The Ski Mountain
Located between the world-renown resorts of Breckenridge and Vail, it’s easy for vacationers to overlook Copper Mountain. But, if you want a mountain that’s easy to navigate, is Denver-close, and has the same variety of terrain as those better-known resorts for a lower price, look no further. The lift lines are short. There are plenty of off-piste activities, such as snowshoeing and snowmobiling. And the terrain naturally separates skiers by skill-level which enhances the skiing experience, since beginners don’t have to worry about some hot-shot screaming by and ruining a meticulous wedge turn, while experienced freestylers need not fret about a novice teetering dangerously into the jump landing area. Better yet, this small resort has a friendly home-town vibe that makes the village feel like a neighborhood.
The Mountain Experience
If Ferris Bueller lived in Colorado, Copper Mountain is where he’d take his day off. Known as “the home of the snow day,” the resort offers a special ski pass that lets you ski free when there’s lots of new snow. This may be why Copper has such a happy vibe. After a big storm, half of the people on the mountain could be there just because they checked the website at 5:30 a.m. and decided it was a good day to call in sick. Traditionally, Copper’s “Snow Day Pass” costs $99 annually and gets you in free on any day when the resort has more than four inches of new snow, which happens an average of 30 days each season. That gives the resort a playful local vibe. The moment you hit the mountain, you’re likely to feel part of a tight-knit community.
Copper Mountain Ski Terrain:
• Beginner: Stand at the bottom of Copper Mountain and you’ll understand why the mountain is so easy to navigate. The terrain starts gentle in the west and becomes gradually steeper and more advanced as your gaze swings east. Beginners glide to the right for the three western-most lifts that access close to 2,000 vertical feet of mellow slopes and plenty of elbowroom to practice. ——————————————————————————————————————
Current Snow Conditions
• Intermediate: The middle portion of the mountain consists of primarily blue runs with a light freckling of blacks. Accessed by three high-speed chairlifts, lift lines are generally short and sweet, even though they provide access to some of the most popular and best groomed runs on the mountain.
• Advanced/Expert: If you’re an advanced skier you will find no shortage of challenging terrain. The resort is known for steep alpine bowls, fantastic glades, and a nearly unmatchable experience on a powder day. Make sure to check out Copper Mountain’s free cat access to Tucker Mountain’s steep, long, amazing bowls, they will leave you speechless.
• Terrain Park: Most notable is Woodward at Copper, a year-round indoor training facility dedicated to the progression of freestyle skiing. Woodward offers indoor foam pits, trampolines, jib lines, ramps – anything you want to learn in a safe-landing environment.On the mountain, although not as large as Breck’s, Copper Mountain has a progressive terrain park that will challenge the more daring with features like the 22-foot super pipe, one of the biggest ever built.
Copper’s high alpine ridges reveal spectacular views of the surrounding Ten Mile Range. If you’re at least an intermediate skier make sure to make it up to the top of Resolution Bowl to check out the 360 degree vista. There are free on-mountain tours twice daily, if you want some help navigating the mountain. And the Mountain Ambassadors are great at answering any question pertaining to that day’s skiing or how to make your way through the village.
Although Copper’s village is on the small side it still has a lot to offer. With the village right at the base of the mountain you can just click out of your bindings, sit down and enjoy a cold brew. From live music at JJ’s Rocky Mountain Tavern to Endo’s Adrenaline Café where you can build your own Bloody Mary every Sunday, there’s no shortage of fun. If you’re looking for food, head over to the Belgian Beane where the Belgian style waffles are to die for, and for just $5, you can get a waffle and a coffee on your way to the lift.
Charming Victorian town, with 75+ restaurants and bars, historic district and ski-in/ski-out access.
Copper offers a wide variety of affordable and upscale lodging options, ranging from 70s style motels to newly built houses and hotels. Importantly, you can get a place that’s close to the mountain for relatively low prices compared to other Colorado resorts, where the closer you get to the lifts, the less likely to you can afford the room. Make sure if you’re going to be staying for multiple days that you try and package your lodging with lift tickets and rentals through Copper’s website as it can save around 20 percent. Skiing With Kids If your little ones ski, Copper has programs that get them on the bunny hill as young as 3 years old (Mini Stars program). With experienced instructors, the Kid Care program offers a unique experience for snow loving kids. Even if they don’t ski they will be outside having fun in between hot cocoa breaks. One thing that makes Copper’s ski school stand out are the exciting events for the youngsters such as ski cross races where hundreds of kids show up to compete for fun. Use the Ski Lodging Deals box above and right to find Copper Mountain’s best Lodging choices and deals.
Lift Tickets and Season Pass Cost* Lift Tickets
(pre-purchase online): Adult $70-$84; Child $49-$55; Senior $49-$55 (PURCHASE NOW) Season Pass: (purchase by 10/15/12) Adult $389; Child $219; Senior $259 Other Passes: • Legend 4 Pass = 4 Days for $158 • Rocky Mountain Super Pass • Ask about the “Snow Day Pass” Special Deals: Rocky Mountain Pass includes Winter Park. *prices reflect our best effort to gather from resort published information.
By Jason Kornfeld