Sunday was one of those days that transitioned the entire spectrum of conditions at Copper Mountain, CO. The day started out warm, but breezy with nearly bluebird skies. Mild temperatures, as has been the story over the last few days, continued with the freezing point already reached before the sun even came over the ridge.
Despite those recent warm temperatures and lack of measurable snow for the last 10 days, the mountain rode surprisingly well. The attention to trail maintenance, especially in high traffic areas was obvious. The lower mountain that had been through a quick melt-phase during the first few days of February, and should’ve included hard icy patches, were shockingly free of them.
With a base elevation of 9,712′, Copper maintains a bit on an advantage through these warm snaps… because you can’t fake elevation! The ungroomed ESE facing terrain off Resolution was perhaps the one area really subject to the negative effects of the sun.
Simply put, Copper had its corduroy on point and ripe for the ripping!
Also ripping, was the wind ahead of the storm. However, the sun continued to shine so for those who were prepared to bear strong gusts, lines were non-existent and laps were quick.
Enchanted Forecast held some surprising good snow. Unexpectedly, it was untouched in select areas considering as long as it had been since significant snow had fallen. The northerly aspect also helped keep it cold and soft.
We found ourselves notably tempted by cold drinks on T-Rex deck under the shining sun but loaded on to Timberline as we still had a ways to go before we earned a break. By midway up the lift, flakes began to fall. And at the top, it was the full-on storm riding we came for!
A heavy band moved through around 1:00 and was producing 1″/1-hour snowfall rates. The wind paused for a bit before returning with a fierce presence as we lapped the Sierra chair several times.
Revenge, directly under the lift was reaping the benefits of the wind, getting both loaded and buffed simultaneously. A 10-minute circuit would find the steepest pitch refreshed again and again, while a proper diving board on top the allowed for some fun airs into a steep, soft landing. Otherwise, the consistently clean canvas was begging for some aggressive brush strokes that could add some color.
Currently sitting at 111% of average annual snowpack, coverage at Copper right now is superb. It’s also an excellent position to be in moving into the next storm cycle.
Conditions should only improve throughout the week with additional opportunities for snow stacking up. A Winter Storm Watch has been issued from 5:00 PM Tuesday through 5:00 AM Thursday. Keep your eyes out for a potential powder day Thursday before clearing out into what might be a gorgeous, bluebird left-overs day on Friday.
On another note, Copper Mountain’s new America Flyer chair just may be the most comfortable chairlift in the Western US/Canada. Although that might not matter to a lot of people, it sure doesn’t hurt!