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

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.