#19 in 2023 Best Ski Resorts in the USA
Copper Mountain provides the same pampered ski experience as Vail Ski Resort with fewer crowds and more affordability.
Just 75 miles from Denver International Airport, Copper Mountain’s naturally divided terrain of 2,490 acres is one of Colorado’s largest ski resorts. With a summit elevation of 12,441 feet and a vertical drop of 2,738 feet, Copper Mountain has an impressive amount of variety in its terrain, plus plenty of après-ski entertainment.
The resort gets just over 300 inches of snowfall annually and snowmaking covers 364 acres. While there isn’t any night skiing at Copper Mountain, there are more than 10 miles of cross-country trails through the beautiful White River National Forest, as well as a tubing park, ice skating rink and an Alpine coaster.
Copper Mountain has a ski and snowboard school that offers private and group lessons for kids and adults. There are four ski and snowboard rental shops on the east, central and west bases, with four package options from basic to high performance. There is an on-site childcare center for children age six months to six years, and evening care options are available. Copper Mountain is an Ikon Pass destination, and resort offers multi-day lift packages. There is both slope-side dining and lodging at Copper Mountain.
The season at Copper Mountain generally runs from late November to mid-April. Many note the best time to ski this area of Colorado is February, when there is a good snow base formed and plenty more accumulating. As with all resorts, avoiding holidays and weekends is your best bet for the least crowding.
Adult, child, senior single-day or multi-day lift tickets and rentals should be purchased online to save up to 20 percent. Tickets start at $119 for adults and $89 for kids – kids under five years old ski free. You can save money by booking your tickets online in advance.
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Copper Mountain boasts more than 140 marked trails. Of those, 21 percent are marked as beginner, 25 percent are designed for intermediate skiers and 54 percent will challenge advanced and expert powder hounds. According to resort staff, here are the best Copper Mountain trails for each skill level:
Located on the west side of Copper’s naturally divided terrain, Prospector is a hidden gem that very few skiers and riders know about. With rolling contours and trees that soar 100 feet above you, Prospector offers beginners a wonderful sense of accomplishment and a magical experience in nature. – Jonathan Lawson, Copper Mountain Ski & Ride School Instructor
A short-but-sweet intermediate trail located right off the top of the new American Flyer Bubble Chair is Upper Sluice. Sandwiched between Indian Ridge (advanced) and Coppertone (beginner), Upper Sluice is a fun and quick way to warm up your legs on a powder day on your way to Copper’s infamous Rendezvous and Sierra Lifts. – Shauna Bocksch, Copper Mountain Safety Patrol Supervisor
Experts will love Spaulding Bowl, a wide open powder paradise with steep chutes and a long run-out back to Resolution Chair for the ultimate burn. – Mike Junius, Copper Mountain Global Tour and Travel Sales Manager
Copper Mountain encompasses three distinct villages – East, Central and West – each with hotel and rental options. Copper Springs Lodge , in the East village adjacent to Copper Station and 150 yards from the Super Bee Chair Lift, soothes sore legs with its sauna and outdoor hot tubs. In the Central village at the base of the American Eagle lift, Mountain Plaza features a lobby fireplace, indoor and outdoor hot tubs and even day-care services. Telemark Lodge , in West village is 250 yards from the American Flyer lift, and offers spacious rooms and an indoor hot tub, all within a short walk of the shuttle stop.
Copper Mountain has plenty of restaurants to choose from, not to mention ski-and-dine packages that help you cut costs. A local breakfast and lunch favorite is Flyers, which serves hand-held waffles, grilled burgers and soups along with beer and cocktails at the top of the American Flyer lift. For Ramen and sushi, try the Storm King Lounge in the Center village, which also has a long list of martinis, sakes and scotches at their sushi bar. In the West village, JJ’s has smoked meats and specialty pizzas in a turn-of-the-century tavern environment.
For ski-in/ski-out drinks, head to the base of the American Eagle lift in Center Village and into the Incline Bar & Grille, with 20 beers on tap, a legendary happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. and a wide selection of hearty bar food, steaks and seafood. For an extensive list of drink, shot and draft specials, try Jack’s Slopeside Grill & Bar, which also hosts regular live entertainment and dance parties. Downhill Dukes, in between the American Flyer and American Eagle lifts, has Mile High Nachos, street taco platters and smoked salmon flatbread, along with artisan cocktails.
The closes airport to Copper Mountain is Eagle Regional Airport in Frisco, Colorado, though the more affordable option would be to fly into Denver International Airport, which has daily flights from major U.S. cities. There are regular shuttles to the surrounding ski areas from both airports, as well as car rental counters.
Copper Mountain is about an hour from Frisco and two hours from Denver. For those wanting to combine ski resort experiences, Vail and Beaver Creek are within a 40 minute-drive from Copper Mountain.
Once at Copper Mountain there is a regular shuttle service connecting the three base areas and some accommodation also offer complimentary shuttles. There are also two taxi services and a limo service in the Copper Mountain area.
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|Vertical Drop (ft)||3,398||1,200||3,128||3,450||2,530|
|Skiable Area (ac)||353||260||235||354||350|
|Number of Trails||187||64||128||195||147|
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