[Sponsored by Copper Mountain]
The first thing most people notice about Copper is that it’s on your left as you drive right past heading to Vail. Most Copper locals will tell you they wouldn’t have it any other way because Copper is an under-the-radar kind of place that not only surprises with its quality terrain but also its laid-back and inviting atmosphere; an increasingly rare find amongst the ubiquitous Colorado corporate ski scene that surrounds it.
That’s not to say Copper isn’t keeping up with the competition. With over $50 million invested in on-mountain and village improvements these past few seasons, thanks to parent company POWDR Adventure Lifestyle Co., Copper is successfully implementing shiny new upgrades while maintaining its grass-roots, inviting and inclusive vibe.
Copper Mountain this past year in their ski lift infrastructure with two new chairlifts set to make their debut this season. The old American Eagle and American Flyer workhorses out of Center Village are being replaced to put you at the top of longer runs, faster. The American Eagle is now a combo “chondola” (a mix of six-passenger chairs and 8-passenger gondola cabins) and the American Flyer is now Colorado’s only six-passenger bubble chair, colored a beautiful blue that will turn any storm day into a bluebird view. These two new chairs increase uphill capacity out of Center Village by more than 30%. Copper debuted the new Kokomo chairlift last year, a new high-speed quad that greatly improves the beginner experience out of West Village. Situated at the top of the Kokomo Express is Koko’s, a day lodge providing beginners a place to warm up and grab some lunch, which ski school instructors will tell you is a huge improvement.
Speaking of grabbing some food, Copper has made significant upgrades to the après and evening dining scene with several new establishments. Ten Mile Tavern, in a fantastic location right at the base of the American Eagle chair, boasts 20 (twenty!) craft brews on tap, a creative menu (check out the homemade pickles), and loads of TVs to catch any game you’re after. Downhill Duke’s promises to be the new après spot of choice, with a unique outdoor scene to take in great views of the Ten Mile Range. Finally, Toast & Co. serves up craft breakfast in the morning, and unique cocktails in the evening so you can have toast with your breakfast and the toast with your buddies to a great day of skiing and riding.
Not much to do off the hill at Copper no more. The new Rocky Mountain Coaster is a crazy-fun ride through the pines, clocking in at 5,800-feet, one of the longest in North America. This isn’t an old-school alpine slide. It’s truly a roller coaster ride down the side of the mountain. Open year-round, it’s a great outing with the kids to complement the ski day. Then there’s the Woodward Barn, a 19,400-ft² indoor action sports training facility complete with ramps, trampolines, foam pits and more. The Barn is an excellent place to learn new tricks in a safe environment before taking them out on the mountain. Woodward also curates all the terrain parks on the mountain, and Copper certainly does parks to perfection.
The one thing that makes Copper truly special is the terrain. When Copper first opened in 1972, the US Forest Service called Copper “a nearly perfect ski mountain”, mostly due to the naturally-divided terrain. From west to east, it progresses from beginner to intermediate to expert, providing zones where like-minded skiers can make turns together. From the chutes of Spaulding Bowl to the vastness of Union Bowl, and of course the free cat skiing on Tucker Mountain, Copper can keep even the most seasoned skier busy. Additionally, alpine ski teams from across the globe descend upon Copper’s 9700-foot base elevation and perfect north-facing slopes for early season race training before the World Cup tour, with Copper providing incredible early-season training facilities as early as mid-October. The rest of the skiing public gets to enjoy that work when Copper opens, which it recently did just this past Friday, Nov. 16th, with some of the best out-of-the-gate conditions in many years.
Copper is far from pretentious. Yet they are proud. If you go, and you should, you’ll see almost all of the staff members from frontline lifties straight up to pro patrol, taking pride in what they deliver to their guests, even calling it their “craft”. The difference is in the details. Whether it be grooming, ski school, food, various other activities, you can tell that each member of the team at Copper Mountain has their craft finely tuned to a high degree. When everything comes together, it makes for a symphony of an experience!
If you’re an Ikon Pass holder, Copper is now part of the mix and should be a part of your resort destination this season. For more info to find some great deals on lodging, check out www.coppercolorado.com