Aaron Brill's dream is finally about to come true. Since 2002, Silverton Mountain, Brill's single-lift, expert-only ski area in southwestern Colorado, has had to operate under strict Bureau of Land Manage-ment rules: Only 80 skiers per day, everyone accompanied by a trained guide. But after an exhaustive five-year study—addressing everything from lynx habitat to avalanche safety—the BLM has released a plan that would allow Silverton to accommodate 475 unguided skiers per day. Good news for Brill, but better news for skiers. A lift ticket for unguided skiing will cost roughly $40, as opposed to the current $100 to $120 guided rate.
At press time, the plan still faced a 30-day public comment period, but BLM officials said no complaints had been filed. If all goes according to plan, you could be enjoying low-budget, unguided powder days as early as April. "When everything is final, says Brill, "we'll take as many people as we're allowed—and let 'em loose.