News from the snow
Copper Mountain USA
Copper is one of Colorado's leading resorts and one of the closest and most convenient to access from Denver. There's a large and varied terrain with one of the state's highest bases and lifts stretching up to one of the world's top 10 highest ski area lifts. The mountains are rather more Alpine to look at - that is triangular, sharp and pointy - than those of many other famous Colorado resorts. Intrawest, the company that gave us Whistler, bought the resort in 1997 and are responsible for much of its current appeal, all though new owners who took over in 2010 are continuing the upgrades, particularly the expansion of the base village, which has several neighborhoods including the East Village and The Village at Copper, and the Preserve. Copper began more than thirty-five years ago when a guy named Chuck Lewis looked at an unassuming mountainside and told his friends, “I don’t care how everyone else does it, were not everyone else,” and he meant it. Chuck was both a renegade and a visionary. During the summer of '71, initial construction began on the ski trails. As stated in a 1969 US Forest Service report, “if there were a mountain that had terrain for skiing it would be Copper Mountain. It is the most nearly perfect ski mountain in the U.S.” Over the years, new lifts were added and Copper grew to its current size of 2,465 acres. What was once a sleepy little day ski area is now one of Colorado's premier year-round destination resorts.
One of the world's highest (and best) ski resorts (with North America's highest golf course in the summer) offers skiing for all standards from a year-round purpose-built and largely car-free resort complex.
Beginners tend to get started at Union Creek where there are long easy runs like Roundabout and Soliloquy. In addition, beginners can gain knowledge of skiing or riding in the Green Acres learning area, where a lift ticket is very economical. Intermediates have a great variety of trails to enjoy in the center part of Copper Mountain and in the Timberline lift area, with some local’s favorites including Collage, Main Vein and Jacque’s Pique trails.
Experienced skiers and riders can enjoy advanced and expert terrain on the East side of the mountain and in Copper’s high alpine terrain, with the addition of a couple new trails, Free Fall and Black Bear Glades, accessed from the Alpine or Super Bee lifts.
In addition, Copper’s free snowcat rides to legendary Tucker Mountain are the essence of skiing and riding liberty: catching a free ride, choosing your own line and never wiping the smile off your face. Tucker Mountain and Copper Bowl offer expert skiers and riders access to over 273 acres and 1,200 vertical feet of Copper’s high alpine back bowls. Terrain is accessible by hiking, a free snowcat ride or a combination of both. Snowcat access is on a first-come, first served basis. To reach the Tucker Mountain Snowcat, ride the American Flyer lift and then catch the Rendezvous lift. From there, continue on the Otto Bahn trail to the Snowcat meeting area.
Copper has its own cross-country centre and also organises special rentals and tuition for snow sports like telemark. Weekend back country tours are organised throughout the season over to Janet's Cabin. The cabin gives splendid isolation for whatever you'd like to do from reading a book in front of the fire, to snow shoeing, or checking out the bowls above the cabin near Searle Pass and Sugarloaf Mountain, which were used by the US Army's 10 Mountain division ski troops for winter training during the second world war.
Beyond this there are of course special part or full day ski school classes available from age three and some good après-ski facilities including the tubing hill (children must be at least 36 inches tall to participate) and initiatives like the free Kid’s Night Out program for parents spending at least $30 per child at the resort that day. At the Belly Button Bakery in the Mountain Plaza building, kids can eat pizza, create art and watch movies while having a night to themselves. The event is offered from 5:30 to 10 p.m., seven-days-a-week. Space is limited and reservations are required at least 24 hours in advance.
Starting with the Far East, the Imperial Palace, an Asian restaurant has affordable all-you-can-eat lunch and dinner buffets and extensive menu options. For a Japanese experience in the heart of the Rockies, the sushi bar at Storm King Lounge offers deliciously fresh nigiri, rolls and other specialty items.
Moving west, visitors find everything from Italian cuisine at Alpinista Italian Bistro to crêpes at Chubs and the finest Mexican specialties, complete with Colorado’s best margaritas, at Salsa Mountain Cantina.
Choices abound at Tucker’s Tavern for classic American favorites including pizza, salads, steaks and burgers. Incline Bar & Grill for its eclectic American fare, or fresh Colorado cuisine on a wood fired grill at C.B. Grille and award-winning baby back ribs at Double Diamond.
Copper has options for the most discerning palettes looking for breakfast, lunch, dinner, a late night snack or just a good cup of coffee on the mountain, in the Village or just down the road.
The Kidz Terrain Park located off the top of the American Flyer lift. offers a training ground just for children with mini rails, boxes, jumps and a new mini-piping allow them to session at their own pace before getting up the nerve to hang with the big boys.
Located at the top of the American Eagle lift, the Eagle Jib park is open on the first day of the season and typically stays open all season. There are a multitude of rails and boxes that promote progression in a relaxed environment. Solitude Station is adjacent to the park and offers a place to warm up from the cold, get some food, and hang out with your friends.
Major skiing and snowboarding events are one of the focuses of Copper's special events calendar and each year Copper also hosts its annual Copper Series - the longest-running amateur snowboard race series in North America.