Durango Telegraph - The new shape of Silverton Mountain
The new shape of Silverton Mountain

Silverton Mountain Ski Area became one of the Colorado’s largest operations last week. The expert-only ski area has purchased 164 acres of mining claims, increasing the size of the ski area and ending a long-standing legal battle with neighboring property owner Jim Jackson.

The 164 acres are adjacent to the existing boundaries and brings the ski area up to 1,819 acres of skiable terrain. According to owner Aaron Brill, the purchase means no more hoofing it up the long “stairway to heaven” traverse and hike, no longer having to avoid private lands within the ski area and the opening of cliff studded, previously off-limits terrain.

“It’s great news for us and all the people who ski here,” he said. “It was kind of a pain in the butt. To get to the north side of the mountain you had to traverse and hike about 20 minutes instead of a quick trip up the ridge. It will also open up some pretty terrain, chutes we’ve

been ogling for years.”

Silverton Mountain and Jackson had been at odds over property disputes for the last seven years. According to Brill, Jackson recently lost a lawsuit against Silverton Mountain and was awarded one lonely dollar in damages by the court. The purchase of the 164 acres resolves all litigation between the three parties and avoids condemnation of Jackson’s property by San Juan County in order to allow avalanche control.

“We’re excited to finally be able to stop focusing on legal fees and start focusing more on the mountain,” Brill said. “On-mountain improvements for us mean having more of the mountain open more of the time.”  

At 1,819 acres, Silverton now surpasses Telluride as the sixth-largest ski area in Colorado.

– Will Sands

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