Skiing Buffalo Peak

By George Bell (
Written June 1997

Saturday, May 31st (1997), four of us glissed the Silver Couloir on Buffalo Mtn above Silverthorne, Colorado. Our multi-talented group included 2 downhill skiiers, myself on a tele rig, a snowboarder and 2 gung-ho labradors.

We sloths slept in until 4am and then made the commute to Summit County and started the hike up at 6:30am. This couloir faces NE and gets sun at sunrise and we really should have started even earlier. It had been a warm night and we were soon post-holing in muck and cursing our late start. Fortunately there were people ahead who broke trail most of the way.

Bill and the dogs topped out around 8:30am with the rest of us trailing in at our own paces. It was a gorgeous day, but ominously warm. We sat and ate lunch, but soon snapped into our glisse-instruments for we were worried about wet snow avalanches in the Silver Couloir.

The first few turns were on perfect corn but this soon changed to a couple inches of wet mush. Where the two couloirs join, however, the center of the couloir had recently slid, exposing harder snow which had now turned to good corn snow. Another party of 3 was skiing down as well, and it turned into a whooping match to see who could appear to be having the most fun.

Small slush avalanches called for great caution, however; at one point the 2 dogs were engulfed in a slow moving slide that swept them down several hundred feet. We should have taken Lou Dawson's advice and aimed to be on the summit soon after sunrise.

The walk out turned out to be about 3 miles farther than expected. We followed the aqueduct much too far and had to do a long backtrack, fortunately over fairly flat terrain and no snow.

Trip Report Index ...