Silverton Mountain & the Ouray Ice Park

This past weekend just reminded me yet again for the thousandth time how much I love the San Juans. I had never skied the infamous Silverton Mountain before and when an invitation from our friend Gavin Chapman who works at the Trane Company in Denver asked a few of us engineers if we wanted to go this year, I, of course, had to go. I feel like we’re a pretty fun group of engineers and not your stereotypical, unpersonable engineer types. I think Gavin seems to think so and feel lucky that he invited us for a pretty cheap weekend as most everything was comped by the Trane Company. Silverton Mountain is my kind of ski mountain. One lift, no crowds, hike-to terrain, and steep powder runs in a backcountry ski setting. There are a few times during the season when you are allowed to go unguided, but for the most part everyone must go with a guide, which is absolutely fine as they really know the mountain like the back of their hand are are great folks. Fellow friends & engineers Jake Blevins, Zac Wurth, Mike Santoro, and our CAD wizard, Trevor Cochran, all joined in on the great weekend. Trevor doesn’t ski so he provided great moral support and drank enough beer for us while we were skiing on the mountain. Kristine also went as well after we all pitched in for her lift ticket on Saturday (Kristine & I have a hard time paying for lift serviced terrain, but this was a worthwhile exception). Gavin’s fiance, Kelly, also came with their lab puppy Bela and it was so awesome hanging out and skiing with such great people. Gavin really was the man of the weekend in hooking us all up with the lodging at the White Wolf Haus, the meals, and the lift tickets. Our guide was Josh “Bruce” Lee and a nice fellow named Yon from Ward, CO, rounded out our crew. I even ran into a fellow classmate of mine at W&L, Brannon Cook, at the Silverton Mountain warming tent whom I have not seen since our 10th year reunion in 2010 back in Lexington, VA. It was great to see him and hear that he and his wife are living it up as much as possible with trips to the Himalaya, a successful Kilimanjaro trek, and ski trips all over the country like this one to Silverton. We had a great time at Silverton Mountain and I cannot wait to go back someday when we have clearer weather for better views. Some pics of the day are as follows:

Left to right: Kelly, Jake, Kristine, & Gavin

Left to right: Kelly, Jake, Kristine, & Gavin

Left to right: Mike, Yon, Zac, & Bruce Lee about to drop in

Left to right: Mike, Yon, Zac, & Bruce Lee about to drop in

Bruce Lee heading out on our second run

Bruce Lee heading out on our second run

Gavin about to drop in on our second run

Gavin about to drop in on our second run

Mikey loving life

Mikey loving life

Jake dropping the knee

Jake dropping the knee

Kelly in good tele form in the trees

Kelly in good tele form in the trees

The crew hiking in not so ideal conditions for our third run

The crew hiking in not so ideal conditions for our third run

Zac loving the alpine

Zac loving the alpine

Left to right: Gavin, Kelly, Zac, Kristine, & Jake on our third run

Left to right: Gavin, Kelly, Zac, Kristine, & Jake on our third run

Jake getting low

Jake getting low

Mikey effortlessley sliding downhill on our third run

Mikey effortlessley sliding downhill on our third run

Kristine, Gavin, Kelly, & I took the run directly below Mikey in this picture and enjoyed steep untracked powder for about 1,200'

Kristine, Gavin, Kelly, & I took the run directly below Mikey in this picture and enjoyed steep untracked powder for about 1,200′

Mikey in the white room on our fourth run

Mikey in the white room on our fourth run

Mikey laying back

Mikey laying back

Sometimes I do wish I snowboarded for days like this as it is just a tad less work than telemarking in deep powder. Can you smell the sarcasm there?

Sometimes I do wish I snowboarded for days like this as it is just a tad less work than telemarking in deep powder. Can you smell the sarcasm there?

Jake on our fourth run

Jake on our fourth run

Mikey's snowboard wake

Mikey’s snowboard wake

Kelly making some nice turns

Kelly making some nice turns

Magnificient terrain

Magnificient terrain

Kristine & I at the White Wolf Haus in Silverton, our awesome lodging for the weekend

Kristine & I at the White Wolf Haus in Silverton, our awesome lodging for the weekend

After some eggs, biscuits & gravy, coffee, and NCAA Tournament basketball at the White Wolf Haus on Sunday morning, Mike, Kristine, Trevor, & I headed to the Ouray Ice Park for a little ice climbing while Gavin, Kelly, Jake, & Zac skied a second day at Silverton. I honestly was a bit envious of the ski crew as it was a bluebird day, but didn’t have the urge to pay $140 to ski the mountain again (we had one day of comped lift tickets) and we had planned on doing a little ice climbing and hitting up the Orvis Hot Springs anyway. Mike had never ice climbed before so this was a special day for him. I had yet to climb at the Ouray Ice Park this year, so it was great to get back on that awesome ice. Unfortunately, we forgot Kristine’s boot liners so she basked in the sun with Trevor and took some great pics of us. And, there isn’t much better than an hour dip at the Orvis Hot Springs in Ridgeway after some cold ice climbing to top off a great weekend. A few Ouray Ice pics are below (thanks to Trevor & Kristine):

Me starting up the fun ice climb I set up for myself & Mike

Me starting up the fun ice climb I set up for myself & Mike

Me topping out

Me topping out

Mike on his first ice climb ever!

Mike on his first ice climb ever!

Mike belaying me up a a more vertical ice section for my second lap

Mike belaying me up a a more vertical ice section for my second lap

I just love the Ouray ice

I just love the Ouray ice

Me traversing to the more vertical ice pillar

Me traversing to the more vertical ice pillar

Me topping out again

Me topping out again

Me belaying Mike from above and talking to Trevor

Me belaying Mike from above and talking to Trevor

A good few hours at the Ouray Ice Park followed by a good hippy dippin' hour at the Orvis Hot Springs

A good few hours at the Ouray Ice Park followed by a good hippy dippin’ hour at the Orvis Hot Springs

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