Copper Mountain Ski Getaways

ski getaways

Those who were around for Copper's start in 1972 hardly recognize the place today. Now more than halfway through a ten-year development project by owner Intrawest, many elements of Copper's comprehensive plan to create a full-fledged resort community are in place. One thing hasn't changed, though: The mountain's nearly perfect layout

It's "nearly perfect" in the sense that it could hardly be better arranged to separate skiers and riders by ability levels. The arrangement is a gift of nature, not bulldozers and dynamite. As you look up the mountain from the base, beginner trails cluster off to the right, intermediate terrain is mostly in the middle, advanced terrain circles up the mountain to the left, and the expert stuff is way up high in the bowls. Yes, there are a couple of exceptions. For example, there's a pod of intermediate terrain served by the Timberline Express that's surrounded by beginner trails, but that simply makes it easier for families to ski or ride together if they wish. And because this terrain segues into the green circle stuff, you won't suddenly find yourself in over your head.

One way to enjoy all this is to start at The Village at Copper, which sits between the East Village and Union Creek bases. From here the American Flyer and American Eagle high-speed quads transport you to the middle of the mountain. The first takes you to the top of intermediate terrain with access to black; the second to beginner terrain with access to blue, so it's important to remember which "American" you should take, depending on your ability level.

Above the American chairs lies Copper's truly advanced terrain. Copper, Spaulding, Union and Resolution Bowls and their associated features-Upper Enchanted Forest and Union Meadows-are home to chutes, ridges, and steep tree shots where, in most cases, falling is not a good idea. This high-altitude experts-only playground, safely separate from the mere mortal terrain below, puts the finishing touch on Copper's claim of near-perfection in layout.

Cooper's terrain parks come in three sizes: small, medium, and large, with room in the largest for a Superpipe.