Silverton Mountain Heli-Skiing Terrain Could Be in For a Change

Some are concerned about a controversial project to diversify heli-skiing terrain around Silverton Mountain. By Leslie Hittmeier

Husband-and-wife owners of Silverton Mountain, Aaron and Jen Brill, have asked the Bureau of Land Management to allow their heli-guiding operation to access new terrain. Why? The couple is looking to swap high avalanche danger terrain for lower elevation, moderate terrain. This will result in an increase heli-skiing opportunities for everyone.

Here are some things to know:

– Silverton Mountain in Colorado is an all-expert ski area and the only place in the lower 48 you can heli-ski just a single run.

– Silverton Guides’ currently operates within the Alpine Triangle, a special recreation management area made up of more than 150,000 acres managed by the BLM. The proposed terrain is also within this boundary.

– The proposal calls for trading northern terrain pods for neighboring pods that have safer terrain.

– Silverton’s base is directly across from the proposed terrain.

– This would not be an expansion, it would be a modification.

– The proposal states that no terrain will be closed off. This is public land we are talking about, people, it’s open to everyone. Since the proposed terrain for heli-skiing is on public land, some people are kind of pissed. Those who currently enjoy backcountry skiing on foot in the proposed terrain don’t want to have to deal with helicopters and avalanche control run by Silverton Guides.

– The proposal is only in phase one. There is still an environmental analysis to do. Some fear that not enough time will be put into analyzing the environmental impact heli-skiing in proposed areas could have.

– You can have a say in all this! Federal officials have extended the time for public comment to Aug. 17.

– County officials are still working on scheduling a public hearing to talk about this thing.

– Stay tuned for updates.