As we near closer to summer, we are also nearing the end of avalanche season. For many, this has absolutely no meaning, but for those living amidst the snow and mountains of the western US and Canada…it is as real as it gets. My mom’s drive to ‘work,’ has her driving past several avalanche chutes.
San Juan County is the least populous county in the state of Colorado. It’s located in the heart of the San Juan Mountains which have numerous peaks over 14,000 feet. As of the 2000 census, there were just over five-hundred residents in the entire county, most of which live in the tiny (yet largest in the county) town of Silverton, Colorado – which also happens to be the home of my aforementioned mom. How tiny? The one and only local school in the county has just over 50 students in grades k-12.
This is backcountry. And while it’s an old mining town, there is some new blood in town thanks Silverton Mountain, a unique, backcountry ski area where you pretty much make your own tracks. And this is not like other ski resort towns. You won’t find plush resorts like in Breckenridge or Telluride or Aspen. Here you won’t find any chains, no McDonald’s, Starbucks, or otherwise, and certainly no Holiday Inn.