Copper Mountain

Colorado, USA

Copper Mountain Ski Resort is one of Colorado’s biggest surprise packages. With fun skiing for all standards, long runs, great value accommodation and easy access to Denver, it’s worth checking out.

Scout Loves

  • Lots of long, thigh-burning runs for all standards.
  • Well-laid out mountain separating different levels of skiers.
  • One of the official training grounds of the US Ski Team.
  • The compact, pedestrian-friendly Center Village.
  • Almost all the accommodation is within walking distance of a lift.
  • Copper Mountain has a fantastic app with tips from local skiers.
  • Practise your park skills at Woodward - an indoor training center with jumps and foam pits.

Scout Tips

  • Copper can get crowded on weekends, however possibly less so than other Summit County resorts.
  • It’d be hard for a group of mixed abilities to ski together all day as runs for each standard are mostly segregated.
  • If you’re here for more than a week and eating out every night you will probably want to venture into Frisco for more choice.
  • Copper village doesn’t have much in the way of a late-night party scene.

Scout Review

Like so many other skiers, Scout spent years driving past Copper Mountain on the way to one of Summit County’s more popular resorts such as Vail, Aspen or Beaver Creek. Every time we whizzed past on i70 we looked up, thinking, “That looks like it has a few good runs, maybe next time”. So when we finally got there in January, 2015, we were pleasantly surprised.

Copper Mountain doesn’t just have a few good runs. It’s got a ton of uncrowded (on week days at least), long, rolling, varied, hidden, endless, challenging, steep and deep runs. Runs that are perfect for beginners gaining confidence, runs that are fun for intermediates and some more challenging runs for the advanced. It truly has great terrain for all standards and covering 2465 skiable acres (998ha) it has enough to keep you entertained for days.

Copper Mountain has a neat, pedestrian-friendly Center Village that contains most of the après and shopping action. It’s not a huge village, but has just enough to choose from when it comes to restaurants and bars - nothing too fancy but perfect for families or groups of friends looking to have a bit of laidback fun off the slopes without breaking the bank. Center Village has a mixture of buildings (a few of which have the unfortunate look that came with 80s development) containing condos, retail and restaurants and there’s a huge, natural ice-skating rink. Crossing a small river that meanders around the edge of the village takes you to a few more condo properties. Two additional villages (East and West) have a few facilities, including the main ski school area at West Village, however it really is the Center Village where all the action is. Even more choice is added by just a short drive to the towns of Silverthorne and Frisco.

One of the biggest surprises about Copper is how uncrowded it is, especially given its convenient location so close to Denver. From a purely selfish point-of-view, let’s hope it stays that way and most people just keep going past and looking up.

Copper Mountain Skiing

One of Copper Mountain’s best attributes is the way the developers have used the natural division of terrain to create several distinct areas that almost exclusively cater to different levels of skiers. Beginners will have most of their fun on the looker’s right above the West Village area. Intermediates have a couple of great runs in this area, off the Timberline Express, but most of their terrain comprises long groomers heading off the high-speed American Eagle or Super Bee lifts. The further to the (looker’s) left of the mountain you go, the more advanced the runs become with lots of long, fast runs off the old alpine double chairlift and the Resolution Bowl. However, it’s up the top of the mountain that advanced skiers will have their most fun, with several bowls, gladed runs and chutes to get the adrenaline pumping. Copper Bowl even has a free snowcat for accessing some of the double blacks off Tucker Mountain. Get out here early on a powder day and you’ll find fresh tracks all morning. (The cat runs from 10am–1.30pm on select days).

Take advantage of the resort’s app – called Sherpa which has pre-recorded tips from locals, and allows you to plan ahead and even leave your own tips for others. It might be a hassle taking your gloves off to use it, but if you like discovering new areas it does help.

Copper has excellent terrain park features thanks to “Woodward” – Copper’s own freestyle facilities brand. With a mixture of features for all standards, including a superpipe, a 13’ pipe and snowcross track. The features are scattered throughout the lower mountain area, but most are found in the Woodward park under the Union Creek Lift. There’s also a fantastic indoor Woodward training facility that lets you learn and perfect jumps with the safety of foam pits, among other fun features and activities.

Copper Mountain For Families

Copper Mountain Resort is an excellent choice for families due to the large variety of good value condo accommodation, relatively easy access to the ski slopes and fun facilities for kids off the slopes such as the ice-skating rink and Woodward. Copper has five magic carpet/conveyer lifts for beginners. The group ski lessons at Copper Mountain are all based out of The Schoolhouse in the West Village – it will require a shuttle to get to in the mornings if you are staying in the Center Village. Lessons can be booked as part of a Copper Ski Package on Scout. A great asset for younger families is Critterland in the East Village. A safe, fenced-off area featuring a mini-tubing hill, play areas, a tubing carousel and a “Crooked House”.

Copper Mountain Accommodation

The accommodation at Copper Mountain is primarily made up of a mix of budget to mid-range condo properties scattered around Center Village. There is no full-service hotel of any standard and the most upmarket accommodation would be at The Cirque, located between the West and Center Villages (still within walking distance of the lifts). Only a few of the properties are truly ski-in ski-out, however most are within a 5-10 minute easy walk to a lift. We would recommend staying in the Center or West Village areas as the East Village is a little isolated and does not have beginners ski access. All of the accommodation checks in at the specific lodging check-in center near Woodward and the Athletic Club. Read our detailed reviews of Copper Accommodation and book just a room or a whole Copper Ski Package Deal via Scout.

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Resort Activities

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Scout Field Guide >

As well as the ice-skating and Woodward facilities there are a ton of other activities at Copper Mountain apart from skiing or boarding. There’s tubing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, zip-lining and Critterland (see above) for the younger kids. The Copper Mountain Athletic Club and Spa has fitness facilities, a swimming pool and full-service spa. More detailed information about all these activities is in our Copper Mountain Scout Field Guide.

Getting There and Around

Copper Mountain Resort is 75 miles (120km) from Denver and a drive of at least 1 hour 40 minutes from Denver International Airport. You will want to allow plenty of extra time for getting back to the airport, particularly on weekends, as the i70 can be notoriously slow, especially if it’s snowing. Barring any major traffic incidents it’s an easy drive entirely on freeways.  It’s also possible to fly into Eagle Airport, about 70 miles west of Copper. However, it doesn’t offer as many flight choices and generally they’re a lot more expensive.

If you don’t want to rent and drive yourself you can catch a shuttle from the airport with one of several companies offering a variety of options. A one-way shuttle ride will set you back about $70 for adults.

Once in Copper you’ll rarely need a car. Most condos are within walking distance of the lifts and there’s an excellent free shuttle bus that connects all the villages and facilities. There’s also a free bus, the Summit Stage that links Copper with Frisco, allowing you to explore its historic downtown and great restaurant and bar choices.

More details are in the Copper Mountain Scout Field Guide – free with any booking.

When To Go

Copper Mountain Resort opens from early November until mid-April. Hours of operation are 9am to 4pm on weekdays and 8.30am to 4pm on weekends and holidays.

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