Copper Mountain keeping up with Breckenridge |

Copper Mountain keeping up with Breckenridge

Special to the Daily/Tripp Fay, Copper Mountain Resort

On the heels of Breckenridge Ski Resort’s success with an application to expand to a new mountain, Copper Mountain is now also looking to improve its offerings.

New lifts, new trails and wind turbines are the headliners of a package of improvements Copper proposed to the U.S. Forest Service.

Forest Service officials released the details of the resort’s improvement plans Monday in a Notice of Proposed Action (NOPA), calling for public comment prior to the start of environmental analysis on the projects.

The proposal was released just days after Copper announced plans for a $500,000 overhaul of the Woodward training facility.

That project, alongside the improvements included in the Notice of Proposed Action, are planned to cater to the resort’s summer guests and could represent an interesting response to Breckenridge’s Peak 6 expansion, which many expect to steal industry headlines in the upcoming season.

The projects, if approved, will be constructed during the summer months, likely over the course of several years given the short building season on the mountain.

Copper officials did not directly comment on whether the proposed improvements are meant to help the resort compete with Breckenridge’s expansion.

“The projects proposed have been on our historic improvement list and are additions to our most recent (environmental impact statement) and revised Master Development Plan,” spokeswoman Austyn Williams told the Summit Daily in an email.

> A Kokomo make over. As part of an effort to increase teaching terrain, the resort is looking to replace the existing triple Kokomo lift with a 3,000 foot chair based adjacent to the Union Creek facilities. The new lift would provide both round trip service and transport for beginning ski and ride students to two new surface conveyor lifts located on the gentle terrain north of the lift’s top-load station. The resort is also pitching a viewing deck addition that would allow skiers, snowboarders, coaches and the public to overlook the terrain park and Woodward facility.

> Catalyst Terrain Park surface lift. Intended to help expedite training and the flow of athletes through the park, the surface lift is expected to be particularly beneficial during the Woodward at Copper late-spring and early-summer training program.

> New trails and improved access. The proposed action calls for a series of new trails or improvements to existing trails that a challenge for skiers and snowboarders either due to a flat grade or difficult terrain. Resort officials want to create a new, groomable trail entrance to the Enchanted Forest, a new T-Rex connector trail, to replace the low-angle Woodwinds Traverse trail and an improved runout trail from Spaulding Bowl.

> Surface lift access to Copper Bowl. Copper executives area also looking to add a new surface lift to the west of the existing Sierra Lift, that would provide service to Copper Bowl, which currently is only accessible by hiking to the top of the ridge above the bowl. The 850 foot proposed conveyor would be able to transport 800 people hourly.

> Wind turbines for clean energy. In an effort to enhance environmental sustainability, the resort also proposes installing two 24-foot wind turbines near the Union Peak Ski Patrol Station to help offset power used on the mountain.

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