Friday, December 12, 2008

Silverton Mountain owner clarifies backcountry access issue

Aaron Brill, owner of Silverton Mountain ski area, sent the Almanac this clarification of yesterday's posting about public access to backcountry in the upper end of Cement Creek, above Silverton:
There was no request to discontinue plowing by me. San Juan County informed me they had decided to stop plowing the last .3 miles of the road to save money this year. They actually posted signs as such this October near Gladstone. I simply pointed out that since they had already decided not to plow to the end of the road and we would have to ski further to the shuttle, they could likely add another .5 to it without changing how badly it affected us as we may be able to ski down part of the way until it flattened out about .4 miles north of the ski area.

The lack of plowing would have a negative impact on us as we prefer to drive to the end of the road for emergency reasons and our skiers prefer the shuttle from the end of the road, but I suggested we could groom it to make it more tenable. We would still have to run our shuttle up the road, as there is another .4 miles from the end of the plowing to the base area.

There was no request to stop running our shuttles. This decision to terminate plowing early is all San Juan County’s deal and really has nothing to do with me other than I was trying to help them with their budget woes by being unselfish and cooperative when they told me about it. The lack of plowing will create some hardship for the ski area as we also prefer that they plow the road all the way, but we understand that they have serious budget woes and may need to make some sacrifices.

We all need to make sure San Juan County has enough money for county road avalanche control or the entire road won’t be open much at all, which is not a good alternative either. We pay thousands of dollars in direct payments each year to San Juan County for winter road maintenance to help keep the road open and know how bad their budget for CR 110 is this year.
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