Copper Mountain celebrates 12 years as early training mecca for ski racers |

Copper Mountain celebrates 12 years as early training mecca for ski racers

With downhill, super-G and slalom training venues, combined with one of only three 22-foot halfpipes in Colorado, Copper Mountain supports hundreds of the world’s top skiing and snowboarding athletes every season.

Jason Blevins
The Colorado Sun
Vincent Kriechmayr, of Austria, and other international alpine ski athletes prepare ahead of their training run at the U.S. Ski Team’s Speed and Alpine Tech Center at Copper Mountain, Nov. 16, 2022.
Hugh Carey/The Colorado Sun

The Italian athletes bomb down the Copper Mountain race course in a blur, their skis slicing barely perceptible arcs in the firm snow. 

“Look at that. Can you believe we’ve had 400 guys on that in the last two days? It’s perfect,” says Patrick Riml, the alpine director of U.S. Ski and Snowboard, pointing at a glassy pitch between the gates.

For the past several weeks, Copper Mountain has been the world’s best ski racing training venue. For more than a decade, hundreds of ski racers of all ages have flocked to Copper’s north-facing slopes in October and November to jump start their race season. 

The heavyweights arrive in November, with Olympians racing down Copper’s 2-mile speed course, which drops 2,300 vertical feet, allowing speeds up to 80 mph. Shorter slopes offer technical training for slalom and giant slalom. When the U.S. athletes arrive, Copper’s venues become the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center and Alpine Technical Center. 

With its race venues, superpipe and Woodward training center — with indoor trampolines, foam pits and ramps at the Action Sports Barn — Copper Mountain has supported just dozens of the world’s top alpine and freestyle skiers and snowboarders. It’s all part of the mountain’s mission to be “the athlete’s mountain,” said Dustin Lyman, the president and general manager of Copper Mountain. 


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