A favorite among locals, Copper has a healthy, sometimes disorienting, dose of ski-bum meets mega-resort energy. Old school two-seaters sit cheerily next to futuristic-looking Ikon Pass checkpoints. “Copper has a down to earth vibe, and great and varied skiing,” says one reader. The resort is one of the easiest to navigate, “A true skiers’ mountain, very accessible, terrain naturally segregated by ability, lots of wonderful runs…” opines another.
Three Bears chairlift on Tucker Mountain, new last season, hoists adventure-seekers to double-black terrain formerly only accessible by snowcat. “The Tucker Mountain chairlift is a nice addition!” While the terrain has improved, Copper’s downsides are the same as in years past. “This is our home base. The base area is not great, but the skiing is!” Still, a bustling ski town is only a short drive away in Frisco. Access off I-70 ranks the resort at No. 4 for Travel Ease, but weekend traffic snarls leave their mark. “Parking and getting to the slopes on a busy day can be a real hassle.” Yet, a vice can also be a strength, “Easy access off the interstate. The most underrated ski terrain in the U.S.!” —Claire Barber
2021 Resort Guide Reader Rank for Copper Mountain: No. 24 in the West
- What’s New: As part of POWDR Corp.’s 100 million dollar transformation of Copper’s base area, Element 29, a new 127-room hotel, opens this season.
- Mandatory Run: Take the Alpine chair for some mogul leg burners. Great lap-able area for early season pow days when the bowls aren’t open.
- Best Value: Copper’s multi-week youth ski programs are a deal for families driving in from the Front Range, and are not as pricey as the nearby competition.
Check out No. 23 in the West: Alta, Utah
Get up to speed: No. 25 in the West – Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows, Calif.
Copper Mountain’s 2020 SKI Magazine Reader Resort Survey Rank: 15th in the West
Copper Mountain has long been plagued by a familiar refrain: “If you love to ski and aren’t into après and nightlife, Copper is great!” The Village at Copper, however, is already bearing some fruits of POWDr Corp’s $100 million multi-year transformation, which includes new Village offerings like Toast & Co and 10 Mile Tavern, revamped retail at Camp Hale, and two new lifts (the resort replaced the American Eagle and American Flyer last season with a six-pack and chondola, respectively). Readers are thrilled: “Love the new lifts!” exclaims one. “Can’t wait for the one up Tucker!” Which brings us to what the resort still has in store: a new lift called Three Bears that accesses terrain on Tucker Mountain previously only skiable via snowcat, a new 127-room hotel in the Village, and three redesigned Woodward parks aimed to bridge the gap between the newbs and rats.
Meanwhile, Copper continues to garner praise for the attributes it’s always possessed: “The layout is the best I’ve ever seen.” Indeed, the mountain reads like a flag: striped with double-blacks over on Super Bee and the real-deal backside bowls, rolling blues off of American Eagle, winding greens off of American Flyer, and the terrain parks off Union Creek. It all adds up to a No. 7 rank in Terrain, well-deserved for a place that unapologetically caters to real skiers. It also earns a No. 5 in Accessibility and a No. 9 in Travel Ease despite I-70’s ample weekend traffic, and manages to keep liftlines in check despite being on the Ikon Pass. “This massive gem is finally coming into its own.” — Kimberly Beekman
- WHAT’S NEW: The Three Bears lift up Tucker Mountain and a new terrain park pod.
- DINNER PICK: C.B. Grille is still the go-to for fine dining; hit Ten Mile (where Endo’s used to be) for casual fare.
- LUNCH SPOT: Mountain Melt is a creative take on the world’s greatest comfort food: mac and cheese. Lobster mac, buffalo chicken mac, bacon cheeseburger mac… You get the idea.
- FAMILY EXPERIENCE: Send your kids to a Woodward at Copper camp. It’s like Disney for park rats.
SKI Magazine’s 2019 Review of Copper Mountain, Colo.
Copper does lots of things well: The 2,465-acre resort has an excellent variety of naturally differentiated terrain that gets more challenging from west to east, and a seriously underrated high alpine filled with adventure terrain—plus a free snowcat to maximize your time there. For families, Copper is one of the best resorts to learn to ski thanks to stellar learning programs, (slightly) lower prices, and a down-to-earth vibe that makes you want to hang a little longer.
The vibe here is somehow simultaneously hip and refreshingly old-school: Go have some damn fun. Copper sees—and markets—itself as the rebel force to the corporate imperial army down the road. It works. “It is the great alternative,” says one reader.
Both next-gen Woodward and the U.S. Ski Team’s speed center call Copper home, which tells you a lot. Copper is quietly one of the better skiable mountains in all of Colorado. “There’s no other resort where you can ski in two hours the vertical and terrain that you can here,” a reader says. The East Village is family headquarters with its easy-riding Super Bee six-pack. There’s no cover charge on the Super Bee, but we’ll institute a two-run minimum when ripping with the kids. A ski resort reveals its bona fides in a variety of ways, but “I named my dog after Copper” is as good as any we’ve heard in a while.
New for 2019
- Big news for Copper skiers: The resort is replacing two chairs this season. The American Eagle becomes a chondola, with a mix of six-person high-speed chairs and eight-person gondola cabins that increases lift capacity by 40 percent. The American Flyer upgrades to a high-speed six-pack bubble chairlift—Colorado’s first.