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opinions of Silverton

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Okay, I know everyone who's skied there says it's a phenomenal experience, but on a practical level, what's the scoop? Is it a viable area, or something that will be cool for a few years and then peter out?

Any guesses as to the changes that will be brought by the allowance of unguided skiing?

Those of you who have gone, will you go every year, or is it a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing (esp. those who are not "local" -- even though local is a misnomer, considering the location of Silverton).

Will it be able to survive without a "base area" or does it matter?
post #2 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown
Okay, I know everyone who's skied there says it's a phenomenal experience, but on a practical level, what's the scoop? Is it a viable area, or something that will be cool for a few years and then peter out?

Any guesses as to the changes that will be brought by the allowance of unguided skiing?

Those of you who have gone, will you go every year, or is it a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing (esp. those who are not "local" -- even though local is a misnomer, considering the location of Silverton).

Will it be able to survive without a "base area" or does it matter?
I hope Aaron an Co. make it. The model he has going is awesome. It's so refreshing to go to a place where all the workers care about is skiing and riding. They don't care about maximizing the revenue from the F&B operations, except for being able to pay for the next keg. They don't care about setting up the next cool retail shop stocked with this years latest fashions (but you can buy a t-shirt or two.) I really think these guys have a chance at being around for a while. They're not making wads of cash, but they don't have huge expenses either. Nor do they seem to care about making wads of cash.

I don't think they need a base area at all - as long as there's somewhere warm to eat lunch things will be fine. The town of Silverton, normally a quiet community cautious of new stuff, seems to be pretty happy about the whole situation. Even the limited number of skiers brought in so far has made a few businesses viable year-round. The big question is, what will happen to real estate in the area. Telluride is now out of the price range for mere mortals and it's increasing the value of everything even remotely in the area. Could Silverton be on the verge of a huge real estate boom? I bet people were asking the same thing about Avon 20 years ago.

Approval of the EIS and unguided skiing will change the place quite a bit. I've asked them a few times what they're planning to do and I haven't really gotten an answer. Frankly, I don't see how they could open the whole mountain to just anyone. I suspect they'll have to do some combination of guided/directed skiing and roped off areas where anyone can go. The biggest change is they'll have to run the lift continuously.

For me it's definitely an every year or few times a year thing.
post #3 of 11
The terrain there will keep most skiers away from that area. i would say that at least 80% of the skiers who come to Colorado would never attempt anything close to what Silverton has to offer. The skier who goes to Vail, Beaver Creek, or even like here in Park City don't want to work to hard for thier turns. for the most part they are the ones with the income to afford the 2nd Home or Condo. They are the ones who want the shops fine dinning and the rest. I see silverton as a trend to get back to basics. It is Heli skiing and Cat skiing with out the mega expense of high priced equipment. i think more people will look at silverton and do something like it in other parts of the West. small inexpensive to operate places that offer a near back country type skiing.
post #4 of 11
I should admit up front that I have never skied Silverton Mountain, but I have been backcountry skiing the terrain surrounding the area for 15 years, starting before the lift was put in. I know literally dozens of people that have skied Silverton Mountain, including a group that was there last Sunday. The reactions to skiing there run from “it sucks and is a rip off” to “it was great skiing and definitely worth it.”

The terrain is all very steep, and I would agree that 80% of skiers would not be up to it. You usually end up having to do at least one 30-45 minute hike at 12,000 ft., some of it on exposed ridges. Because of the avalanche danger and the steep terrain, most of the skiing is one at a time. The guide makes 10 or 15 turns and stops, and then everyone in the group goes one at a time. This makes for a slow run. Almost everyone I have talked to only got 4 runs for their $125, although one friend did get 6 runs.

A huge part of their terrain consists of steep avalanche chutes, most of which funnel down to narrow gullies at the bottom. Early season you must ski rocky narrow gullies with bumps to finish the runs. The exit point for one side of the area is a parking lot that is used by backcountry skiers. One day early last year I talked to 4 guys that just came down, and 3 of them had core shots. Once the snowpack is deep enough you just ski bumps or ave debris at the bottoms.

Last Sunday there was a foot of new. Since they need to “farm” the snow they do not let you go where ever you want. My friend said that the guide would repeatedly instruct the group of 8 skiers to stay to the left of his track, and then set it 15 feet from other tracks forcing them to ski in each others tracks while looking at acres of untracked snow next to them. They also use the premise of wanting you to experience the entire mountain as an excuse to have you ski on aspects that have bad snow, while other aspects are much better. They understandably want to spread the best experience to as many people as possible, but consequently you may not get to ski the best snow on the mountain every run.

If you are going to go there you should definitely have your own group of 8, or you may be stuck with people that are way over their heads, and you will be reduced to skiing/boarding to the lowest common denominator. Many of the people that have skied there in the Spring liked it because the corn snow was good and stable, and they could let it rip a little more.

Of the many people I know that have skied there, about 60-70% said it was worth the expense for the unique experience, but only about few of them have gone back for a second time. I believe they are still only taking 40 guided people a day out, but they are about to double that amount. If they allow unguided skiing it will have to be in limited areas, and they will end up with steep bumps and scraped chutes. Their logo is a guy falling off a cliff (yeah, really), and with the terrain as steep as it is, if they have unguided skiing I would think you would have a real danger of skiers and equipment coming down on you from above in many places.

In re-reading this it seems pretty negative, which was not my intent or my perception of Silverton Mountain. What Brill is doing is a fantastic concept, and they seem to be doing a pretty good job with what they have to work with, and all the b.s. they have had to go through. It appears to be a unique high mountain ski experience that you cannot get anywhere else in the country without climbing or heli skiing. I guess what I am trying to say is that Silverton Mt. has gotten unbelievable positive press coverage, but the reality of the skiing may not quite live up to the image they are projecting.
post #5 of 11
Silverton is the home of my GO HUGE! mtb riding buddy Josh Bender. JB also rips on the monoski. I plan to visit Silverton some time this Spring.
post #6 of 11
Mudfoot nice post, I did not see it as negative. You gave an honest opinion, both the good and the bad. my Nephew has done some snowpacking for them in the early season.In return they offer a free day of skiing.
post #7 of 11
I haven't been, but my ski buddies went last season and had an ok time. They mentioned the "snow farming" and not being allowed to ski where they wanted to. On the flip side, if Silverton is promising everyone fresh tracks they probably have to do some careful track management. I hope to find out for myself.
post #8 of 11
I'll be there in about 3 weeks and report back
post #9 of 11
excellent... if you see Josh Bender on his monoski, tell him you know Agent O (that would be said "oh" and not "zero").
post #10 of 11
I skied there last April, made the mistake of going with the
"slow" group so I could take photos. two or three people dropped out after two runs. The hiking up high and grabby snow on the lower mtn were too much for them. My main gripe, which is a big one for me, is being forced to ski squiggly, "old school" powder lines in the bowls; ripping Wolf Creek was more fun than matching the guides mellow lines. I'll go back when the "farming" of the snow is not required.
post #11 of 11

Canyon View Motel

My friend's mom owns the Canyon View Motel in Silverton. Has anyone stayed there? I hear it's inexpensive and sounds casual and cool.
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