Silverton is perhaps the most unique resort in the country: one old-school double chairlift services its nearly 2,000 acres of expert-only terrain. And to even get on the lift, which often closes down in high winds, you must have avalanche gear, including a beacon, shovel, and probe. If this seems a bit daunting, don't be deterred: guides are mandatory from January to late March, and they'll take you to the freshest snow on the mountain and keep you safe — leaving you to focus on having fun. No more than 475 skiers per day are allowed on the mountain, so lines are non-existent. But you should be in extremely good shape to enjoy this treasure: you'll do a lot of hiking and side-hilling to find the powder stashes. The tiny base area also has a helicopter that allows access to another 22,000 acres of enormous back bowls, tight chutes, and gnarly glades, all for only $179 per person per flight. Regular tickets are $139, with guide.
Where to Stay: Nearby Silverton is the only option for lodging, and The Teller House, a fully restored Victorian hotel, is a good bet. But if you're with a group, the far better option is to rent a house in town through VRBO or Airbnb.
Insiders Tip: In April, when the avalanche conditions are calming down, the resort offers tickets for unguided laps for just $49 per day — one of the best deals in all of big-mountain skiing.
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