Copper Mountain Resort Review: Snowboarding Edition

Copper mountain resort in Colorado

Copper Mountain is a favorite among locals and tourists for many reasons. With short lift lines, a wide variety of run difficulties, great snowboarding lessons, and amazing terrain for more advanced athletes, there’s something for everyone here. The resort isn’t as glitzy as other Vail-owned rivals, but Copper won’t let you down if you’re seeking the varied, high-alpine terrain that Colorado is famous for.

Copper Mountain is one of Colorado’s tallest mountains, and its base region is very high at 12,441 feet. As a result, it is chilly and the snow is in excellent condition. With 300 sunny days each year, there is a good chance of witnessing the stunning views from the summit of Copper Peak. The powder that falls is often light and dry.

The 2,465-acre resort boasts a great selection of naturally distinct terrain that grows harder from west to east, as well as a very underappreciated high alpine with plenty of adventure terrain. There’s also a free snowcat available to help you make the most of your stay there. With excellent learning programs, (slightly) reduced rates, and a cozy atmosphere that makes you want to stay a bit longer, Copper is one of the greatest ski resorts for families.

Copper is the home of the U.S. Ski Team’s speed center and the next-generation Woodward, which tells you a lot. One of Colorado’s finest skiable mountains is unassumingly called Copper. A reader claims, “There is no resort where you can ski the vertical terrain like you can here. The East Village, with its supple Super Bee six-pack, serves as family headquarters. The Super Bee doesn’t have a cover fee, but we’ll set a two-run minimum when ripping with the kids.

When to go to Copper Mountain?

We definitely recommend you hit the slopes early, the earlier the better. This is a good general rule whenever skiing or snowboarding. The snow is fresher in the morning and lines are always shorter. After the lunch rush, the terrain might deteriorate, which is something you want to avoid. As the sun goes down, runs can also start to ice over, making it harder to move and more painful if you fall.

The Good…

Great Snow at Copper Mountain

The snowfall at Copper is of exceptional quality, and it compares well with the top resorts in Colorado. In general, trails benefit from substantial cover and a variety of snow. Snow tends to remain where you want it to, even with strong wind gusts in high-alpine regions; in fact, certain bowl locations often have light, deep powder owing to wind-blown snow. Easy runs are consistently manicured. Although it is to be anticipated from such challenging terrain, a few more severe courses continue to have limited cover or exposed areas throughout the season.

Ski Resort Close to Denver & Easy to Reach

One of our favorite parts of Copper Montain was how easy it was to reach from Denver. It was a short hour and a half drive, straight into the mountains on I-70. The resort is ranked No. 4 for Travel Ease in terms of access off, but weekend traffic jams leave their mark so don’t expect a smooth ride home. On a busy day, parking and getting to the slopes may be a real problem if you just drive up for the day – keep that in mind! When we went it took us 2.5 hours to get home. (much of that in stop and go traffic)

Smaller Crowds

Due to generally well-placed lifts, Copper experiences a respectable crowd flow. Although the resort’s base areas benefit from lifts with high capacity, lines can still be long on weekends and holidays. Upper mountain lifts with a lower capacity may become backed up, but the majority of these advanced and expert-only areas rarely experience oppressive crowds. The resort’s main bottleneck is the Timberline Express lift, which serves popular intermediate terrain, filters many high-alpine routes into it, and offers the only practical access from the west side of the mountain to higher resort sections. The resort has implemented the Fast Tracks program, which enables visitors to pay a premium to bypass the lines at many popular lifts, for the 2021–22 ski season.

When compared to the other Vail Resorts in the area, such as Breckenridge, Keystone, Vail, and Beaver Creek, which are sometimes overwhelmed with visitors, Copper Ski Resort used to be known for being relatively empty. Even despite being on the Ikon Pass, it manages to keep lift lineups to a minimum.

Something for Every Skill Level

Whether you’re an experienced skiier or never tried snowboarding, your whole group will have a fun-filled day…

There is a variety of terrain for all skill levels. Unlike several resorts in Colorado, Copper has a selection of beginner-friendly terrain. If you stay to skier’s left of Center Village, you’ll find lots of green slopes. West Village sections provide specifically designated beginner terrain, while the American Flyer lift provides access to soft (but quite lengthy) groomed cruisers. Even some novice high-alpine terrain exists, but it is served by the sluggish, wind-exposed Rendezvous lift. There is a little bunny hill close to Center Village as well, although it is somewhat far from the rest of the resort’s lush landscape.

On the mountain, runs generally increase tougher as you go from west to east, with the backside portions presenting the most challenging terrain.

Beginner Skiers & Snowboarders

Snowboarding and skiing lessons at Copper Mountain are great! There is a separate area for beginners to practice and take lessons, which is a snowmobile ride away. Since it is quite a walk away from either village base area, it is less crowded. This gives more room for beginners (to make mistakes) and take lessons, plus there are 2 lifts in this area – a chair lift and a surface lift. These lift options give beginners a choice of lift and multiple ways to practice.

Copper mountain runs also provide fantastic terrain for beginners. There are no shady cat trails here, in contrast to many ski areas (such the Vail ski resorts). Long, winding trails bordered with trees prevent speedy professionals from cutting you off because of the mountain’s naturally separated topography. Novices have large potions of the mountain to themselves with a hefty percentage of green runs.

The least challenging beginner terrain is the Pitchfork double chair between East and Center Villages. Access to the upper level at West Village/Union Creek is made possible by using the village shuttle (Ski and Ride School base). The Kokomo & Woodward chair lifts provide access to a variety of enjoyable, well-pitch runs as well as the Lumberjack triple chair, in addition to a few surface lifts for beginners. One of the best novice ski areas in the USA is this region.

Great Family Ski Resort

Copper does a fantastic job of catering to families that like skiing. A great family resort is indicated by the design and arrangement of the ski slopes, the excellent Ski & Ride School, and amenities like Woodward and the Union Creek “Schoolhouse.” Families should visit the Union Creek and Timberline chair areas. Tired parents are rewarded with a view of their individual tribes ripping up the blue runs at the T-Rex Grill at the foot of the Timberline chair. After lunch, it appears like many dads stay in bed, satisfied to have “just one more drink” as the kids do laps. Fortunately, drunken Dads merely need to walk along flat, grassy pathways to reach the settlement.

The Layout & Terrain:

The layout is the greatest I’ve ever seen, and Copper still receives accolades for the qualities it has always held. It has double-black stripes over on Super Bee, authentic backside bowls, rolling blues off of American Eagle, twisting greens off of American Flyer, and terrain parks off of Union Creek. All things considered, Terrain has ranked it at No. 7, which isn’t a bad rating at all!

New Skiiers & Snowboarders

The west side, which is green-friendly; the center, which is enjoyable; the east side, which is swift and thrilling; and the topside, which is difficult and beautiful. Combine it with 24 lifts, 2,490 acres of terrain, 140 designated trails, 2,738 feet of vertical, and cold Colorado powder. Colorado’s Copper Mountain Resort undoubtedly has a lot to offer.

The trails below the tree line are typical of Colorado; they are well-planned fall line courses with rollers and compressions to keep things interesting and lengthy enough to burn the quadriceps of even the most seasoned skier. Deep powder bowls, chutes, cornices, jumps, and bumps may be found at Copper Ski Resort’s high alpine regions, which are located above the tree line.

A fair number of intermediate cruisers are available in copper, although blue runs are quite challenging. A number of long groomed cruisers are serviced by the Super Bee and American Eagle lifts. The well-known Timberline region has shorter blue runs as well as some of Colorado’s only intermediate terrain that is regularly ungroomed; some trails have no ungroomed sections at all, while others have an ungroomed part close to a groomed one. In any case, these trails provide a good chance for those studying moguls to practice.

Skiers and riders with experience will like Copper very much. While lengthy, challenging mogul runs may be found in the lower level Alpine and Resolution sectors, black runs in high alpine regions often offer short, steep pitches. Throughout the resort, there is a lot of difficult tree terrain. Even in lower mountain regions, which are more often associated with smoother slopes, the thickly forested glades off the green and blue cruisers provide difficult obstacles.

Skiing and Boarding for Intermediate

The intermediate terrain of Copper Mountain is excellent, and it includes several nice fall line runs that are appropriately categorized as blue. The intermediate terrain at Copper is concentrated around a lot of the fast chairlifts, which is great for skiers in peak physical condition who want to get in as many spins as possible!

The Timberline express region is where a lot of intermediate skiers spend their time. The slope on Little Burn under the chair is a fantastic place to practice bump skiing. Even with wearing goggles, some courses like Copperfield and Jacque’s Pique are very fast rolling groomers that will make you cry. Off the Super Bee and American Eagle chairs, there is also a sizable intermediate terrain.

A couple of the groomed black routes that go to the Super Bee’s base are suitable for competent intermediates. Upper intermediate skiers could also try out the challenging terrain around the Blackjack and Mountain Chief chairs if the snow is in excellent condition. With the Otto Bahn, you may “test before you buy” and have secure access.

Higher Level Ski and Board Terrain

There is nothing better at Copper than to go roaring down some of the advanced runs beneath the Super Bee chair at Mach 2.5 first thing in the morning (and final run of the day). The runs begin as pleasant blues and get darker as you descend towards East Village’s base area. The black sections that go under the Alpine Chair and continue on to the Resolution Chair see less traffic and more bumps. The broad selection of steeper and tree-lined terrain served by the Blackjack and Mountain Chief chairs will test even the most experienced skiers.

With a variety of unexpected glades to explore, tree skiers have plenty of options. Look at the skiers on the American Eagle chair at the summit and to Hallelujah’s left. There are more lines there than you can count, and the majority of them are not included on the trail map.

Skiing and Snowboarding Professionals & Experts in Copper

The Copper high alpine region, including Copper Bowl and the terrain off Tucker Mountain, will be a favorite among experts. Previously, a snowcat was required to reach this area, but the Three Bears chair lift has changed everything. For some of the better lines, you will still need to hike.

Cliffs or rocks are present in a lot of double black runs. West Ridge, undoubtedly the most challenging area of the mountain, with challenging, cliff-filled routes that need a cornice to drop onto.

Although Copper has always had a good selection of expert terrain, the installation of the Three Bears lift has undoubtedly changed the resort. The resort now provides direct lift service to steep, tricky tree and bowl terrain that most other Colorado resorts can’t match. Previously, access to this terrain required a weather-dependent snowcat trip and a walk. Although some people may miss the actual solitude of the days before the lifts here, the amazing vistas and seclusion in this location contribute to the experience.

Copper’s Woodward terrain parks provide a superb freestyle experience. The resort is the perfect place for tourists wishing to gain confidence on boxes, rails, and jumps since features are created with growth in mind. The features of these parks range in size from tiny to big, including a bunny hill beginning park, a 13-foot quarterpipe, and a 22-foot halfpipe.

Take the Alpine chair for some leg-burning mogul runs. For early-season pow days when the bowls are closed, this area is fantastic for laps.

Even if you’re a seasoned skier or hiker, Copper’s terrain’s elevation may cause you unanticipated difficulty. The resort has one of the highest base altitudes in North America at 9,600 feet. The resort’s elevation at its highest point exceeds 12,400 feet, which is several thousand feet higher than the highest terrain on several rival mountains. Prior to engaging in any harmful activity, always sure to use additional care.

Physically moving around is usually not too bad, though getting to the backside may be challenging if you’re not used to surface lifts. The hardest part of the mountain is getting to the Resolution and Spaulding regions from the backside, which necessitates returning to one of the base sites.

The Lifts

There are five contemporary lifts, including the American Flyer chondola, which take you a considerable distance up the slope from the base area (gross between a gondola and chair lift). Areas further up the mountain are serviced by two more express quads. If not, old-fashioned triple and double chairs are put in strategic locations over the hillside to bring you to the merchandise. Naturally, one of the advantages of being “older” is that you have a bit more time for healing and a chance to plan your next move. Additionally, Copper Mountain offers a variety of drag lifts and magic carpets (conveyor lifts).

There are a variety of lift types placed throughout the resort and many have been upgraded in recent years. These newer lifts make lines go faster and your lift ride up more enjoyable…

The Tucker Mountain’s Three Bears chairlift whisks thrill seekers to double-black diamond terrain that was previously only reachable by snowcat. In 2019, the resort is replacd the main lift with a combination of eight-person gondola cabins and six-person high-speed chairs. This chondola increased lift capacity by 40%, which helps alleviate many of the long lift lines. The American Flyer lift now features Colorado’s first high-speed six-pack bubble chairlift.

The bubble chairlift is especially great if it’s windy or snowing. One of the days we snowboarded there were strong winds and snow throughout the day. We could put down the bubble and get some reprive from the elements and warm up a little bit.

Nearly all lower mountain lifts have high speed, including the iconic American Eagle chondola and American Flyer bubble lifts provide stunning and enjoyable rides. But a number of significant mountain areas, including all high-alpine regions, continue to offer slow, fixed-grip lift service. Many of these lifts are outdated, difficult to load, and some are particularly wind-exposed. The worst offenders, however, mostly reside in areas with difficult terrain, which impacts the most experienced.

Options for Lift Passes

Beginners like Copper Ski Resort for its reasonably priced novice lift pass for the Center Village-based Green Acres Area (Gem, EZ Rider, and Pitchfork lifts). For families traveling from the Front Range, Copper’s multi-week youth ski programs are a good offer and less expensive than the local competitors.
see the website for Copper Mountain

Lift tickets are pricey at the window, but if you make your commitment early enough, a variety of options can make the resort a good value for what you get.

Copper offers a variety of early-season lift ticket choices, including a reasonably priced, adaptable 4-day pass that many locals reserve for powder days. Blackout dates from the base pass do not apply here, and access to the resort is unlimited with the Ikon Pass. A standalone season pass is also available from the resort for a few hundred dollars less than the Ikon options.

Woodward Copper

Since Copper Mountain has a lengthy history of creating parks and superpipes, it has solid credentials when it comes to providing for park addicts. The debut of Woodward Copper was a step forward for Copper. Woodward, which is a collection of tramps, jumps, “cliffs,” and skate ramps, is situated in the “Barn” between the Center and East Villages. The foam pits are amazing because you can safely land in the foam after “jumping” down a little cliff. Riders may experience the “feel for air” without risking fractures. Even the elderly like it since they (OK, I) get to imagine what it would have been like to have been a “champion”!

The Bad…

Not the Most Developed Base Area

The biggest downside from our experience and reviews is the base area of the resort is not the best. There are limited restaurants and shopping available, but Frisco, a thriving ski town, is just a short drive away. If you need anything, you can always find it there.

There is a $100 million makeover of Copper’s base area, including Element 29, a brand-new 127-room hotel. We expect the base area to improve in future years. There are also three redesigned Woodward parks intended to bridge the gap between newbies and rats and new Village establishments – Toast & Co and 10 Mile Tavern.

Lack of Nightlife

After dinner, Copper Village is pretty much deserted. Restaurants and bars close, so for real nightlife options, head to Frisco or Dillon. These towns have bars that have a very local vibe, are casual to lively, and some even have live music or DJs on the weekends. If you don’t want to drive, the bus service in Summit County offers convenient, secure transportation to and from these locations. If you’re looking for a fun night out after the slopes then Copper Mountain may not be it.

Limited Lodging

In its East, Center, and West base villages, Copper offers a variety of on-site lodging choices. Elegant hotels and condos are among the options. All are a short walk from the resort, but only a few in the far West Village are ski-in/ski-out. Pools and/or hot tubs are a common feature of on-site amenities.

The nearby towns of Frisco, Dillon, and Silverthorne provide significantly less expensive lodging options if you’re looking for something more affordable. The distance between these towns and Copper is only a short drive, but if you don’t have a vehicle, Summit County provides free bus service to the resort. It’s important to note that staying off-site on busy days isn’t always recommended because Copper can experience heavy morning traffic.

What we thought…

Overall, Copper’s mountain aesthetic is impressive. Excellent views and isolation can be found in high-alpine regions, and the resort is surrounded by a number of striking mountain ranges. Although the lower mountain areas near Copper’s base aren’t overly developed, the I-70 interstate creates background noise and offers less-than-ideal views.