It’s been a few weeks since my wife and I went skiing at Copper Mountain but every passing day with minimal snow here in the Twin Cities makes me yearn for the mountains. There, even without a ton of snow you could still have a blast, as we did with our three-day stay at the mountain. For never having skied outside of the midwest before, I think we handled our own quite well.
The first day we skied it was a bluebird day and warm. Some people I heard complaining about it but since it’s rare that you can enjoy an outdoor winter sport while it’s warm here in Minnesota, we loved it. The snow itself wasn’t the greatest but it didn’t bother us. Bad skiing conditions in Colorado is better than great skiing conditions here in Minnesota. The second day we skied was fun because it was pretty much a blizzard the whole day. The change in skiing on some ice and abruptly hitting fresh powder was noticeable, but not bad.
Here are some of the highlights and lowlights:
Runs that take you longer than 30 seconds to get down.
Great mountain and great facilities.
Copper has terrific staff.
Blues are fun. I had a misconception before going out there that since I can dominate blues in Minnesota, blue runs in CO might be too easy. Turns out I’m an idiot.
Black Diamonds weren’t really that much harder, just a lot longer. Which means strength and stamina is important.
Lifts are super fast.
The scenery is so beautiful.
Once when at the top of the Superbee lift, I was above a big snow cloud. So, when I get off the lift it’s bright and sunny (though windy) and I look down the Ptarmigan run and see this ominous dark cloud before me. I’ve got no choice but to ski into the abyss, and into the abyss I skied.
The scenic view at the top of Rendezvous with my wife.
Taking the Sierra lift up and not really knowing how to get to Timber Ridge. Helps if the signs are actually up.
All you can eat sushi in the village.
Crepes in Breck.
The gondola in Breck wasn’t fantastical, but it was free and fun.
Rocky Mountain Resort Management. We rented a decent condo from this group (via AirBnB.com) and while the accommodations itself were nice, the customer service was terrible. It’s too long of a story to retell, but if you value being able to get into the property you rented right away without having to drive around for 4 hours and having someone from RMRM tell you you’re doing something wrong and to “sneak in” to the place, don’t rent through Rocky Mountain Resort Management.
Because of the lack of snowfall, the whole backside was pretty much closed. Not much anybody can do about that I guess.
Downtown Breckenridge is fun for a couple of hours, not for 5.
When you go to a ski resort, it’s helpful if you remember to pack your ski pants so you don’t have to buy some there.
Everyone that has ever been to a western skiing resort told me it would be expensive when I got there. I thought they were embellishing. They weren’t.
Overall, we loved Copper and would go back every year if we could.
We took the day off to relax and look around the area spending most of the day in Breckenridge. They too have a lack of snow which limited outdoor activities but didn’t prevent a stop by Crepes a la Cart and a ride up the gondola, and the Breckenridge Brewery.
Today was our first day of skiing at Copper Mountain. It was fairly warm with temperatures in the low to mid 40s. This provided a gorgeous day and we were warm the whole time. That being said, warm weather tends to have a negative impact on snow, or so I’ve heard.
Dreams of powder are out the window and are replaced with tempered realism. Colorado in general hasn’t seen a ton of snow his season and all the resorts are taking a hit because of it. Despite this, skiing here blows skiing in Minnesota out of the water. When locals here tell me hat its not that good because there are “icy” sections, I smile and nod, thinking to myself that if they really want to whine about icy skiing, go ski Afton, Trollhaugen, or Wild Mountain (sorry guys) and get back to me.
The best part of the day was skiing on long runs. Since this was our first day and we wanted to get acclimated to the mountain, I didn’t push it too hard, that’s Saturdays goal. Instead, I went down quite a few blues and a lot of greens with Liz. Highlight runs for me were Bouncer and Andy’s Recluse. Andy’s was so long, fast, and challenging. I loved it. Another bright spot fore was the top of the Rendezvous lift. The view for the top there was fantastic and is the type of thing that makes a trip out west for me worth it.
Although there were quite a few runs closed and the snow wasn’t great, I don’t think I could’ve asked for more out of the day….oh except for forgetting my ski pants at home like an idiot and having to buy new ones. I’d change that.
We’re taking tomorrow off to rest and bum around. Saturday is supposed to bring more snow and more crowds. I gladly welcome the former.
My wife and I love downhill skiing. Although we dabbled in it very briefly in our youth, we never really got into it until a year or so before we were married. For that reason, our sking experiences have been limited to Minnesota (and a little bit in Michigan for me).
We’ve always wanted to go out west and ski in the shadows of mountaintops and have dreamed of ski engulfing powder but it has never worked out. We’re not ski bums, neither of us were raised in skiing families, our close friends aren’t avid skiers, and getting work off during this time of year is always challenging for me. The closest we’ve ever come was when we took a long weekend and went to Lutsen for an anniversary. I know, I know, Lutsen is certainly not the west, bit it’s the best our lovely state has to offer.
Now that we have an 18 month old at home our goal of taking the plunge and making that trip seems to be more and more difficult (and more expensive).
For exactly that reason we decided to go for it. Next week we’ll be skiing at Copper Mountain for a few days. To many, this isn’t a big deal since they travel to or live near a major ski resort with actual mountains and ski on ideal conditions all the time. But humor me and think back to that first time you made a trip to a place with skiing the way its supposed to be done. That’s the kind of excitement we’re boarding our Delta flight to Denver with.
I’ll post from Copper Mountain and give a full report of the trip. Hopefully it will encourage any mountain skiing newbies such as ourselves to pack up and get out.