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Copper Mountain

+Excellent trail layout. Free snowcat in the bowls.
- Snoozy village. Have to hit Frisco for a good meal.

Copper Mountain may surprise you. Nestl ed between behemoths Vail and Breckenridge, it’s equal parts local hangout and destination resort. Luxury ski-in, ski-out four- and five-bedroom homes with gourmet kitchens and stone fireplaces at Lewis Ranch offer a high-end lodging option previously missing at Copper, and on-mountain upgrades have focused on the skiing itself rather than the base area (and as skiers, we like that). Case in point: The sluggish Highpoint double was replaced with a high-speed quad, giving park-andpipers easier access to the Catalyst park while ensuring that beginners spend more time learning and less time on the lift. Four back bowls, pristine tree skiing and the free snowcatserved Tucker Mountain will keep experts going for days. “A great overall mountain with something for everyone,” says one reader. We’re not surprised. —Sally Francklyn

Must Ski » Ride the Alpine lift to marathon bump runs. After a big storm, lap it all day—you’ll ski powder in the morning and perfect soft bumps post-lunch.

Family Activity » The One Hit Wonder ($60) at Woodward at Copper is a skills and safety clinic held at the premier training grounds for budding jibbers.

Off-Hill Restaurant » Try the Blue Spruce in Frisco for a steak and a glass of wine. The bar in the back room often features live music and drink specials.

Colorado's Biggest Secret: Copper Mountain

Copper Mountain Resort
Copper Mountain Resort
Colorado's Copper Mountain Resort is poised to win the hearts of a new generation of skiers by giving them what they really want: a kick-ass mountain.

It's a clear, blue day in early March. A few thready clouds stretch out thin on the horizon. We’ve hiked a quarter mile from where the snowcat dropped us and are catching our breath at the top of Tucker Mountain. The patrol “dumpster” is the only structure—an ugly rectangular box marring an otherwise lovely view of the pyramid peaks of the Ten Mile and Mosquito ranges. The steeps of Copper Bowl, Fremont Glades, and the gastronomically named Taco and Nacho splay out below—50-plus-degree pitches packed with cold, chalky snow.

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