Silverton Mountain Wants to Diversify Their Heli-Skiing

Published on July 15th, 2015 | by Leanne Rowley

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One of North America’s best all-expert ski areas, Silverton Mountain, is asking federal officials for permission to diversify the terrain of their helicopter skiing operation. With only one chairlift, North America’s highest ski area with a peak of 13,487 feet, and over 400″ inches of snow each year, experts flock to this insider ski area in southwestern Colorado. And while most people who ski or snowboard Silverton Mountain will do so using the old double chairlift and a hefty dose of cardio (hikes range from a quick 15 minutes to a 1.5 hour slog), the mountain’s heli-skiing operation is growing in popularity. Now, Silverton Guides has asked the Bureau of Land Management to allow the company to access new terrain.

silverton mountain photo

Photo by Zach Dischner

According to the Durango Herald, Silverton Mountain has not asked for moreheli-skiing on the mountain. Instead, the request would diversify the heli-terrain within the Alpine Triangle, “a so-called ‘special recreation management area,’ made up of more than 150,000 acres managed by the BLM.

Silverton Mountain’s base would be directly across from the terrain under consideration, and all of the proposed terrain is currently above tree line. “The purpose and need for the action is to provide an increased opportunity for a high-quality, diverse and challenging recreational experience,” the BLM notice says of the request.

But some people aren’t thrilled about changing the designation of where Silverton Mountain runs their heli-skiing operation. Some have raised concerns about the short public comment period run by the BLM (comments are only available until July 17). Others don’t like that a change in terrain could limit where locals can ski. Still others fear the environmental ramifications.

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