This past weekend, I joined some of my best friends for a weekend of skiing at Silverton Mountain and Wolf Creek in south central Colorado. Most of the guys went last year and I knew I had to go this year after hearing about their thigh-deep powder experience.
The trip started out kinda rocky when we left on Friday afternoon. There were 3 different cars that drove and we were the last ones to leave Denver. We took my car, but I had a friend drive since I'd had a late night on Thursday night. About 2 hours into the trip, one of our friends called us to warn us about the speeding tickets the other cars had gotten. In fact, one of the guys had gotten two! I handed the phone to the driver so he could find out where, but he had to cut the conversation short as the police car's lights started flashing in the rear-view mirror. If only they'd called us 5 minutes earlier!
After the speeding ticket delay, we pulled into Pagosa Hot Springs around 11. With 18 soaking pools, this turned out to be the perfect place to stay.
On Saturday morning, we woke up at 5 and drove 2 hours to Silverton Mountain. I didn't know what to expect at first. I had it in my mind that we'd be hiking for 5 hours and get one run in the entire day. I was pleasantly surprised to find you 1) ride the lift up and 2) hike to your run. We had a guide named "Ronbo" and our first hike took 1.5 hours. It was very steep and steep like a ladder in some sections. The White Wave run was awesome in the middle, but somewhat skied off at the top. The powder was around boot-deep and the weather was beautiful.
After a 2nd run and a much shorter hike, 5 of us decided we had to take the leap and do a heli-drop. We rode to the top of the lift, got picked up by the chopper and rode for about 2 minutes to a neighboring peak. This was by far the best run of the day and one of my favorite ski experiences of my life.
We figured we couldn't top heli-skiing, so 3 of us called it a day around 3 o'clock. We did 3 runs all day and we were exhausted. A couple guys took a 4th run and the guys that didn't do heli-skiing got 5 runs in. A 2-hour drive back, some fireworks in Durango and a night of soaking at Pagosa Springs made us all very happy campers.
On Sunday, we woke up and headed to Wolf Creek for a few hours. It was Local Appreciation Day and tickets were a mere $31! We did some hiking, found some powder and enjoyed some of the best skiing weather of the year. We hopped in the car around 2, kept the cruise control on 5-over-the-speed-limit and made it home in time to catch the Super Bowl (thanks to my DVR).
If you're in shape and are an expert skier, I highly recommend you take a trip to Silverton Mountain. It's truly epic.
For more pictures from this trip, see my Silverton 2009 set on Flickr.