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Everitt adds that the powder and tree skiing are both "unbelievable, with lots of hidden pockets that have glades in them." His favorite tree run is One and a Half. "It's funny how that got that name," he says. "Back during the Second World War, the Tenth Mountain Division, which was then the Cold Weather Training Division, was on the mountain. The training sergeants were afraid the troops wouldn't remember the names of the trails, so he called them one, two, three, etc. And One and a Half was the marvelous glade between what is now Molly Mayfield and Sitzmark." Another glade he appreciates, one with "more open glade skiing," is Powder Keg, just west of Kamikazee.
"Kamikazee is the bump run," Everitt says. "It's a solid black, and while it's not always bumped up, I'd say it is about 99 percent of the time. They only groom it early in the year to get it packed down, and then they don't groom it again." When the snow is deep, though, Everitt always takes Last Chance. "No one knows that it's really there, and I can go in two or three days after a storm and always find fresh snow," he says. "It's a challenging trail with a double fall line, so you get twice as much powder skiing on one run. Ski the fall line and traverse back, and you get another shot at a straight fall line." Last Chance is also Everitt's pick for the best view on Cooper.
Ambush is another one Everitt says he always hits. "That's good for beginners moving up to intermediate," he says. "That and Burnout are a little steeper than the greens, a little narrower, and they don't get groomed as often. You might even run into a few small bumps. And Ambush is the one I use to get away from other skiers, because it's never tracked up." And for intermediates making their way to expert, he suggests Mother Lode, because "it has a very short face on it, and that face will bump up," he explains. "But you can get out if you need to, and the rest of it's more like a blue."
According to Everitt, if Cooper is known for its trees, then Leadville is famous for its Mexican food. "There are four unbelievable Mexican restaurants here," he says, and he lists them: La Cantina (1942 U.S. Hwy. 24), The Grill (715 Elm), Casablanca (118 E. Second) and Matilda's (323 E. Fourth). "The Grill is almost world-famous," he boasts. "There's sometimes a wait, it's so popular, so then I usually head over to La Cantina."
For breakfast, Everitt goes to the Old Glory Cafe (222 Harrison Ave.) for "reasonable diner food--not real fancy but good--and they do these different scrambles mixed with avocado and jalapeno-Jack cheese," he says. "They also have my favorite lunch, the BLT, with turkey, bacon and avocado on wheat bread. It's excellent." He also favors the Homestead Bakery (714 Harrison Ave.) for doughnuts and breakfast fixings on homemade bagels, "and their pecan rolls are out of this world," he adds.
At either lunch or dinner, Everitt likes the High Country (115 Harrison Ave.) for a burger, and also Wild Bill's Hamburgers & Ice Cream (200 Harrison Ave.). And for pizza, he names The Pizzeria (715 Harrison Ave.) and the High Country as two good choices. "Our Pizza Hut burned down this summer," he laments. And when the Everitts want a special night out, they go to The Delaware Hotel (700 Harrison Ave.). "It's very elegant, fairly expensive," he says. "The food and service are exquisite, and they have an excellent wine list. And the desserts are unbelievable." He adds that the bar at the Delaware is the locals' hangout, along with the Silver Dollar Saloon (315 Harrison Ave.).
Everitt would like people to know that Ski Cooper serves breakfast, lunch and dinner on the mountain by special request. "Call the night before and we'll get you set up," he says. "That's the thing with Ski Cooper--we can still be so guest-oriented and personal."
General Information: 1-719-486-3684.
Snow Report: 1-719-486-2277.
Location: 100 miles west of Denver via I-70 (exit 195), 24 miles west on Colo. Hwy. 91 to U.S. Hwy. 24, 9 miles west.
Opening and Closing Dates: November 22 to March 29
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Terrain: 30% beginner, 40% intermediate, 30% advanced. 385 developed acres with a 1,200' vertical drop. Base: 10,500'; top: 11,700'; longest run: 1.4 miles.
Lifts: 1 triple chair, 1 double chair, 2 surface lifts.
Lift Rates: Adult full-day $25; child full-day $15; child under 6 and senior over 70 free.
Rentals: Adult novice package $12; adult performance package $25; child $8; snowboard package $25.
Snowboarding/Cross-Country: Snowboarding welcome. Cross-country call Piney Creek Nordic Center at 1-719-486-1750 for information.
Special Events: 8th Annual Off-Track, Off-Beat Snowshoe Run, Dec. 13; Buddy Werner Invitational Race, Dec. date TBA; Special Olympics Regional Race, Feb. 4-5; Rocky Mountain Age Class Championship Race, March 12-14; 10th Mountain Reunion and Ski-In, March 20.
As the 1996 World Champion extreme skier, Chris Davenport knows a thing or two about the sport--and about what makes a good mountain. "Snowmass is one of the most underrated ski areas in the West as far as steep skiing and black diamond terrain," Davenport, 26, says. "It is so notorious for big open cruisers, but it has this excellent other space, in-bounds and out. So it's really great for the locals that know about it, so we don't get a huge horde of people tracking it up."