Copper Mountain Resort kicks off 2023-24 ski season with bluebird conditions and groomed runs
Lifts are now spinning at all four Summit County ski areas
Copper Mountain Resort celebrated its first day of the 2023-24 ski season on Monday, Nov. 13, with groomed runs and bluebird conditions.
With one of its central base area lifts, American Eagle, now spinning from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the resort is the fourth and final Summit County ski area to open this year. Arapahoe Basin Ski Area opened Oct. 29 followed by Keystone Resort on Nov. 1 and Breckenridge Ski Resort on Nov. 10. Loveland Ski Area in Clear Creek County also opened last week.
First in line to ride American Eagle on Monday was longtime Summit County resident Thomas “Trailer Tom” Miller, who said he’d been waiting since 4 a.m. that morning shortly before being joined by others. Under stars, satellites and the big dipper, the group eagerly awaited for the 9 a.m. lift openings.
Miller said he’s skied the mountain for more than four decades and has successfully claimed the first-chair title at Copper and other resorts for dozens of seasons.
“It’s been great so far this year,” Miller said of the 2023-24 season, adding, “Anything compared to last year is going to be hard to beat, but even if it was half of last year, it’s going to be some good powder days.”
Summit County resident Kyle Smith, the first to join Miller and the second in line, called it an “unmatched feeling to say the least,” while Blake Salisbury, fifth in line, said he couldn’t have asked for a better opening day.
“Vibes are high. Everyone’s excited,” Salisbury said. “Let’s get the season started.”
Raoul Pietri, who currently lives in the Wildernest area near Silverthorne, said he enjoys Copper for its varied terrain and smaller crowds. Pietri said he’s optimistic this season will be better than last adding that the forecasted El Nino pattern could make for above-average snow.
Otina Fox, first in line for the single riders, said she had been waiting since about 7 a.m. and is looking forward to “a long, plentiful powder experience” this season.
Fox said she is most excited for the 273 acres of terrain on Tucker Mountain — accessible from the Three Bears lift — to eventually open. The area is considered some of the steepest in-bound skiing in Colorado and is known for its deep pockets of powder and advanced runs.
“It helps me train to ski 14ers and 13ers,” Fox said. “Anytime you can jump off of a cornice multiple times, since we have to do it for real in the backcountry, it makes it so much easier.”
Two lifts, American Eagle and Excelerator, are currently open and provide top-to-bottom access to Copper’s Center Village. The lifts are only servicing intermediate runs — Rhapsody, Fair Play, Ptarmigan and Main Vein — as well as the EZ Rider Learning Area and a small terrain park at the top of the American Eagle.
Senior Communications Manager Loryn Roberson said the focus will now be on opening beginner terrain on the resort’s west side before turning east to the Super Bee lift, which services more intermediate and expert runs.
Roberson said the resort will welcome riders to those areas “as soon as possible,” adding, “As long as we keep getting these cold temperatures, the snowmaking team will continue to make snow, we’ll get it groomed out and then open it.”
After celebrating its 50th anniversary last year, Copper is set to have another landmark season with the unveiling of the two-story, 25,000-square-foot mid-mountain Aerie lodge. Featuring a full-service restaurant, cafeteria-style eatery, coffee shop, bars and patio seating, Aerie is Copper’s new centerpiece steps away from the top of American Eagle.
Aiming to “totally transform the dining experience,” Roberson said the lodge’s sit-down restaurant, Forage and Feast, will be led by chef Brian Duncan, who previously worked at the Aurum in Breckenridge, a fine-dining destination with sister restaurants in Aspen and Steamboat Springs.
“He has an incredible resume and brings a lot of knowledge for us,” Roberson said. “Things that you’ll see on the menu are elk, venison, potatoes, salmon and fresh baked breads.”
While the restaurant will usually operate for lunch hours, it will host a variety of special dinners including a moonlight dine-and-ski as well as options on Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day.
It’s all part of what Roberson said will be another event-packed season for the resort, with headliners including the Snowsation concert on Nov. 18-19, Grand Prix competitions Dec. 13-16 and Winter Dew Tour March 8-10.
“Copper has something happening pretty much every weekend,” Roberson said. “There is never a dull moment.”
More resort information, including upcoming events, terrain updates, ticket sales and parking access, can be found online at CopperColorado.com.
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