Boulder, CO, Oct. 19, 2001--The wait for winter is over--at least if you live in Colorado. Two of the state's major ski areas can cure your need for speed. Both Copper Mountain and Loveland were open Thursday, Oct. 18 with one run apiece. Copper Mountain held a special two-day sneak preview to benefit the American Red Cross while Loveland Ski Area opened for the entire season yesterday.
The artificial snow at both mountains was surprisingly good. We skied Loveland first and then sped under the Continental Divide to Summit County. By the time we made it to Copper the free Red Bull we drank at Loveland had kicked in. We were ready to go richter. Unfortunately there were too many people at Copper to make big turns, but with a little more time to bake in the morning sun the snow was better than at Loveland.
Although there were only two chairs, two runs, and less than 2000 vertical between them, the resorts' openings were a success. Skiers and snowboarders hooted and hollered their way down the Mambo trail at Loveland and Copperopolis at Copper.
Morgan Billings of Frisco, CO said he was glad to be on snow, but was disappointed that Copper's opening was only a sneak preview: "I'm really stoked to be on skis, but (the two-day opening) is a little like eating a tootsie pop without a tootsie center."
Julie Weinstein of Breckenridge, CO remarked at how much the conditions and atmosphere were like spring skiing. She said she was excited to get out on the mountain, but was also looking forward to her afternoon bike ride. "You know, it is similar to skiing A-Basin in May--its fun in the morning, but when the snow softens up too much its time to go home," she said.
The day was not without symbols of the times. The Stars and Stripes rode the first chair at Loveland and one skier at Copper did a run with the American Flag in hand. Copper raised $12,000 for the American Red Cross over the two days.
Copper will open for good on Nov. 3 after the World Cup teams have a chance to train and even though they too are hosting World Cup teams in early November, Loveland will open at 9am each weekday and 8:30am on weekends.
Copper Mountain Resort: 866.656.1540. www.ski-copper.com
Loveland Ski Area: 800.736.3754 www.skiloveland.com