cheap and, of course, what to drink.
What’s new: Silverton is for advanced and expert skiers and riders only, so if that’s you, then you’re going to need to put it at the top of your list: The mountain averages 400 inches of snow annually and has already been getting dumped on for the past two months. With a top elevation of 13,487 feet and 1,819 acres of in-bounds terrain and 22,000 acres for you to hike (or take a helicopter ride) to access, you’re definitely going to enjoy yourself here. Plan to bring or rent an avalanche beacon, shovel and probe, and plan to hike anywhere from five minutes to an hour to get to the good stuff. Oh, and plan ahead: Only eighty people are allowed on the mountain at a time, so you need to book a slot in advance (or show up and hope to get in on the standby list). “Silverton Mountain is pretty close to the most pure skiing experience one can find today: an epic mountain, bountiful snowfall — the deep and light Colorado kind — and none of the distractions of other ski areas,” says Chris Davenport, a longtime star of the Warren Miller Entertainment ski films.
Signature experience: For “the best $179 you will ever spend,” says co-owner Jen Brill, book a single drop in the helicopter at Silverton.
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Splurge: A single drop in the heli isn’t going to cut it, is it? Nope. Pony up the $999 per person for a seat in the all-day heli, which includes six runs. Visit ColoradoHeliSkiing.com for other helicopter packages, including all-day private heli trips around Silverton, Aspen and Telluride.
Ski bum tips: Buy “Crazy Eddie’s Silverton Sunday Pass” for $69: it’s good for five Sundays of skiing or boarding during Silverton’s scheduled “unguided” season (from January 8 to March 27, much of the terrain at the ski area requires a guide). And get ready to be surprised by the low price of staying in town. “Silverton is the only ski town in Colorado where winter is the off-season,” notes Brill. “All hotels and food will be sharing off-season low pricing.”
Drink locally: Beers in the base-area yurt are an end-of-day tradition, as are stiffer drinks at the Montanya Distillery tap room back in town.