Here in the San Juan mountains we are blessed with some of the deepest snow and steepest ski terrain in the Continental US. Silverton Mountain and the surrounding wilderness peaks offer a backcountry experience worth traveling for. Like any backcountry area this does not come without risk. While exploring the backcountry is an endeavor we believe is worth the effort, avalanche equipment and safety training are must.
Over the past 10 years an average of 27 lives are lost each season to avalanches in the United States. We don’t want of our guests to be among the statistics. So, before you had out in to these beautiful mountains make sure you have the proper functioning equipment, the knowledge of avalanche safety, and have checked the conditions.
Avalanche Safety Equipment
Airbag Equipped Backpack:
Avalanche Safety Training
Nothing will beat on the snow training in front of a live expert and we happen to have a wonderful courses offered here in Silverton by the Silverton Avalanche School. They run classes throughout the season and classes can be booked in advance through their website.
If you need a refresher or just can’t make it to a live class online courses are better than nothing and Know Before You Go based out of Utah just launched a free online course for the 2018-19 season.
Regardless of how you get your training; make sure you get it. Avalanche safety equipment is useless to you and your partners if you lack the skills to use it effectively in an emergency
Know the Conditions
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) publishes up to date forecasts for areas all across the state with detailed information concerning. While this provides a good reference nothing is better than your trained observation on the ground.
An avalanche safety course an teach you how do dig a snowpit and make your own assessment by looking for weak layers in the snowpack. While the general forecast from CAIC can tell you a lot about general conditions only an assessment you do yourself will inform you about the specific conditions on the specific slope you are exploring.