(Last Updated On: February 7, 2010)
Last Thursday, Brittany and I got up early and headed down to Silverton to check out the conditions there. Many of the storms rolling through Colorado had hit the San Juans pretty hard and we hoped to find a deep snowpack that would put the local conditions to shame. That isn’t exactly what we found on day one, but we did manage to find some decent snow and a lot of peaks we’d like to come back to ski someday.
We wanted to head upvalley and do some exploring. Our backup plan, if we didn’t see anything else, was to ski these somewhat popular tree chutes:
These peaks at the head of the valley captivated us as we headed up the valley:
It was great to be skinning in a whole new area, exploring as we went along..
As in the Crested Butte area, evidence of slides from the last storm cycle were everywhere:
These slides, plus our unfamiliarity with the area or the snowpack, led us back towards the first chutes we had checked out earlier. Although there was a skintrack on the other side of this large knoll, our exploring had taken us to the other side and we had to make our own way up the backside, which was fine and we still popped out in the same place. Another group felt more comfortable with the conditions than we did, and centerpunched this fine looking line:
The skiing was good, but the warm temperatures of the previous days had dropped plenty of treebombs, making the skiing a little variable. (Treebombs result when huge pillows of snow drop off of tree branches and compress the snow where they fall.) Brittany:
From there we headed down to town to visit our friend Bruce who had invited us to stay with him in Silverton. We went out to dinner and were treated with a Moroccan dinner complete with belly dancers. That certainly wasn’t expected in sleepy little Silverton, nor was the skiing equivalent of running into rockstars, since most of The North Face’s ski athletes were there as well, filming with Silverton’s Heliskiing operations. All in all it was a terrific first day in Silverton, stay tuned for our report from the next day…