Frequent Questions for Unguided Trips

How does this place work?
There is one lift and you typically hike along ridgelines. We have guided and unguided skiing, depending on the time of year (see later questions). It is all advanced/expert skiing only.

Do I need to jump off cliffs to ski here?
No. Although we have plenty of cliffs, unless you are looking to hit them you will be fine keeping your boards on the ground all day.

What time should I arrive?
The lift starts at 9 am. The ticket tent opens at 8:15. For an unguided day, you can arrive whenever you like.

Are there any shuttle services to Silverton?
YES! New for 2011-12 local Silverton Shuttle business check them out at
Link to website
Phone number 970-769-2259

Can you refill my BCA Float cylinder?
No, but Splash Down Diving in Durango, CO is an authorized BCA Float cylinder refill station. Check them out at Splash Down Diving

What do I need to bring?
Ski/snowboard boots. Bring your own snowboard bindings and hardware. There is no running water at the ski area, but there is bottled water for sale. It is a good idea to bring layers of clothing.

Do I need to bring my own avalanche equipment or can I rent from you?
You need to have a beacon, shovel, and probe to ski or snowboard. We have these for rent. Each item can be rented separately. We have DaKine packs for rent (which the guides use) if you need a pack that carries skis/snowboard. If you need to rent equipment you may easily do it when you book your reservation.

What kind of ski rentals do you have?
The best skis on earth… K2 super fat skis are available for rent with the best selection of powder boards. You can reserve them online when you make a reservation, or by calling. The size and all fittings will be taken care of that day by our rental professionals.

Do I need avalanche training to ski/snowboard there?

Do I need skins or snowshoes for the uphill travel?

Do I need to make a reservation for unguided skiing?
No, but you can if you are concerned or traveling long distances.

Is it going to be powder everywhere?
As exciting as it can be to ski Silverton, it is important to maintain realistic goals for your trip. Many days can be ‘all time best of my life’, but there can also be times when the premier lines have to stay closed due to avalanche hazards etc. The film crews wait until perfect conditions of good snow stability combined with fresh snow (which is why it always looks so good on film). Those used to high speed lifts and banging out 30 runs in an hour have a tougher time adjusting to the Silverton pace. Those who enjoy the excitement of exploring new lines and quality over quantity find themselves right at home. Few go home however without being enjoyably exhausted at the end of the day.

When is unguided skiing?
See Schedule of Operation Page

Can I still get a guide during the unguided skiing season?
Absolutely. Guides are available year-round, and we recommend skiing with a guide if you’ve never been to Silverton Mountain. The price is $99 and includes the lift ticket.

How many people are allowed on the mountain during unguided skiing?
Less than 475.

When and how much is guided-only skiing?
See Guided Skiing Page

How much vertical does the lift provide?
Just under 2,000 feet

What days are we open?
See Unguided Skiing Page

When does the mountain close for the day?
Lift stops uploading at 3 pm.

Is there an age limit, can I bring my kids?
Seven is the youngest we’ve ever had at the mountain, and because there is a good amount of hiking, kids often tire fast but they are welcome. People under 18 need their parent to sign a waiver. You can contact us in advance.

How many lifts?
One, it’s a double.

What about food and water?
We have lunch orders available for $12 a day, you can order in the morning. We have water, soda, beer, liquor and a full bar at the mountain. Snacks and candy are available, but bringing your own food as a supplement is also a good idea.

Where can I stay?
Please check the Lodging Page . There are many different options.

Is there camping in the area?
Yes, you can camp on the road on the way to the ski area but you need to move your car if snows in order for the plow trucks to get through.

What skis should I bring?
The fatter the better. Bring equipment you are comfortable with that way if you don’t like the rental skis (which never happens) then you have your old standby to trade into.

1) Figure out which way is North once you hit the top of the mountain. The mountain has all kinds of exposures and depending on the wind direction, the wind will usually load some aspect extra deep. Some areas will always be deeper than others, but if you stay north it is a good place to start, unless of course the wind loaded south sides that day.

2) Hikes of longer than 25 minutes usually close by 1:45. Be sure to arrive early if you want to hit the longer hike-to terrain. Ski patrol needs time to sweep at the end of the day and the more distant areas usually close first. Terrain options get scaled back near the end of the day, so don’t wait until the end for the classic run. Last lift upload is at 3:00pm.

3) Follow the sun. Hit the Backside first, then Westside. The Backside gets the sun first so the snow will usually be best if you hit it first. In the spring the backside will usually close at 11am due to wet snow avalanche hazards.

4) There is usually new terrain open every day. If you want to hit the distant hikes it is usually best to wait a few days after fresh snow. The ski patrol needs time to open new runs and they keep working further out each day. Hikes beyond 45 minutes usually require a guide, but the majority of the terrain can be accessed without a guide. However guides can ski runs before they open to unguided skiers when conditions allow.

5) You can usually find fresh snow for two weeks after a storm. With 1,819 acres and only a few skiers a day, you might see a bunch of people at the base area (because the parking lot is so small), but once you get up top there are so many nooks fresh snow abounds. You just have to look for it. Obviously the areas that can be seen from the lift get hit first and most often, but they might not be the best so keep looking beyond the main drains and you will find it.

6) Certain areas of the mountain have thin cover all season long, regardless of what type of snow year it is. Snow does not fall in an even blanket in high alpine mountains. A foot of fresh will likely not leave any of the new snow on the ridge tops but deposit it in favored locations. The ridges are usually thin all season as the wind scours the snow from them and loads it on the slopes. Super steep areas like Waterfall Ramp, Two Smokes, Skid Mark etc. are thin all year because the snow has a tough time sticking to these steep rocky areas. You just have to accept that it is thin for a short section in those areas and enjoy the great snow above and below them. Snow settles rapidly, so 3 feet of new snow will be usually be reduced to 1 foot of new snow within 24-28 hours.

7) There will always be sucker tracks heading to big dead end cliffs or ice falls on the backside. Don’t assume if someone else made it, that you can also. It is always best spend 5 minutes to hike up 30 feet and traverse around cliffs than to keep heading down into “no mans land”. Scout before you drop and you can find all sorts of fun.