Copper Mountain in Colorado is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. As part of a series on ski resorts, Huffington Post Travel offers our guide to Copper Mountain, featuring all the key information snow lovers need to know before they hit the slopes.
The BasicsThe structure of the mountain itself, with neatly divided sections, allows skiers of all levels to enjoy the slopes without worrying about mowing each other over. Copper Mountain's location 75 miles west of Denver International Airport makes it convenient for skiers who want to fly in for the day or stay for a week. The resort's 126 trails can get busy at the height of the season, but with 2,400 acres of skiable terrain and 22 lifts, the slopes rarely feel crowded.
The MountainThe mountain is 12,313 feet high with a vertical drop of 2,601 feet. The skiing season normally lasts from early November to mid-April. The resort gets about 282 inches of snow annually, but when Mother Nature doesn't cooperate, Copper Mountain can make enough snow to cover 380 acres. Copper Mountain's "ambassadors" offer free tours of the mountain every day at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., starting from the top of the American Eagle lift.
Trails And LiftsAbout 56 percent of the resort's trails are tailored to expert and advanced skiers, while intermediate and beginner skiers can easily navigate the rest. The 22 lifts can handle 32,324 skiers per hour, with one super fast six-person car, four quads, five triple chairs and five double chairs. The seven surface lifts, also known as magic carpets, are like conveyor belts and are often preferred by beginners, because they move skiers along the surface of the mountain instead of dangling them above it. The Drainpipe is a thrilling mogul run for advanced skiers, but watch out for the abundant trees. The Spaulding bowl is a hair-raising ride for experts, but the Union bowl isn't quite as steep and may be a reasonable challenge for intermediate skiers.
In The NewsFor students interested in competitive skiing or snowboarding, the resort offers several classes, some of which are taught by former Olympians or extreme-sports stars such as Jake Fiala. However, at Copper Mountain, even the extreme sports are taught with an emphasis on safety. In 2011, Copper Mountain won an award for best overall safety program from the National Ski Areas Association. Copper Mountain's Debbie Caves also won the 2011 Pipe Master of the Year award from the Colorado Ski Country USA group. Her meticulous day-to-day maintenance of the 22-foot half-pipe attracts famous athletes like Shaun White and Gretchen Bleiler, who use the half-pipe for training.
CostLift tickets are $89 for adults and $49 for children 6 to 12 and seniors 70 and older. Three-night packages start at $647 for a two-bedroom condo in the Ten Mile area and go up to $820 for a two-bedroom condo in the Burning Stones section. For equipment rentals, the basic package includes boots, skis and poles, and starts at $37.99 per day. For beginners or those who need to brush up on their skills, adult skiing lessons start at $99 for two hours of instruction.
Apres-SkiJack's Bar is a laid back lounge within the resort village that offers live music several nights a week. For a one-of-a-kind dining experience, head to Solitude Grill at the top of the American Eagle lift. The restaurant has excellent views and serves spicy Louisiana-style cuisine. For serious relaxation, the Copper Mountain Spa & Athletic Club offers deep tissue massages and rejuvenating hot stone treatments.
WATCH: Copper Mountain
This skier's-eye view of zooming down Copper Mountain's Spaulding bowl makes it look easy, but the trail is for experts only.