Situated in a stunningly beautiful high alpine valley at over 9,000 feet, Silverton, Colorado’s Victorian row houses seemed out of place. As the crew from CU Boulder’s Backcountry Club and I unloaded our bags into one of these beautiful aforementioned Victorian-era homes, I stared up valley at the craggy San Juan mountains and couldn’t wait to ski them.

The Grand Turk, the Sultan, Little Giant Peak, and Anvil Mountain tower over the town.  While none are close to 14,000 feet, they’re the boniest,  steepest mountains I’ve seen in Colorado. Each flank descends nearly a vertical mile from summit to the valley floor, and the area has become known for its gnarly skiing and technical mountaineering.