Meet Your Silverton Guides: Jeremy & Jess

Every month, we’re featuring two stellar Silverton guides at the ski area so you can get to know what makes them so awesome and why they devote their winters to showing you the best terrain in Colorado and beyond.

For January, we’re recognizing Jess Wegert and Jeremy Yanko. Both of these guides started their guiding careers at Silverton Mountain, and are still here to enjoy the incredible terrain and snow found each winter. Read on to find out why they keep coming back to the steepest and deepest terrain in Colorado every season.

Jess Wegert

Sometimes Jess snowboards with K2 Lockjaw poles, which is a great idea at Silverton Mtn! Photo: Calvin Davenport
Sometimes Jess snowboards with K2 Lockjaw poles, which is a great idea at Silverton Mtn! Photo: Calvin Davenport

How long have you worked at Silverton Mountain? Since 2010.

What do you love about this ski area?  I love the people that I get to work with every day. There’s so much mountain experience, knowledge, and wisdom within the staff, and each day I get to work with these people is a true treat.  Silverton Mountain is a dynamic place to hold a job which means that my duties are continually evolving, which helps to keep the job from becoming routine.  All of these things together make for a really exciting place to work.

What is your favorite thing about skiing/snowboarding here and in general? The options and diversity.  Silverton Mountain has something for everyone: awesome treeline runs, wide open alpine bowls, steep rocky chutes, and the list goes on. There’s the lift to help get up to a tremendous amount of hike-to terrain.  It really is an extreme shredders dream.

Is there a particular factor that made you want to be a professional guide? Working here has helped me realize that I can share this experience of riding in our beautiful mountains with people from across the country and from all around the world.  The best thing to hear after a day of guiding is “WOW thanks for such a great experience!” Hopefully, I can help to send home an increased appreciation for the mountains and the environment that I live in.

What is your Go-To Gear? I have to go with Venture Snowboards. I started riding Venture when I began guiding a Silverton Mountain, and have since become one of their Ambassadors. I love supporting a local manufacturer committed to sustainability, and prefer the feel and durability of their bomber solid core board compared to every other board I’ve owned.

What is your favorite memory of Silverton Mountain? I will never forget the first time I ever hiked to the top of the Billboard in 2005. The beautiful views and excitement of the climb were great, and then looking down the rock lined awesomeness of the Dope Chute only made it better.  I knew then this was the coolest place shred in Colorado, and that if I ever wanted to live in Silverton I would have to figure out how to get a job here. I never looked back after that experience.

Jeremy Yanko

Jeremy knows where to find the goods. Photo: Ian Matteson/Backcountry.com
Jeremy knows where to find the goods. Photo: Ian Matteson/Backcountry.com

How long have you worked at Silverton Mountain? I am entering my 12th Winter with Silverton Mountain.

What is your favorite thing about this ski area? I love the adventure skiing at Silverton Mountain. You have to thank the terrain for the most part, but each rider can embellish and relish in the adventure by choosing to hike for turns or ski remote terrain all day via helicopter. Most runs are not straight forward and have some component to manage whether it be the classic constrictions on the East side, or attempting to nail good conditions as the wind, sun and temperature do their magic on the West side.

Why did you become a Professional Ski Guide? Silverton Mountain lends to creativity as you play the weather and choose where to go based on team strengths and, of course, where the coldest powder is located. The mountain has a wonderfully high elevation where the snow tends to stay consistent or a little storm can go a very long way.

More generally, Silverton Mountain is a good place as the staff is a tribe who recognize the genuine skiing experience, and it shows how psyched we are to be here doing this job. We’re fortunate to enjoy and share this funky ski area all season long.

What is your Go-To Gear? I have been continually impressed with K2 Skis, especially the versions that are 120mm underfoot or wider, and their ability to take such a hammering everyday and still provide a fun ride all season long.

What’s your favorite Silverton Mountain Memory? My favorite memory of Silverton Mountain is a culmination of memories skiing on storm days. They are simply the best and pretty damn tough to beat!

Ready to meet Jess, Jeremy, and the rest of the amazing Silverton guides? Make your guided skiing/snowboarding reservation here.

Banner photo courtesy of Crystal Sagan

Meet Your Silverton Guides: Calvin & Kim

Every month, we’re featuring two stellar Silverton guides at the ski area so you can get to know what makes them so awesome and why they devote their winters to showing you the best terrain in Colorado and beyond. Check out January’s addition about Jeremy and Jess here.

For December, we’re recognizing Kim Grant and Calvin Davenport. Together they have two decades’ worth of experience giving guests the best days of their lives. Read on to find out what makes them tick and why they are fully committed to the Silverton Mountain Experience.

Kim Grant

Kim Grant Silverton Guide
Kim with another great group of clients

How long have you worked at Silverton Mountain? This winter is my 13th season at Silverton Mountain.

What is your favorite thing about Silverton Mountain? I love the camaraderie here.  I love the crew.  I love that we laugh every day.  A lot of the crew has worked together for many years; we know how each other operates.  We know each other’s strengths, we know what needs to be done and we get it done safely and efficiently.  It’s not easy — it takes a lot of hard work and discipline — but it’s also a lot of fun.

The terrain, the snow and the fact that everyone gets a taste of the goods everyday are my favorite things about Silverton Mountain in general. The San Juan Mountains are some of the most magical mountains in the world.

Why did you become a Professional Ski Guide? A guiding career kind of fell into my lap one day, so I wouldn’t say there was one thing in particular that made me want to be a professional guide.  But, when I decided to take the opportunity seriously, I realized that this is what I wanted to do.  I worked hard to make a name for myself in the industry and earn the respect from fellow guides.  My favorite thing about guiding (besides making a living by being outside, ha!) is helping and encouraging people to accomplish things that they didn’t think they could or would do otherwise.  I believe getting out of your comfort zone, whether physically or emotionally, is a good way to build inner strength and character.

What is your Go-To Gear? Definitely my K2 Hellbents and all of my cozy North Face gear!

What’s your favorite Silverton Mountain Memory? I don’t think it’s appropriate to talk about my favorite Silverton Mountain memories here to protect the innocent…but I will say that I will never forget the celebration of John Clauson’s life (former Silverton Mountain assistant snow safety director who was diagnosed with Leukemia) and the salute we gave him at the top of the billboard.  Generally my favorite memories are a time line of the Mountain from the beginning days when there were just a few of us, to watching the mountain grow to what it has become today.

I am happy and proud to be a part of this unfolding story of Silverton Mountain.

Calvin Davenport

Calvin silverton guided
Calvin leading the way into new terrain

How long have you worked at Silverton Mountain? I have been a Silverton Guide for the past 7 seasons.

What do you love about Silverton Mountain? I love Silverton Mountain because of it’s relaxed atmosphere.  On a powder day there is no race for first chair and great snow can be found all day long.  I really like returning to the base area with my group after a run and the place is deserted, nobody in sight.  We walk to the bottom of the lift and ask the operator to start the chair.  Silverton Mountain feels like your own personal ski area.

One of my favorite aspects of being a Silverton guide is exploring new places on the Mountain.   There’s tons of terrain to check out and even some of the most experienced guides are still finding new lines through our the seemingly endless trees.

Why did you become a Professional Ski Guide? Skiing has always been my passion.  I grew up ski racing, and learning how to carve the perfect turn at a young age provided me with a solid base to further my love for the sport.  I found ski racing to be fun but I grew tired of training all day.  About that time, the first pair of twin tip skis were produced and skiers started entering the terrain parks.  It didn’t take me long to make the transition from ski racing to freestyle skiing.  I loved freestyle skiing and did some competitions throughout high school, but at age 20, I fractured my Tib/Fib and missed an entire season of skiing.  When I returned to the sport a year later there was still some pain in my leg, so I knew I needed a change.  I then decided I wanted to learn all I could about “big mountain” skiing.  I didn’t know anyone who skied in the backcountry, so I needed some mentors.   Interning at Silverton Mountain seemed like a great way to learn from some of the best.  Since then, becoming a professional guide has just been the natural progression for me as a life long skier.

What is your Go-To Gear? I own many pairs of skis, all of them are K2 fat skis. As long as they are fat, like the K2 Pontoon, I know I’m gonna have a good time.

What’s your favorite Silverton Mountain Memory? My favorite memory of Silverton Mountain happened before I started working here.  It was my initial introduction to the mountain.  I was 12 years old and skiing with my dad and all his friends.   I was able to out-ski all the old men in the group, but was completely exhausted by the end of the day.   Our guide for the day planted a seed in my mind with one statement.  He said, “Hey, you’re a pretty good skier, maybe you should work here one day.”  A lot happened between my first ski at Silverton and making the decision to come work here, but I feel I owe a portion of it to the first guide I skied with as a kid. Heck, that guide might have been John Shockley.

Ready to meet Kim, Calvin, and the rest of the amazing Silverton guides? Make your guided skiing/snowboarding reservation here.

The Best Gear for Silverton Mountain

Silverton Mountain is one of the best places in the world to put ski and snowboard gear to the test. Much of the ski area is in the alpine, meaning your outerwear needs to be perfect to keep you in your element. The snow is usually deep and the terrain is always steep, meaning you finally have a reason to buy some fatties and put them to use every day of your trip here. A beacon, shovel, and probe are required to ski or ride every day we are open, and our guides train with their gear regularly, quickly finding critical flaws that may be unknown to those who leave their gear in their pack for most of the season.

With all of this testing going on, we think the following gear for Silverton Mountain is what you need to have the best time anytime you head to the ski area.

Skis & Snowboards

First off, the best things to strap to your feet are K2 Fat Skis or a Venture Snowboard. In particular, you’ll most likely see the K2 Pinnacle 118, the K2 Powabunga, and the classic K2 Pon2oon skis attached to our guides’ feet. Those who have skied here know that fat boards make everything better, from the somewhat deep days to the all-time deepest day of your life.

The guides who prefer one plank instead of two will most like be shredding the Venture Storm (recognize that graphic?) or the Venture Zelix. These are the toughest boards on the market and made in the town of Silverton, Colorado. Our staff couldn’t be more proud to ride such amazing snowboards, and since splitboards are not necessary to ride at Silverton Mountain, grab a locally made fat board and shred with the best.

For our 15th anniversary season, you’ll see our two-plank staff riding on Marker Bindings. These bindings are renown throughout the industry for setting standards and driving the industry forward. The Royal Family series feature wider platforms and adjustable anti-friction devices in the toe, allowing rubber-soled ski boots to fit without compromising the release when needed. You do not need touring bindings to ski or ride at Silverton Mountain, so don’t compromise quality for the descent and get the best bindings around to really optimize your turns.

Outerwear, Optics, & Gear


The weather at Silverton Mountain is something fierce. From sub-zero temperatures during pre-dawn avalanche control routes to hot and sunny Springtime corn fiestas, our guides rely on The North Face day in and day out to keep them comfortable on the mountain. Using a mix of the Summit Series and the Steep Series (and always with Gore-Tex), our guides are always comfortable on the mountain at any time.

As for sunglasses, goggles, and helmets, our guides and staff have sworn by Smith Optics for years. You might have noticed that our guides almost never hike on the mountain wearing goggles, and some never wear goggles at all. That’s because Smith sunglasses are just so good. For those that do wear goggles and brain-buckets on the descent, the compatibility of Smith goggles and helmets is second to none.

The beacon, shovel, and probe you choose matters a lot. No one wants to be in a dangerous situation with unreliable gear. That’s why the Silverton Mountain staff relies on Backcountry Access (BCA) for the lightest, strongest, and fastest avalanche safety equipment. In particular, the Tracker 3 and the Float Pack system were added to the mix during the ’15-’16 season, much to the approval of the guides and patrol who train with this equipment throughout the entire season and beyond.

Don’t just take our word for it, all of these products are available for demo during your time at Silverton Mountain. Make your reservation, get the right gear for Silverton Mountain, and have the best trip of your life.