Nestled deep in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado off U.S. Route 550 on a section known as the Million Dollar Highway, lies an unsuspecting mountain town that has lived through the boom and bust of the mining era and is now home to one of the most unique big mountain operations any rider can encounter. Silverton Mountain is a snowboarder’s paradise that offers access to immense terrain through the use of one lift, accessible hikes and heli-drops. An experience unlike any other, Silverton offers guided, unguided, single-drop, and all-day heli access to over 22,000+ acres that receive over 400+ inches of pristine pow annually.

The mountain is owned and operated by Jen and Aaron Brill, a dynamic couple that has poured their heart and hard-earnings into making this mountain the best and safest backcountry entity since it first opened on January 19, 2002. Since then, their dedication to the single-lift operation, which features only advanced and expert runs, has been lauded as one of the best big mountain experiences one could have.

Last season, Harry Kearney, Telluride local, big mountain badass and one best banked slalomers of our time, ventured to Silverton along with Jerry Mark, photog, Aaron Dodds, and enlisted head guide, Skylar Holgate, show them the goods. Scroll on to get a glimpse of Silverton through their eyes and see what it’s like to saddle up and send it in this southern Colorado shred mecca.

“The best way to experience Silverton Mountain is definitely with a guide. They take you to the goods, and especially if it's your first time, it’s well worth having someone show you around, let alone keep you safe. If you can drop the coin for a heli bump, it’s well worth it. Compared to a full day or weeklong type trip you could do in other places like AK or Canada, it’s a great way to get that same experience at a fraction of the price.” -- —Dodds

“My favorite element of Silverton’s terrain is the diversity. You can ride couloirs, gullies, glades and pillows all in a day. And because the mountain wraps a whole ridge, it covers all aspects so there’s always good snow. And that’s not even counting where you can go with the heli…” —Harry

“The overall vibe of Silverton is very real. You’re there to ride and that’s exactly what you get. Before you get on the lift you have to have your beacon, shovel and probe and there’s a safety discussion with your guide where everything is lined out. It’s always a trip coming up out of the shade at the top of the lift into some sunny alpine. ” —Harry

“Despite being a guided operation, Silverton Mountain (and Silverton as a whole), is pretty wild west and almost has lawless feel. Especially in the winter where the populations goes from just over 2000 in the summer to about 550 in the winter. Most ski towns explode with population in the winter but it's a bit different in Silverton, as it’s the exact opposite. I think that’s an interesting aspect of the vibe in Silverton.” —Dodds

“The terrain is the biggest thing that separates Silverton from other mountains.  Other mountains might have glimpses of what Silverton has, but Silverton as a whole is just on another level. My favorite elements of the terrain at Silverton is that it’s all very steep, but also that there’s good variety of gladded trees, gullies, cliffs, chutes and if that’s not enough, theres’ plenty of ways to pucker yourself with some serious lines with big exposure too.” —Dodds

To people that haven't experienced Silverton before, I tell people to go check it out because it’s real. You find yourself much more immersed in your experience of riding, because you and the mountain become much more intimate. I’ve never been to another ski area that facilitates that feeling like Silverton.You ride your face off all day then celebrate with beers in the tent by the wood fire stove afterwards.” —Harry

Jen and Aaron Brill run an excellent operation that's steep, deep and pretty darn cheap! Silverton is raw, exciting and fun as hell. It’s real riding in real mountains under the tutelage of some of the best guides in the business. Are you ready to rip?

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