In its thirteen years of operation, Silverton Mountain has gained a reputation for being one of the ski world’s most unique ski operations, and one of the gnarliest mountains around. When founders Jen and Aaron Brill bought a helicopter seven years to add to their one chairlift, it took the bar even higher. The latest venue to be the chosen spot of free-skiing’s prestigious invite-only Red Bull Cold Rush, Silverton delivers on the hype.
The heli spiel takes place in the wood-stove heated, yurt-like tent at the base; where Jen delivers a no-nonsense talk and then out you go to ride the chairlift up to the mountain’s summit, where the heli-pad is located.
Once up in the air, the guides are accommodating –you can more or less point at a run in the heli terrain, and if the group agrees and Aaron gives the okay, the next thing you know you are on the top of some incredible San Juan couloir, ready to point your tips down the fall line. It’s a delightfully simple concept. You just get in the heli and go ski.
Silverton is a no-fluff, no nonsense operation that is all about the skiing, and taking advantage of the big, spectacular terrain in their backyard. If this is your style – and you are a good skier – Silverton is a fun and unforgettable experience, and has the pricing to fit a college kid’s budget or high rolling private ship options.
If You Go:
Travel: Fly into Durango, CO. It is about a one-hour drive to Silverton. A Silverton trip is extremely customizable, from small budgets to big ones; you can also book the heli and be picked up from Vail, Crested Butte, Aspen, Telluride, or anywhere else nearby and brought to Silverton.
Basic Package: Silverton is primarily a by-the-run operation. Heli-runs cost $159 each. You must also buy a lift ticket ($49-$139) to get to the heli-pad. Silverton runs a private option Mondays though Wednesdays. For $8,000 you get a private heli and two hours of hobbs time (throttle, in flight time), which adds up to a lot of skiing - usually fourteen or more runs.
Years in Biz: Seven years with the helicopter service
Size of Tenure: 22,000 acres
Snowfall: Over 400 inches
Size of Group: Four
Guarantee: If you don’t fly, you don’t pay.
How they Charge: One heli-run costs $159 plus a lift ticket. A full day of heli-skiing (six runs) at Silverton goes for $999 per person.
Here is an overview of the Zone 4 & 5 Hike-To Terrain at Silverton Mountain:
Check out some of the highlights from Red Bull Cold Rush at Silverton Mountain: