It was barely below freezing when we were greeted at 8.30am by a virtually empty Silver Star car park, on a clear Saturday morning. Silver Star is not a mountain I know in detail, and there’s been two new lifts added since we last skied here. So there was plenty of terrain to explore.
We warmed up lapping the Vance Creek chair on well prepared groomers. Next we played on the more gentle terrain in the new Silver Woods area. While cruisy, there’s been some nicely designed glading to create a few intermediate tree runs. The off-trail was softening by this time, so there was fun to be had.
Next we headed to the new Attridge area. There’s several exciting, if short, black runs here, but most were bullet-proof hardpack as they remained in the shade. So it was soon time for lunch and then over to Putnam Creek, where Silver Star gets very interesting indeed.
The Powder Gulch chair serves close to 600m vertical of predominantly steep, treed runs. My favorites, like Stardust and 3 Wise Men, are narrow filled-in creek beds, requiring quick turns on true double-black diamond descents. I absolutely love the skiing over here, its an advanced terrain paradise. Like Apex or Red, its possible to spend days hitting a different run or line.
The only downside of Putnam Creek is the long traverses that are needed to get to some of the runs, and then to get back to the chair. These probably explain the small number of snowboarders that are sighted around here. But it’s no real drama on skis.
One thing marred an otherwise excellent spring skiing day, and that was the fact that about half the double-black diamond runs in Putnam Creek were closed. I’d checked the web site that morning, and all runs were purportedly open. I even, ahem, ‘got lost’ a couple of times in the trees and ended up accidentally traversing in to closed runs like Chute 5 and Russty Whistle. The cover was excellent, the snow soft and inviting.
There was no explanation for the closures, and I enquired with one patroller who said they didn’t know why either. There may well have been a good reason, but it sure wasn’t apparent. And it’d be nice if the Web site snow report reflected reality.
Season totals: 43 days, 17 powder days, 336,400 verts