Coppervale Ski Area, CA – A Small Ski Area With a Big Heart

Matt Scribner |
Immaculate pow turns with no crowds are a frequent sight at Coppervale (Image: Sierra Nevada Geotourism)

When it comes to ski areas, it is often the local, smaller areas where you can find the heart and soul of the ski community. These resorts are where many learn the fundamentals of skiing and snowboarding, and the initial spark is ignited that leads families to devote a significant portion of their time and energy to this rewarding sport. On top of all this, they play a crucial role in the economies of local towns by generating indispensable revenue and drawing tourists to the area.

Coppervale Ski Area, located in North Eastern California just outside the humble town of Susanville on HWY 36, stands out among the many fantastic local ski hills scattered across America. Coppervale is a textbook example of a true “Mom and Pop” resort, as it is owned by Lassen County Community College and has been operated by Norm and Debbie Wilson for the last 42 years. In an era of mega passes and multi-hundred dollar single-day lift tickets, the resort is truly a diamond in the rough. It offers an authentic experience void of tourists and excess spending, leaving its visitors with immense satisfaction regarding their skiing experience. It offers single-day lift tickets at a whopping $40 per day, an almost unheard-of amount in 2023.

North Eastern California is an underrated destination that should be on every skier’s bucket list (Image Tripsavvy)

Coppervale is the definition of small but mighty. The resort features eight excellent trails, all offering a variety of great downhill, deep powder, and freestyle terrain. There’s even a half pipe for skiers and riders alike, a feature many larger destination resorts don’t even have.

If you’re looking for local, authentic ski vibes without the all-too-common corporate influence of today’s ski industry and the price tag that comes with it, Coppervale is the place for you. The culture at Coppervale is unique, and it is not uncommon to see locals ripping down the mountain in blue jeans or pajama pants on a powder day. The area where it is located, where the famed Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges meet, possesses an abundance of snow that is consistently slept on, especially in this fantastic 2022-23 season. The resort is also located just a 45-minute drive from Lassen Volcanic National Park, giving visitors another can’t-miss destination to stop by during their trip to Coppervale.

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