The base area at Copper Mountain has grown from a glorified rest stop along Colorado’s Interstate 70 into a destination resort within the past 20 years. The skiing terrain has always been solid, because the mountain naturally divides in terms of challenge level and provides plenty of fall-line trails without requiring dull traverses.
Located about 75 miles west of Denver, Copper Mountain has 2,465 skiable acres with a vertical drop of 2,601 feet. Since 2005, Copper has averaged 272 inches of snow annually. The 2013-14 season has been particularly strong with 279 inches through March 5, a pace very close to 2010-11 when the resort recorded 390 inches.
Like all of its Summit County, Colo., neighbors, Copper has a relatively high elevation of 9,712 feet at the base going up to a summit elevation of 12,313 feet. The base area is divided into three main sections: East Village, Center Village and West Village. Going from east to west, the skiing out of each village area corresponds respectively to advanced, intermediate and beginner terrain.
The back side of Copper features open-bowl skiing that is much steeper overall than the more famous Back Bowls of Vail on the other side of Vail Pass. Along with Copper, Spaulding and Resolution Bowls, the resort offers free snowcat access to expert terrain on Tucker Mountain.
- For beginners: The American Flyer and Union Creek high-speed quad chairlifts serve perhaps the country's best network of green trails. The Soliloquy to Roundabout path down the mountain covers 2.8 miles.
- For intermediates: The American Eagle lift out of Center Village and the mid-mountain Timberline Express lift go up to almost exclusively blue-rated runs.
- For experts: The easternmost part of the resort's frontside features very lengthy bump runs such as Far East and Too Much. Once a significant snow base has built for the season on Tucker Mountain, free snowcats run from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The inbounds area of Tucker Mountain is avalanche-controlled, but the terrain and snow conditions have a definite backcountry feel.
Disclaimer: Lift tickets were provided during visit to Copper Mountain.