Copper: Full of energetic elements |

Copper: Full of energetic elements

Kimberly Nicoletti
summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado

Ask most locals, and they’ll say Copper Mountain ranks as a favorite for skiing and riding.

The mountain’s layout tends to keep skiers of different levels separate, so beginners don’t have to deal with experts zooming past them. Easier green runs are located at Union Creek, and blues sprawl throughout the middle of the hill. Advanced bumps and great bowls lie above it all, and black terrain also is tucked away into corners off of Resolution, S- and B-lifts.

A snowcat motors skiers and riders to Tucker Mountain, where it’s a 15 to 20 minute hike to drop into one of the mountain’s steep chutes. Last year, the resort expanded its cat skiing operation, which means less hiking to the eight double-black diamond slopes. Even if you don’t take the cat, the chairlift-served back bowls provide plenty of acreage.

Copper caters to jibbers and jumpers with its terrain parks. Its graduated series of kickers, quarterpipes and halfpipes, along with Kidz Terrain Park full of mini rails, pipes and jumps, give anyone the opportunity to learn. A nighttime jib park at the base of American Eagle lift offers a new layout every week and is open to all abilities at no charge from 5 to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays.

When Intrawest bought Copper in 1999, it revitalized the resort and added Burning Stones Plaza. The village now ignites with activities, entertainment and festivals year-round (and we’re not talking about the usual apres ski songs; we’re talking fire dancers, circus acts and outdoor movies). En Fuego lights up select evenings with torchlight parades, street entertainers, fire performers and fireworks. Copper fetches the luck o’ the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day with Irish food, music, green beer and a street party featuring a U2 cover band, and Mardi Gras is always a party with New Orleans transplants leading the way, beads in hand.

For the 19th year, Copper hosts Special Olympics Colorado March 25 and 26, with 550 athletes competing in alpine and cross-country skiing, figure skating, snowshoeing and snowboarding. The resort also boasts the state’s largest Easter egg hunt, with more than 30,000 eggs, which include cash, season passes and gift certificates.

Sunsation burns through Copper’s last three weekends of the season with free live bands, entertainment, barbecues and more. This year’s celebration includes Galactic, Dark Star Orchestra and Strive Roots.

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