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Copper Mountain Is Open: Here's What's New in 2016

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Depending on how you look at things, we either got a lovely extended fall or were robbed of primo skiing due to unseasonably warm weather. If your thinking falls into the latter camp, you'll be glad to know that resorts are finally opening – and offering more than ever this year.

In this year's edition of Edge, our snow-activities guide to resorts in Colorado, we've told you about what’s new at every major ski area in the state,  must-do experiences and insider tips. We’ve also done our own tireless research all over the state and reached out to some experts for suggestions on how to make the most of it all, whether you’re looking to drop some coin for something special or just trying to get by as a dirtbag ski bum like the rest of us. We'll roll those out at resorts open, like Copper Mountain, which opened Friday, November 18.

What’s new: Copper Mountain’s season kicked off on November 18, with an opening-day celebration featuring DJ Landry, gear giveaways, and grand openings for the new On the Rockies Whiskey Bar and Eagle BBQ, both in the Center Village base area. This season also marks the return, after a one-year hiatus, of the U.S. Grand Prix, December 11-17 — featuring a World Cup halfpipe event on the FIS ski-and-snowboard circuit that awards points toward Olympic qualification.

Signature experience: Don’t miss the free snowcat to Tucker Mountain from the back side of the resort. “This cat runs up to Copper’s Tucker Mountain terrain — advanced and expert skiing or riding that’s as close to the backcountry as you can get in-bounds,” says Copper Mountain spokeswoman Stephanie Sweeney.

Insider info: Ready to step up to some new tricks? Woodward Copper’s year-round action-sports camp offers full-day small-group ski and ride lessons in the terrain parks from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily; fees start at $169, with a maximum class size of four. Or head to the Barn, an indoor training facility complete with trampolines, foam-pit jumps and skatepark-style features.

Splurge: Moonlight Dine & Ski is the perfect addition to a weekend or holiday stay. Take the American Eagle lift up, have a gourmet buffet dinner at Solitude Station, then ski or snowboard back down to Center Village under the moon and stars. Intermediate snow skills are required; check coppercolorado.com for dates.

Ski bum tips: “Pay attention to Copper’s event schedule,” Sweeney says. “There are many events that include free live music, free giveaways and sometimes even free beer. Score. You can also find a handful of free offerings around Copper: free snowshoe tours, free ice skating, free parking and free snowcat access.”

Drink local: Make the scene at On the Rockies, which specializes in craft whiskeys and craft beer from Colorado and beyond. Also check out the happy-hour deals at Endo’s Bar & Grill, Jack’s Bar, JJ’s Rocky Mountain Tavern, and Jill’s Umbrella Bar, all offering $3 drinks from 3 to 6 p.m. every day. Staying overnight? Check out the late-night happy hour from 9 to 11 p.m. at the Storm King Lounge, a sushi bar offering an extensive list of martinis, sakes, Scotches, bourbons, drafts and bottled beers.

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