Copper Mountain opens today, with skiing and riding on Rhapsody and Main Vein, "thanks to the hard work of Copper’s snowmaking team over the last week and fourteen-plus inches of natural snow," the resort says. The American Eagle chairlift will crank up beginning at 9 a.m. The first 400 guests in line will be treated to free donuts and hot chocolate. Because opening day is also Veteran’s Day, Copper will offer free skiing and riding today to all active or retired military and their dependents.
You can read about every Colorado ski resort in the Edge, our winter sports guide. Find the Edge in print in last week's issue of Westword — or follow along as we roll out the guide online. Each description lays out what's new, what the signature experience is at each resort, what to splurge on, how to go cheap and, of course, what to drink. Now, head for the trees.
What’s new: Sherpa, Copper Mountain’s on-mountain mobile app, tracks your stats and offers trail recommendations based on a user’s previous skiing or riding patterns via e-mail or in-app notifications, with other new features going live in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Signature experience: Time to learn some new tricks? Sign up for a session in the Woodward Copper Barn, a 19,400-square-foot indoor training facility with trampolines, ramps of all sizes, and foam pits to take the sting out of trying something a bit out of your comfort zone. While you’ll almost certainly see Olympians and X Games stars flipping out all over the place in there, don’t be intimidated; you’re also just as likely to see little kids — and their moms and dads — mixing it up.
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Splurge: Copper Mountain spokeswoman Steph Sweeney suggests the C.B. Grille, where “guests will find Copper’s finer-dining experience, with menu items like elk chops, salmon and steak in a relaxed yet refined atmosphere. With live jazz on the weekends, it can make for a nice romantic meal after a great day on the slopes.”
Ski bum tips: “Catch the Tucker Mountain Snowcat on the weekends — it’s the best deal for expert skiers,” Sweeney says. On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., this free snowcat continuously makes laps up the expert terrain on Tucker Mountain. “With its north-facing slopes, you can find fresh powder days after a storm. What some people may not realize is, there are a lot of free things up for grabs at Copper to help make a ski trip more affordable. There’s always free parking available in the Alpine Lot and a free shuttle into any of the base areas. There are free mountain orientation tours each day given by Copper Ambassadors to help guests get acquainted with the resort’s terrain. There are also free snowshoe tours available twice a day, given by the Copper Ambassadors.”
Drink locally: As at most of the state’s ski areas, you’ll find Colorado brews on tap in most establishments here. Sweeney recommends the Incline Bar and Grill, the most casual of the base-area bars. Frisco’s Backcountry Brewery and Silverthorne’s Baker’s Brewery, both nearby on the way back to Denver, are other favorites.