You do not need to make a reservation for unguided skiing but if you are coming from far away it is a good idea. The chair starts spinning at 9am and last chair is at 3pm. All guests, including season pass holders, must check in at the tent before boarding the lift.
Reservations close 24 hours before the ski day.
2019 – 2020 Unguided Dates
March 18 – April 19, 2020; Wednesdays – Sundays. (Guided Only skiing/snowboarding the remainder of the season)
- Guides are available for those who want guided skiing during the unguided season
- Guided skiers are allowed beyond the boundaries to certain areas of the mountain during the unguided season on a daily basis, as per BLM safety regulations
- These areas are constantly shifting around the mountain based on snow safety with loads of great terrain for both.
With 1,819 acres, Silverton Mountain has more unguided expert terrain than any ski area in North America.
more info below…
Tips for getting the most out of an unguided day
- Ask the ski patrol/guides questions! They search out the goods all season long and love sharing secret stashes with you!
- 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, certain areas may load extra deep. Some areas will always be deeper than others, but north is usually a good place to start, unless the wind loaded south sides that day.
- Hikes of longer than 25 minutes usually close by 1:45pm. 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.
- Follow the sun. Hit the backside first, then westside. The backside gets the sun first so the snow will usually be better earlier. In the spring the backside will usually close at 11:00am due to wet snow avalanche hazards.
- 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. Guides and guided skiers can ski runs before they open to unguided skiers when conditions allow.
- You can usually find fresh snow 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 many nooks and crannies where 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 gullies and you will find it.
- 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 usually be reduced to 1 foot of new snow within 24-48 hours.
- 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. If you miss a traverse, is always best spend 5 minutes to hike back up 30 feet to avoid cliffs rather than to keep heading down into ‘no mans land.’ Scout before you drop and you can find all sorts of fun.