Boarding @ Silverton Mountain

My brother and I decided finally to do a trip to Silverton to go Boarding.  I’ve been wanting to do this trip for about two years now.  Pretty much since I went with my friends down there but I didn’t think my skill level was good enough to take on the mountain (Turns out it really wasn’t).  We make our plans and booked a day for guided boarding, one Heli trip, and the rental for the back country gear needed to ride the mountain.

I had a few days of PTO that I needed to use up at work so I headed out of Boulder on Thursday afternoon.  Zip stayed with his step daddy in Denver and played with Dakota while I was gone.

Thursday I headed down to Ouray to watch the ice climbers.  I was there for a few hours thinking that this may be a sport for me to take up soon.  It’s pretty neat to watch them, especially the one that did a mixed climb from the bottom up using ice screws and some of the bolts on the rock.

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After freezing my toes off at Ouray Ice Park I headed back down valley a few miles and soaked at my favorite hot springs Orvis Hot Springs for a few hours.  I love that lil treasure of a place.  Then I headed to Silverton for the night and met up with Spence and his friends.

Friday we at breakfast at Brown Bear Café then headed up to Silverton Mountain for our adventure.  After getting our rental gear (You have to have an avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe before they will let you anywhere on the mountain) and getting grouped up with a guide we headed up the rickety old lift to the top of the mountain.  In our group we had Spencer, his friends Jake and Matt, our guide Mariah, the three Spaniards, and myself.

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The first run we went down was Riff Raff and holy hell was that steep.  I didn’t realize Silverton was going to be that steep of a mountain.  After that first run we lost one of our crew for the rest of the day.  He was in a little over his head.  The snow on Silverton this time of the year was pretty difficult to deal with.  Variable conditions where it would be hard pack one second then soft the next, and then hard pack again where a big ol chunk of snow would break off under you.

Shack at the Top of the lift at Silverton MountainSkier looking at the view from the top of the lift at Silverton MountainMe at the top of the lift at Silverton Mountain

The next run we went down (I think) was RMYP.  Not really sure what it stands for.  But it was a fun run with a bit of small trees to go around.  Sort of like a glade … only once again really steep.  Then we got to go for a hike on our next run and a tricky traverse which all of us snowboarders ate it at the same spot and had to get up and get going again.  We then boarded down to an area called the Maze.  It was a pretty interesting gully which at the bottom you have to go through some boulders with a gap of about 10 feet.  Quite the chute and the skiers had a hell of a time with it.  Though this one part was difficult for skiers, the rest of the mountain seemed to be made for them.  It made me really want to pick up some and learn how to ski so I can take on the steep mountains (not to mention back country is a lot easier to get around if you ski)

Making the climb up to our Traverse

After those runs we were pretty much done for the day as far as energy goes … only three runs and it was only noon.  All I can say is that mountain takes a hell of a lot out of you.  After a short lunch break we met up with our guide and worked it out so we could do our Heli drop.  We all loaded into the helicopter (Spencer, Matt, our guide Mariah, and I) and took off for a ride with some amazing views.  You could see the snow covered San Juan peaks for miles and miles.  Our pilot touched down and we got out crouching to the ground and held our gear down tight as the helicopter lifted off right beside us.  After he was away I snapped a few shots with my camera, then we hiked along the ridge line for a short bit and strapped in.

Loading up in the HeliView of the Base areaRidgeline the helicopter dropped us off onLookin out the helicopterView of Silverton Moutnain from the ridge we were dropped off onGroup Shot from heli drop

The Bowl she took us to can have some serious avalanche problems, so we went one by one with the next person going only after the one before him was safely down below in the trees.  It was loads of fun boarding through the deep snow (The only decent snow we had had all day)  And after a great run I got to the rest of them ( I was the last in the group) and had a major cramp in my leg.  Once again we had to go down another section one by one and I was last (I needed it to try to deal with my cramp) then we met up on the cat track and boarded our way down to the pickup point with the bus to take us back to base.

Back at base we got us some stickers and other goodies, a beer, and then all lined up for a shotski to close off the day.

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I can’t wait to come back to Silverton but hopefully next time they have some better snow Smile  And I’d recommend anyone to take a heli drop.  It’s worth the $159

…… Also … I would recommend a stop at Orvis Hot Springs on the way home.  It’s nice to soak in the lobster pot to loosen up your legs Smile

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