Things To Do
Variety – that’s what skiers get at Summit County ski area Copper Mountain. Located right along Interstate 70, the lower slopes offer a mix of mild and steep wide-open runs, ending at three different base villages. There are enough green and blue runs for the beginner or intermediate skier to stay occupied for days. But it’s the upper reaches where Copper truly shines: massive back bowls and high peaks make the expert skier feel on top of the world. From the top of 12,300-foot Union Peak, you can bomb down the face and feel like a superhero on skis. The back bowls offer a chance to put the Interstate – and everything else not related to shredding – out of your mind as you hunt fresh tracks in the shadow of the mighty Tenmile Range. The snowcat to Tucker Mountain opens up the kind of terrain usually reserved for backcountry skiers. With 2,465 acres, there’s enough variety to keep a skier or snowboarder occupied for a week – or a lifetime.
I’ve had many, many memorable powder days at Copper, but one day in particular stands out. On a big powder day, it usually takes a while for the steeper runs to be cleared of avalanche risk. Usually, I hit some tree runs on the lower slopes while this happens. On this day in 2015, though, I hit Union Bowl just as the ropes were dropped. Two runs later, I was right there when ski patrol opened Union Peak. And so it went, watching ski patrol from the lifts and being right there as each new area opened. I don’t always time my skiing so well, but on this day, the plan really came together.
Recommended season(s): November to April.
—R. Scott Rappold