Last year while watching the Winter X Games, I caught a glimpse of where Shaun White was training for the Winter Olympics. He had worked out his own private half-pipe with a huge airbag at the end to perfect some insane trick. This was all happening at a magical place called, "Silverton" (in a whisper voice). I quickly googled the mountain and was instantly convinced that I needed to be there the following winter. Several months went by and I pretty much had forgotten about the epic dream. Then, as the snow started to fall in the Cascades that next fall, it all came back to me.
I quickly put a group email together and invited all my snow buddies out to this magical place, "Silverton"(in a whisper voice). Many were interested but only three took the plunge. On this journey would be Marc Nager (CEO Startup Weekend), Donald DeSantis (Co-Founder LIFFFT) and myself.
We caught a plane down to Denver and then another to Durango. From Durango we had a sketchy drive into Silverton which rests at an elevation of 9,318ft. Catching some good shut-eye was not an easy task. I felt like my resting heart-rate was at 140bpm.
Our first day was sunny and started off in a helicopter. A first for all three of us and somehow I managed to forget to take any pictures inside the chopper. Thankfully, Donald and Marc snapped a few good ones on their phones here, here and here. The riding was pretty epic but we all suffered massive core shots and had to take our sticks in for some tuning at the end of the day.
Day two was a bit of an adventure. We started our first run hiking to the top of the mountain, climbing to about 13,000ft. It was about an hour trek and the lungs were gasping like a fish out of water. There was definitely some mountaineering on this hike as we held onto a rope with one arm and climbed like a three-legged dog up the rocky terrain. Let's just say I was fucking scared. We made it to the top and the ride down was pretty damn amazing. We slashed through some narrow shoots and were greeted by knee deep powder for most of the run. We celebrated the amazing day with some beers in the tent and headed back down to town.
Day three. Was. Epic. Unfortunately Donald didn't make it out with Marc and I. After each run, we discussed how guilty we felt that Donald wasn't experiencing the life-changing events that were taking place. Every run was so damn amazing! We hit trees, alpine, chutes, gullies and everything in-between. It had snowed around a foot and everything was perfect. We celebrated with some night riding and Budweiser at Kendal Mountain followed by getting our groove on at The Miners Tavern.
With all the snow that fell, the highway was closed for a bit for avalanche control the next day. This made our journey back home a bit interesting but we made it.
If you're interested in riding at "Silverton" (are you whispering yet?), keep in mind it's super dangerous and not like riding at an average resort. The payoff is well worth it but you have to be patient and willing to work for your runs. You won't be disappointed.
*Images shot on Canon G15 and edited with VSCO Film 2 in Adobe Lightroom 4.