Silverton Mountain is treating locals to half-priced early bird season passes. Sales began Aug. 23 for the $399 price. Half-priced standby heli drops, 14 free ski days at other Colorado resorts (four days at Arapahoe Basin, five days at Monarch Mountain, five days at Loveland), and $79 standby guided skiing are also included. The season pass price returns to $799 once a predetermined number of early bird passes has been sold.

Unguided skiing and riding is one of Silverton's greatest assets. Ticket prices never have been raised for this access. Extra December $49 unguided ski dates have been added this year so skiers and riders can capitalize on ample snow and no holiday crowds. December often can be one of the biggest snow months at Silverton. The all-time monthly snowfall record was set in December with more than 200 inches accumulated in a single month.

Taking advantage of early season unguided skiing will be easier this season. Silverton has added 30 new chairs to their lift. The jump from 59 to 89 chairs increases lift capacity by 50 percent, vastly decreasing the turnaround time for runs. Reducing space between chairs will eliminate the rare line that forms for the first chair on a big snow day.

Lodging deals at Silverton will cap off a reason to make this December, and season, to remember at Silverton.

More information. Or call 970-387-5706.