Reviewed by Sally Francklyn
Nov 06, 2008
The experience is more heli-skiing than resort skiing, but instead of dropping $800, you ride an old double chairlift all day for $99.
The small to zilch lift lines—even during spring break—are a welcome change, along with the epic backcountry access, newly opened Tunnel Face (another nod to persistent poaching creating change), and no sign of Vail-tude.
Just 25 miles north of the historic mining town of Durango, Colorado.
Thanks to the addition of Woodward-at-Copper, the country’s first indoor park training facility, Copper has been put on the map. Its known for its great bowl skiing and easy access right off I-70. Unlike many resorts in the area, enjoy free parking and a shuttle to the base of the hill. Get there early for first tracks—the bus runs starting at 6:30 a.m.
Quick Tip: The best lunch deal is at Tuckers Tavern, located deep in Center Village. Where else can you get two slices of pizza and a Paulaner beer for $5? Sit on the patio and sip an Oktoberfest.
Backcountry Access: Janet’s Cabin, part of the 10th Mountain Division of huts, is just outside of Copper’s boundaries. Take the gate off West Ten Mile, far lookers right of the mountain, and skin or snowshoe 5.5 miles west. It’s great for novice backcountry users, but the surrounding area still holds some challenging bowl skiing.
8:00 A.M.: Fuel up at Jack’s in the Center Village. Grab a breakfast burrito with eggs, potatoes, cheese, bacon or sausage, and green chilli—you’ll be lucky if you finish it. Ask for it wrapped in foil and finish it on the lift.
8:30 A.M.: Take the Super Bee lift to the very top. Ski Andy’s Encore to Rosi’s Run, but only if it has snowed. If there hasn’t been a storm lately, stay away from the blacks on the front side.
10 A.M.: On your way up the American Flyer lift, take a look at the ski patrol building—if the green flag is waving, head back to Copper Bowl and take the snowcat up to Tucker Mountain. Hike all the way down the ridge to Fremont Glade 1—it’s likely you’ll be the only one there.
11 A.M.: Directly under Sierra lift is Jupiter Bowl. This area holds snow well after a storm, and if it’s blowing, it remains windloaded. If you link a few smooth turns, and huck the little lip at the bottom, you’ll get approving cheers from the chair.
Noon: Solitude Station is the spot for lunch—pack your own, or grab French fries and a beer for under $10. All winter, they have good soups in bread bowls.
2 P.M.: Copper was never recognized for its park scene— until now. Camp Woodward, the country’s first indoor training facility, opened in the spring of 2009, and jibbers can practice misty flips and rodeos all summer long.
3 P.M.: J Chute is a secret, locals-only spot. You’ll be lucky if you find it: Off the top of Sierra lift, take a right down Gold Digger. At the second Timber Ridge sign, duck into the trees for a quick, narrow ride.
4 P.M.: In Center Village, Endo’s Adrenaline Café has a vibrant après scene with wings, beer, and football. Afterward, head right outside to Burning Stones Plaza to warm your hands and enjoy a variety of entertainment, like a torchlight parade on Christmas Eve.
7 P.M: The nearby town of Frisco has the best dinner spots. Hop on the Summit Stage, the free bus into town, and get off on Main Street. For burgers and brews, Frisco’s Backcountry Brewery is a great choice. Or, get a steak dinner at Silverheels.
10 P.M.: There’s a mellow late night scene in downtown Frisco. Head to the Moosejaw, or The Jaw. With cheap pitchers, you can afford to finish off a few. Challenge a local to a game of darts—you’ll likely find a herd of Copper patrollers to compete against.
Overnight: Stay in Copper’s East Village, for quick access to the Super Bee chair. For $238 a night, you’ll enjoy a hot tub, fitness area, and a kitchen in your room.
Elevation: 12,313 feet Vertical Drop: 2,601 feet Snowfall: 282 inches Acres: 2,450 Info: coppercolorado.com