Christmas in Silverton

By John Davies
Published: December 26, 2010

I decided to come to Silverton for Christmas. Mothers—those bastions of Christmastime opulence—probably won't understand my reasoning. My mom, and the rest of my family, is skiing in Montana.

But I came here to do a different type of skiing and to be with a different sort of family. I arrived with one of my favorite ski partners, whose sister and her boyfriend are a part of Silverton Mountain Ski Patrol. Here, as Hans Ludwig described in the January issue of Powder, it's all about the skiing. The "lodge" is a tent with a woodstove and a couple of kegs, the bathroom an outhouse that sits below the helicopter and a school bus that houses backcountry equipment and Pontoons for Silverton's guests.

It snowed 77 inches since I arrived here. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were bluebird. Bombs fell from the helicopter while patrollers, mingled amongst the guests, shouted at us to cover our ears at the top of the (only) chairlift, charges exploding below us. Meanwhile, with only about 50 people skiing there, all it really took was good timing to be the first party to hike the short boot-pack up to Tiger Four and a Half. There, the skiing was blower. Inconsequential. Smooth. Sweet. Perfect. All the way down.

At the bottom, we piled into a vintage rusty truck that took us back to the chairlift so we could do it again.

This authentic, white and deep skiing trip, with one of my favorite ski buddies, was all I really wanted for Christmas.

Sorry Mom.