The “Million Dollar Highway” refers to the 25 mile stretch of road (Highway 550) that connects ski areas between the towns of Durango, Red Mountain, Silverton, and Ouray. This scenic, yet terrifying, drive ascends and descends over Molas and Red Mountain Pass by way of countless hairpin, cliff-scaling turns. The highway is thought to be named after the construction materials used: discarded gravel and dirt from mines that was later discovered to be valuable ore, “worth a million dollars.” Today, however, I like to think of the highways as worth a million dollars in powder and historic adventure.
It was early spring and we were hungry for extreme skiing and adventure; a trip down this highway seemed ideal. We started off in the earth-friendly and relaxed, town of Durango. A historical place with a college town feel, Durango rests on the edge of some of the state’s best skiing. One of my favorite places, a little off the beaten path (thank goodness for smart phones), is the bakery, “Bread.” Bread’s logo is “make bread not bombs.” This hole-in-the-wall joint resonates with locals. We found it packed at 7:30 in the morning with morning commuters thirsty for cappuccinos and fresh baked goodies. Soon, we were off to the first resort on the highway.