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At Silverton, Let Experience Be Your Guide

Silverton_GREAT mike barney photo with stormBy Aaron Brill

Silverton Mountains lead guide Aaron Brill shares the highlights and lowlights of some of the mountains most memorable clientele.

The best part of being at Silverton Mountain is the snow. Located in a special microclimate, Silverton Mountain tends to wring more light and powdery snowfall out of storms than anywhere else in Colorado, which can make for some very memorable ski days. The nice thing is, there are so many neck deep powder days, they all tend to become one big blur over the years, kind of like a never ending faceshot. Its a great feeling to carry with you every day.

All types of people come to Silverton Mountain to push their boundaries. I remember guiding an 80-year-old man who had all the confidence he needed to enjoy a wonderful day of skiing big mountains regardless of his age.

Another time I was skiing with a 60-year-old grandma and she was very nervous. On our first run, we rode the chairlift and hiked to a steep chute that 20-year-olds become nervous to ski. I could tell she had what it took even though she was not sure of herself. The funny thing is, I was training a first-year guide that day who lead the first pitch into this steep chute. After saying follow me, the guide promptly fell on his back and slid down the entire chute headfirst and disappeared into the abyss. Even after witnessing that, the 60-year-old skied the chute and did so better than her guide-in-training. The guide was unhurt, except for his pride.

Pro skiers and boarders are frequent visitors to Silverton Mountain. Pros are just like everyone else 90 CatHeliHike_SilvertonMountain_02percent of the time, but they have an extra gear they can shift into anytime they wish, which is when they flash that greatness the rest of us dont posses.

Some of my most favorite moments riding with pros include seeing Shaun White learn his gold-medal-winning tricks at Silverton Mountain, watching Sean Pettit stomp the biggest cliff drop ever hit at Silverton Mountain during the Red Bull Cold Rush event, and hearing Ian McIntosh snap his ski in half (from nearly 1 mile away) while heli skiing in a way only Ian can.