Copper Mountain is final Summit County resort to open for the season
COPPER MOUNTAIN RESORT — Copper Mountain Resort opened on a chilly, bluebird Monday with 13 trails, seven lifts and noticeably fewer attendees than in previous years.
The late start was by design. Copper pushed back its start date to Nov. 30, the final opening day of Summit County’s four ski areas, to allow for more open terrain and therefore more space between people.
While the terrain was fairly consistent with what would be expected for early season skiing, opening day attendees were pleased to find that the snow wasn’t too icy and that there were a good amount of runs open — plus 25 Woodward Copper terrain park features.
Opening on a Monday helped prevent crowds and give staff time to work through any kinks before the weekend arrives, Copper spokesperson Taylor Prather said.
“Obviously, opening on a Monday, opening a little bit later, it’s not the typical fanfare that we’re used to, but we’re just fortunate to be able to open,” Prather said. “We think that skiing and snowboarding is such an important part of our mental and physical well-being, especially for the community that lives up here at Copper, and so to be able to open that up, we’re just really proud, and we’re really excited to be able to offer that.”
It’s been 261 days since Copper was last open, so the stoke for the season is high, Prather said.
Adam and Cami Main, a couple up from Denver for the day, wanted to start the season off right by coming to opening day for the first time.
“This is my first opening day,” Adam Main said. “I didn’t know what to expect. I thought there would be more rocks and trees and ice, so I’ve been impressed with the quality of snow.”
The couple skied about eight days last season before its abrupt end in March. This year, the Mains are determined to get more runs in.
Adam Main said the couple paid for a parking spot this year, making it convenient to walk to the chairlift and allowed them to avoid taking the shuttle, which they’re wary of using during the pandemic.
Johnny Lee took the day off work to take his son, Nathanal Lee, and friend Jake Malliton up to Copper.
Compared with a previous opening day he spent at Copper, Johnny Lee said this year had less traffic along Interstate 70 from Denver and shorter lift lines. He said he is grappling with how to plan for ski days this year because he usually goes skiing without much planning.
“We’ve always been a little bit last minute, where we’ll do more condition-based planning more than we pick weekends super in advance, so that’s a little bit of a worry,” Lee said. … “So I don’t know if we’ll ski more or less. Some of it’s going to depend on how available the rolling weekly parking passes (are).”
Malliton, who is not concerned the resort will shut down at any point, said he is worried how difficult it might be to get a parking reservation on big powder days.
A group of high school students — Liam Dawson, Aedyn Simon and Sully Brunett — said they don’t have school on Mondays during remote learning and plan to ski as much as possible on their days off this year. The trio said they’ve been cooped up in the house and that they are excited about their newfound freedom this winter now that they’ve received their driver’s licenses.
Carrie Snodgrass and Eileen Cullen also traveled to the resort from Denver. They were able to make it on a Monday due to their flexible schedules as a nurse and student. It was the duo’s first opening day experience, and they were interested to see how the mountain would operate under COVID-19 restrictions. Cullen said she hopes to ski as much as she would in a normal year.
“It’s a good way to get outside when there’s not much else to do,” Snodgrass said. “It seems like one of the safer activities to do COVID-wise because you’re pretty distanced and masked up and outside. It seems like a safer option than other things.”
Torstein Horgmo, a Silverthorne resident and pro snowboarder, said coming to opening day is special this year, and he’s thankful to be able to keep riding with friends. He said skiing and snowboarding is important because people shouldn’t forget how to enjoy themselves despite the pandemic.
“You never know — dealing with the virus, this epidemic all through the summer — how it’s going to actually affect riding and going outside and having fun with your friends on the mountain,” Horgmo said. “But so far, so good. It looks like it’s happening.”
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