By: Mary Jo Almeida-Shore
Perfect for South Florida skiers, Copper Mountain’s naturally divided terrain allows for family fun that suits the individual abilities and needs of each family member. Although this world-class resort offers all the powder (21 inches and counting just this week), perks, altitude and thrills of neighboring Colorado mountain resorts such as Breckenridge and Vail, it is extra family friendly in terms of accessibility, amenities, service, ski school, and wallet-friendly prices. In short- Copper Mountain gives you all the fun without the hassle and big ticket pricing. It’s no surprise that Copper has consistently been voted the locals’ favorite ski resort.
This gem of a resort is located an hour and 45 minutes from Denver International Airport. Those intimidated by a winding drive through the mountains need not worry- Copper is easily accessible via a number of convenient luxury mountain shuttles- we highly recommend Summit Express. The mountain offers various lodging options (including several ski-in/ski-out) but if you go on a busy weekend- when accommodations are hard to come by, consider staying in nearby Frisco, 6 miles from Copper, which offers free, convenient shuttle service throughout the town and to and from the mountain. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Summit County, which resembles a mountain lodge, complete with fireplace, indoor pool, game room and Sporting News Grill, a family-friendly restaurant- with one of the best breakfasts in town. The service at the hotel was great and the beds rival those of any five star accommodation. In addition to affording more economical lodging choices, the lovely town offers some good restaurants (we loved Silverheels Bar & Grill www.silverheelsrestaurant.com/) and shopping as well.
Because Copper Mountain’s terrain is naturally divided- with the easiest terrain to the west and expert terrain to the east, everyone in the family can ski or ride at their own pace-without the fear of taking a wrong turn and ending up careening down a double black diamond. In fact, in 1969, The Forest Service reported, “If ever there was a mountain that had terrain created for skiing, it would be Copper Mountain.” Copper Mountain offers a ski and ride experience for every age, interest and ability level. As you move west to east, the terrain gradually progresses from easiest to most difficult. The gentle terrain that defines the west side of Copper Mountain provides a natural, progressive learning environment, while the east side of the mountain features long, steep runs. This award-winning trail system is part of the reason Copper is considered one of Summit County’s favorite resorts and an ideal destination for visiting guests- especially those from flat, tropical locales such as Florida.
Copper Mountain’s Ski and Ride School is noteworthy because experts train children and adults alike at their level- with patience yet encouragement to take them to the next level at a reassuring, comfortable pace. Those with an aversion to heights and/or ski lifts can take comfort in knowing that the beginner and intermediate lessons take place in a non-threatening area of the mountain –which utilizes a “magic carpet” in lieu of a lift and gradually progresses to a small lift then eventually to the larger lifts. In addition to the awesome instructors- in particular Michelle Ruscito and Chad Kearney, each student is given a GPS leg strap that allows the teachers to keep close tabs on them and also provides a detailed review via email of each student’s day- including vertical miles traveled, number of runs completed and progress. Copper also caters to kids who know how to ski, especially pre-teens and teens, with unique programming such as Woodward Copper, value-oriented youth lesson packages, several terrain parks and a 22-foot Olympic-sized Super pipe.
Copper’s on-mountain intelligence app: Sherpa, now features tracking statistics for all guests including speed, vertical feet and more. Share favorite tips with friends and family while keeping tabs on personal accomplishments. The newest version of Sherpa also offers marker-dropping prompts that encourage users to provide information on their favorite runs and lifts in real time. Learn more at sherpa.CopperColorado.com.
Also unique to Copper Mountain are a few “creature comforts” that we found delightful. In addition to the broad and varied well-priced dining options on the mountain and throughout the resort, Copper’s lifts actually have a trail map built in, so that you may plan your course while on the lift without having to remove your gloves, pull out the map, etc. or waste time looking at the map when you get off the lift. We also loved the Sharp Shooter photographer that sets up an entire photo shoot at the top of the various peaks and even offers a complimentary photo in addition to the packages available at the shop in the village. The Mountain Ambassadors, dressed in bright green, can be found throughout the mountain to provide a wealth of knowledge about the mountain, the village, and will assist you with everything from restaurant recommendations to the best skiing at Copper. They will even escort you down a run or two if necessary.
Copper Mountain’s Tucker Mountain Snow Cat access is as close to a backcountry, big mountain experience as you can get at a resort. The best part? It’s free with any lift ticket purchase or season pass. This in-bounds cat skiing experience is offered in Copper Bowl off of Tucker Mountain located in Copper’s High Alpine Terrain: The 12’s. Imagine 360 degree views of the Rocky Mountains, 1,000 skiable acres encompassing three towering peaks with elevations in excess of 12,000 feet.Featuring steep chutes and pristine, treeless runs, Tucker Mountain Snow Cat provides the thrill-seeking, expert skier with the challenging terrain he/she desires in Copper’s high alpine environment. However, even novice skiers can feast their eyes on one of the most gorgeous views in all of Colorado. The Rendezvous chairlift takes guests to the very top of Copper Mountain- affording them vistas typically reserved for expert/back-bowl skiers and is accessible via easy green runs.
For too many reasons to name, Copper Mountain is the preeminent resort in Colorado. Our only regret? Having to leave this amazing place. We are already planning our return. See for yourself! Visit CopperColorado.com for the latest information on winter pass products, lodging steals and more. Stay in the loop all year long at www.facebook.com/CopperMtn or @CopperMtn on Twitter and Instagram. Share snow days all season long with the hashtag #MySnowDay and win big. Find more information at CopperColorado.com/MySnowDay.