Breckenridge, Copper Mountain shut lifts and runs before closing weekend
2015-16 snow tallies
Weird might be the only word to describe the soon-to-end ski season in Colorado. It started strong with blizzards in November and December — remember when Keystone saw back-to-back powder days of a foot or more? — followed by unseasonably warm temperatures and hardly any snowfall in February. Then came the mid-April snowstorm. A look at how local ski hills ended the season (as of April 20):
Keystone (closed April 10)
2015-16 — 292 inches
Average — 235 inches
Breckenridge (closes April 24)
2015-16 — 357 inches
Average — 353 inches
Copper Mountain (closes April 24)
2015-16 — 269 inches
Average — 305 inches
Loveland Ski Area (closes May 8)
2015-16 — 353 inches
Average — 422 inches
Arapahoe Basin (closes June 5)
2015-16 — 281 inches
Average — 350 inches
Last weekend’s freak snowstorm couldn’t have come at a better time — for the most part. After a winter of above-average snowfall, Keystone Resort closed on a bittersweet note less than a week before Summit County was blanketed in two-plus feet of wet, heavy, manky April powder.
But hey, at least Keystone didn’t pull a politician and waffle back and forth before extending the season. That’s what Vail Mountain did — the resort hosted official closing weekend concerts on April 9-10 and yet stayed open an extra week until April 17 — and so did Copper Mountain, which held the annual Eenie Weenie Bikini contest and other closing weekend festivities April 16-17 only to stay open for one last weekend, April 22-24.
Then again, extending the ski season isn’t nearly as frustrating as flip-flopping on health care or immigration or other highfalutin topics. Another week of lift-serviced skiing can only be a good thing for the masses.
But, an extended season doesn’t mean business as usual. Here’s a look at the lifts and runs that are still open for closing day at Copper and Breckenridge. And this time, closing day means closing day.
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Breck was just about the only resort to figure it would stay open until April 24 and, luckily enough, see enough snow this season to reach the mark.
Anyone who’s been to Breck in the past two weeks knows that Peak 10 closed April 11 — before the storm, like Keystone — and will remain closed the rest of the season. That means A Chair, C Chair, Falcon SuperChair and TenMile Station are finished for the winter.
After April 17, only Peak 8 is open for business, with service on the gondola, Colorado SuperChair, T-Bar, Rip’s Ride, Snowflake lift and Imperial SuperChair (yes, Imperial Bowl should stay open until closing day). The two unknown: E Chair, which is on a day-to-day basis depending on snow, and 5 Chair, which might close even though the terrain park is still scheduled to open.
All of this means the rest of the mountain — Peak 6, Peak 7 and Peak 9 — is now closed, with limited skiing to the base areas at Peak 7 and Peak 9. Once there, don’t expect to load a chair: Beaver Run SuperChair, Mercury SuperChair, Peak 8 SuperConnect and the rest on Peak 9 are closed, as is Independence SuperChair at Peak 7.
Snow permitting, skiers and snowboarders will be able to take Four O’Clock to town and the gondola lots right up until closing Sunday.
It hurts to look at Copper and see so much fresh, untouched snow just waiting for three days of skiing from Friday to Sunday. But, if you haven’t been to the west side of the county yet, now is the time: tickets are $50 for closing weekend. All season passes and four-pack tickets are also still valid.
Copper closed the bowls and most extreme terrain two weeks ago, but just about every major lift on the front side will reopen for the extended weekend: American Eagle, American Flyer, Timberline Express, Sierra lift and Celebrity Ridge.
The big downside: Super Bee chair and all other east-side lifts, including Excelerator, are closed for the season, along with West Village and Union Creek quad.
If you’re driving, all interior parking lots will be free during this time, so the bus will only service Alpine Lot if/when the interior lots are full.
If you bus to Copper, keep in mind that Summit Stage switched to its summer schedule on April 18 and so buses only run from Frisco to Copper every hour, not every half-hour. Resort bus service is limited all weekend, with the Copper Loop between East Village, Center Village and Passage Point running from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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