Early winter marks the beginning of boot-packing season at Silverton Mountain. Last weekend, more than 200 hardy souls braved the cold and deep snow to help prepare Silverton Mountain's steeps for the upcoming ski season. Boot-packing consists of walking, stomping and trudging through the early snowpack in order to break apart any layers, release air pockets and compress the snow. The snow compaction helps to develop snow stability. Bootpacking is not an easy chore, but well worth the effort once one reaps the rewards: deep powder turns. Bootpacking days continue at Silverton Mountain on Dec. 9-12, offering hardy skiers and snowboarders the opportunity to get out in the mountains, get in shape, make a few turns, and earn a ticket to ski Silverton Mountain. Packers should show up at Silverton Mountain at 8:30 a.m., with beacons, shovels and probes, and ready to get stomping.


Doug Evans powers through the waist-deep powder as he trails a group of fellow boot packers.

Patroller Chris Engelhardt reaps the rewards of his efforts as he glides effortlessly through the snow.

The more people the better when it comes to snow compaction.

The well-equipped boot packer: sunscreen, duct-taped pant legs, and an avalanche beacon. Jessica Higgens feels the burn as she pumps her legs through the deep snow.
A lot of bodies compacting snow is crucial to skiing this natural avalanche terrain.
Near the summit, an early morning hike with breath-taking views begins the day to start control work.
The bull wheel begins the process, lifting eager boot packers to the top of the ridge.





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