An ‘Alpine Extravaganza’ of old-school skiing and history |

An ‘Alpine Extravaganza’ of old-school skiing and history

Special to the Daily

Applause hosts benefit

for BMF at Ski Cooper

By Mariana Wenzel

Summit Daily News

Short or non-existent lift lines, wide ski runs and natural snow. What seems like a dream for today’s skiers is one of the attractions of the “Applause Alpine Extravaganza,” a benefit event for the Breckenridge Music Festival (BMF) slated for Tuesday at Ski Cooper.

The area is one of the few local resorts that keeps skiing the way it used to be before it became a popular winter activity. It is also full of history, as it was chosen in 1942 as a ski-training site by the 10th Mountain Division for World War II because of its high elevation at 11,700 feet and annual average snowfall of 250 inches.

On Tuesday morning, guests ski the resort’s 400 acres of lift-serviced runs and then warm up in the lodge, where lunch will be served. The benefit concludes with a video presentation of “The Last Ridge,” which tells the story of the 10th Mountain Division and its role in the United States’ war effort in Europe during World War II. The showing will be followed by a question-and-answer session with members of the division, Paul Stubbe and John Gordon. Gordon has been a ski instructor at Ski Cooper for many years.

“The tie-in with the 10th Mountain Division is perfect for us because many of those guys maintained ties to Summit County through the years. They are part of our heritage, and so many of them returned here to ski no matter where they ended up,” said Marcia Kaufmann, executive director of the BMF.

The event is open to all levels of skiers. It is one of several in a winter series hosted by Applause, the special events fundraising committee for BMF, to support the nonprofit. This is the first time the group goes to Ski Cooper.

“Skiing at Ski Cooper is most unique, as it takes one back to the days of skiing in the past, with no lift lines, no manmade snow, an old but comfortable lodge and no glitz,” said Applause spokeswoman Sherrie Calderini. “The runs are long and wide, and the terrain is mostly blue cruisers.”

“Ski Cooper is one of the few places around here you can get that old-time, old-fashioned ski experience, the way skiing started out,” Kaufmann agreed. “It is the way you skied if you were hip to skiing in the ’50s and ’60s, before everyone else in this country had discovered it.”

“The folks who attend these events send me emails saying what a great time they had, and how much they enjoyed the company. You meet great people, and this event is the perfect combination of outdoor enjoyment, interesting information and good company,” Kaufmann said.

Tickets are $55 for Applause members and $60 for non-members and include the lift pass. Participants meet in the parking lot at Ski Cooper at 9 a.m.

For more information, call (970) 453-8446 or (970) 453-0506 or visit

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