Copper Mountain, Colo.: Rank 23 West, 1998

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Copper may have fallen in the rankings (last year it was No. 14), but the resort's management doesn't seem worried, viewing this as a time of transition. Taking heed of reader comments such as "needs more high-speed quads" and "lack of village shops and nightlife," Copper underwent the first phases of a massive mountain overhaul last summer¿to the tune of $66 million. Wait until you see the transformation. Targeted for completion next fall, Copper Springs Lodge is under construction in the former B-lift parking lot. A massive 40,000-square-foot day lodge, Copper Station, scheduled to open in July 1999, now looms at the base of the east village. On the hill, a six-passenger chairlift replaces the painfully slow B and B-1 lifts. The high-speed lift, the first six-pack in Colorado, accesses favorite runs such as Andy's Encore and Collage, as well as the mogul-blessed Resolution Bowl. A new high-speed quad also replaces the E-lift triple. After speeding around the mountain so quickly, you'll need a break. Soak in some sun during lunch at the outdoor T-Rex Cafe at the base of the Timberline Express. For finer fare, head to Pesce Fresco in the main village for gourmet pasta and fresh seafood.

What's New Colorado's first six-pack chairlift; a high-speed quad replaces the E lift; Copper Springs Lodge; Copper Station; expanded snowmaking system.
A Good Deal The $5 bag lunches at Copper Commons and Union Creek cafeterias.
Medals Gold Terrain, Challenge, Weather, Access; Silver Snow, Grooming, Value, Lifts, Service.
High/Low Rank Access (7); Dining (51).
Don't Miss Snowtubing. (Be prepared. Wear your ski gear.)
Reader Remarks "Variety of terrain, friendly staff, no fluff¿a solid skier's mountain." "Not much dining. Nightlife? NOT!!"