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Interesting article on the "development" of Silverton Mountain

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

http://snowboardmag.com/stories/building-a-dream-a-true-life-story-from-aaron-brill-founder-of-silverton-mountain

 

It is an interview with Aaron Brill about how he found his way to Silverton and got the ski area started.

 

Quote:
 I was on a budget and was going to do it with one rope tow because it’s easier to put in one lift. But most places have two lifts, the approach lift that covers the low-angle terrain and another lift to get up the steeps. So that limited it to a few places. Colorado was not on my list because I thought it was played out and I didn’t think there would be a place to build a riding area there. So it was Montana, Idaho, Nevada or British Columbia. Then somebody told me to check out Lake City, Colorado, which had a little town ski area and supposedly a big peak behind it. I looked at the maps and was like, “That looks pretty cool, but I bet we’re not going to get very good snow.” On the next page over was Silverton and I was like, “Whoa, that looks really good.” I came down for a site visit in the spring of 1999 and to check out three potential zones in the Silverton area, and on the second visit I was like, “Wow, this is it!”

 

I didn't know the Lake City story, or that New Zealand was the inspiration, or that he originally wanted a rope tow, etc. 

 

Another piece I hadn't realized is his comment that pretty much every other mountain in the area has a road up it- he's right. Roads were built to get to mines and then turned to 4x4 trails- but none on Silverton. I can't imagine digging out lift towers when the entire range is Rhyolite lava flows, basalt, and other volcanic rocks. 

post #2 of 7

That is a great story.  Does it really snow that much less above Lake City?  They would've had a bunch of nice mine roads to work with over that way.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by core2 View Post

That is a great story.  Does it really snow that much less above Lake City?  They would've had a bunch of nice mine roads to work with over that way.

It appears to get less snow, yes. Lake City has about 20 miles more mountains to block moisture than Silverton.

Here is a Google Earth snapshot of the mountain in question- "Old Round Top." It is pretty steep, but I see only a few slide paths and lots of areas under timberline that apparently don't get enough moisture to grow timber. The next mountain back (Red Mountain, but not the same as the Red Mountains around Silverton) looks nifty, but Silverton looks MUCH better in the terrain department.



And here is the town side of Storm Peak, the mountain Silverton was built on.

post #4 of 7

Awesome stuff Anachronism. I love that place, those mountains are probably my favorite in the lower 48. When things line up the skiing is unmatched imo. 

post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post


It appears to get less snow, yes. Lake City has about 20 miles more mountains to block moisture than Silverton.

 

 

Looking at those pics it definitely makes sense.  I don't know why but in my head I thought Lake City was slightly west of Silverton but it is the other way around.

post #6 of 7
That is really cool!
post #7 of 7
That's pretty much the exact story Aaron told me, while we waited for the heli.
I found it interesting about his early bias against," played out Colorado."
Also used to be a skier, but snowboarding was easier on his body.
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