Woodward at Copper Mountain not just for kids and X Gamers | SummitDaily.com

Woodward at Copper Mountain not just for kids and X Gamers

A skier slides a beginner box feature during a summer program at Woodward Copper.
Tripp Fay / Copper Mountain |

You don’t have to have backflips or the X Games as goals to enjoy the facilities and programs at Woodward Copper. In fact, you don’t even need to have set foot in a terrain park. And while the indoor-outdoor facility’s foam pits, trampolines, jump ramps and rails may seem geared toward daredevil kids and teens, they are actually just as accommodating for adults who typically shy from terrain parks.

For 25-year-old Brenn Scott of Denver, a self-described intermediate skier, a lesson at the Woodward facility at Copper Mountain was a chance to try something different from a traditional lesson.

“I chose Woodward because I’d like to experience more all-mountain skiing,” she said. “I’d like to navigate natural features,” like small jumps and drops.

And while the former college hockey player has little desire to add a 1080 or a backflip to her skiing repertoire, the idea of knowing how to leave the ground was still appealing.

“I’ve been really into watching freeskiing and watching what they do,” she said.

In addition to their kids’ programs, Woodward coaches and management have been trying to appeal to people like Scott and offer an adult alternative to the traditional lesson.

New this season at the facility are adult lessons geared more to skiers and snowboarders 18 and up.

“We have separate adult coaches lined up every day now,” Woodward manager Morrison Hsieh said. “We wanted to make sure adults feel comfortable with their age group.”

Although the adult lessons are growing in popularity, Hsieh (pronounced “Shay”) said they’re still trying to get the word out.

“I think it’s something that we’re getting a lot of interest in,” he said. “It’s not nearly as well known as our youth and teen program.”

For Scott that meant getting an all-day private lesson when she signed up for a group one.

“It was awesome,” Scott said of the adult-oriented lesson and the added bonus of a one-on-one with her coach, Matti Wade. “I think it would have taken on a pretty different feel, being a (working) professional 25-year-old woman, being in a class with a 16-year-old kid. I would not have enjoyed it as much.”

As to why the adult programs may not have caught on yet, Hsieh said it’s an image Woodward continues to deal with.

“There’s an overall perception that Woodward is for extreme athletes and youth. One of the things we’ve been trying to do with the remodel is have something for all ages and abilities.”

Ski coach Wade said more of his lessons are geared toward beginner-level freestyle skills.

“I would say 80 percent of our lessons are ‘new to flight,’ new to the barn itself,” he said.

After opening in 2009 the facility underwent a $500,000 renovation in order to cater more to skill progression from beginner to advanced. Now it offers everything from infant tumbling to adult lessons.

This season Copper Mountain’s Ski and Ride School also moved all of its teen lessons — including never-evers — to Woodward. It’s a move that Hsieh said has been extremely well received.

But while kids and teens can come to Woodward with no ski experience for a lesson, the adult program requires at least intermediate skiing or snowboarding abilities. Adults do not, however, need prior terrain park experience.

Adult lessons, like teen lessons, start in the Woodward Barn in the morning and transition to snow in the afternoon.

Students learn basic maneuvers and tumbling skills on the foam mats, trampolines and small ramps before hitting the snow.

Starting indoors in the Barn, trying small ramps with wheeled skis and boards, allows students to learn in a safer, less intimidating environment, Wade said. And it’s a skill set that translates to all forms of skiing and riding.

“No matter what someone is looking for, air awareness is good for any skier,” he explained, adding, “getting balance on the trampoline coincides with good balance on the mountain.”

For Scott it did just that.

“I can tell that I gained a lot more confidence,” she said, even though she was a little intimidated by the indoor features initially. “It was tough. I’m not going to lie, but it made a huge difference… It’s opened up a lot more of the mountain to me.”

More information on Woodward is available at http://www.woodwardatcopper.com.

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