Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded


  • Vertical (ft)
    9,712 – 12,441 (2,738)
  • Average Snow Fall
    305 inches
  • Lifts (23)
    1 gondola
    2 high speed 6-packs
  • Ski Season
    mid Nov to mid Apr
  • Terrain Summary
    Resort Area - 2,490 acres
    Runs – 140
    Longest run – 1.7mi
    Beginner - 21%
    Intermediate - 25%
    Advanced - 36%
    Expert - 18%

Copper Ski Resort Terrain

Copper ski resort is a tale of four distinct personalities: a green-friendly west side; a fun blue centre; a fast exciting eastern side; and a topside that is challenging and breathtaking. Couple that with 126 named trails, 2,601 feet (approx 800 metres) of vertical, 2,465 acres (985 hectares) of terrain, 15 chairlifts, cold Colorado powder and great touches such as free cat skiing. Copper Mountain in Colorado certainly has a lot on offer.

The trails below the tree line are classically Colorado - well designed fall line runs with rollers and compressions to keep it interesting, and long enough to scorch the quads of the most hardened ski aficionado. Above the tree line in the high alpine areas there are deep powder bowls, chutes, cornices, jumps and bumps.

Snowboarders love the well designed terrain and lift layout at Copper, such that there are very few flat spots or inclines that require a walk.

Oh, and did we mention that the cat skiing is free? Two snowcats provide free access to Copper Bowl and Tucker Mountain. The cat skiing is provided from 10am-1:30pm daily on a first come, first served basis. The terrain is for advanced and expert skiing and boarding only.

Lifts

Copper’s lifts are a mix of old and new. From the base area there are four modern lifts to whisk you a long way up the hill, and two other express quads service areas higher up the mountain.

A total of nine older style triple and double chairs are strategically placed across the mountain to get you to where the goods are. Of course the benefits of ‘older’ means that you get a little more recovery time and a chance to scope your next line. Copper Mountain also has an assortment of drag lifts and magic carpets (conveyor lifts).

Lift Tickets

Buying single day lift passes at large US ski resorts can be one of the more financially crippling aspects of visiting this magnificent region. However, there is fierce competition for your skiing dollar in Colorado, with some ridiculously cheap season pass rates (such as the Ikon Pass), particularly with advance purchase.

Beginners love Copper for its free access to the Easy Rider magic carpet in Center Village, and all day access to the Pitchfork double chair located between Center Village and East Village for a minimal fee.

Copper Mountain Snow and Weather

Copper Mountain is located in amongst the highest mountains in Colorado and the base area is particularly high at 2,974 metres of elevation, so it is cold and the pristine snow conditions prevail. The powder that falls is generally light and dry, and with 300 sunny days per year, there’s a high likelihood of seeing the breathtaking views from the top of Copper Peak.

The high alpine areas of Copper can be heavily affected by strong winds, and particularly early in the season, the windward faces can be scoured and bereft of the white stuff. Never mind though, the leeward faces get loaded with deliciously deep snow. Later in the season (late Feb/March) as the snow gets deeper and ‘stickier’, the entire high alpine gets its full white mantle.

Crowds

The crazy nearby Vail Resorts of Breckenridge, Keystone, Vail and Beaver Creek get slammed by the crowds. One contributing factor is the cheap Epic pass that provides access to all these ski resorts as well as Arapahoe Basin. Relative to these resorts, Copper Mountain has very few skiers per acre, so you don’t have to share the joys of Copper with the throngs.

Powder hounds shouldn’t get too excited though as Copper doesn’t have a complete absence of people and freshies don’t last all day. Copper has its own inexpensive seasons pass, and the dirt cheap powder day pass also brings lots of day trippers from Denver.

Copper Mountain Skiing - Beginners

Copper has awesome beginner terrain. Unlike many ski resorts (e.g. Vail ski resort), there are no dodgy cat tracks here. Long flowing tree lined runs are the order of the day. And with the mountain’s naturally divided terrain, beginners have about 21% of the mountain to themselves and they won’t get cut off by a speed crazed expert.

The Pitchfork double chair between the East and Center Villages provides the least intimidating novice terrain. A ride in the village shuttle provides access to the next level at Union Creek (Ski and Ride School base). Two chairs provide access to a diversity of fun well pitched runs and the Lumberjack triple chair. This area has very little skier traffic and is one of the most perfect beginner ski zones in the USA.

From the Union Creek area slide back to Center Village via Scooter and head up the American Flyer lift. From the top, long descent options exist to the left and right. All beginners (all skiers and boarders really!) will want to point the planks down the solid 4km+ run from the top of Rendezvous triple chair. Start your run down Wheeler Creek, head straight into Coppertone then choose quickly between Carefree and Lovely near the base to finish.

Intermediate Boarding and Skiing

Copper Mountain Copper Mountain has superb intermediate terrain with lots of lovely fall line runs that are aptly rated as blue. Copper’s intermediate terrain is centred around many of the express chairlifts, which is good news for the fighting fit skier who is keen to rack up as many turns as possible!

A lot of intermediates spend their time skiing the Timberline express area. A great run to get acquainted with bump skiing is on Little Burn under the chair. Other runs like Copperfield and Jacque’s Pique are superfast rolling groomers which will put tears in your eyes even when wearing goggles. Massive intermediate terrain also exists off the Super Bee and American Eagle chairs.

Look out for the ‘Noon Groomer’. At least one perfectly groomed Copper leg burner is left closed until lunchtime and then opened for midday corduroy. Check the grooming report in the morning.

A few of the black runs leading to the bottom of the Super Bee are groomed and appropriate for solid intermediates. If snow conditions are good, upper intermediates should also check out the advanced terrain around the Blackjack and Mountain Chief chairs. The Otto Bahn gives safe access and lets you ‘try before you buy’.

Advanced Ski and Board Terrain

First thing in the morning (and last run of the day) there is nothing better at Copper than to go screaming down some of the advanced runs under the Super Bee chair at Mach 2.5. The runs start off as nice blues and get blacker as you dive into the base area of East Village. Less visited, and more bumped, are the black runs under the Alpine Chair and then further along to the Resolution Chair. The Storm King T-bar gives access to some fun stuff along Hallelujah, but watch out for potential rocks on the skiers left. The Storm king will also get you to the top of Copper Peak for an interesting slide into the backside of Copper. The Blackjack and Mountain Chief chairs service a diverse range of tree and steeper terrain which will challenge most advanced skiers.

Tree skiers are well catered for with a range of surprising glades to explore. Check out the skiers left of Hallelujah and the top of the American Eagle chair. There are more lines along there than you could poke a stick at, most of which are not on the trail map.

Copper Skiing and Snowboarding - Experts

Experts will love the Copper high alpine area taking in Copper Bowl and the terrain off Tucker Mountain. Access is via the free Snowcat near the base of the Mountain Chief double chair. Make sure you get out and do The Nacho and The Taco. If you’re still feeling fit, head further along Tucker Mountain to the interesting Fremont Glades (runs One to Five). Be prepared to hike back up to the Blackjack double chair if you go to the far skiers’ right (down One).

Easy access to some fun cornices, chutes and cliffs is along the West Ridge, skier’s right of the Mountain Chief double chair. Runs like Bradley’s Plunge are indeed that. The expert terrain of the Upper Enchanted Forest can be a bit shy of snow early in the season, but later in the season it provides some very well pitched challenging freefall. Tree lovers should try the glades between the lower end of the Super Bee and Alpine lifts. Suffice to say there are secret expert glades literally everywhere on this hill. Go find them, or track down JP Chevalier and get him to show you!

For the Powder Hound

Spaulding Bowl will generally suck in the powder when the wind’s been blowing. Access is via the Storm King T-bar. The runs are relatively short but very sweet (steep with cornice drop-ins on most) before they head down to the base of the Resolution triple chair. Union Bowl also has some tasty treats for all powderhounds.

Keep your eyes open for the flags to go up to indicate that the Snowcats are operating. If the Mountain Chief is running, snorkel some powder on the steeps and watch out for the cats. If they arrive near 10am, get down there and plunder the powder in Copper Bowl and off Tucker Mountain.

Terrain Parks, Pipes and the Barn

Copper Mountain has been building parks and superpipes for a long time, so it has a well established history and credentials when it comes to catering for park junkies. Copper went one better with the opening of Woodward at Copper. This facility needs to seen to be believed! Located in the ‘Barn’ between Center and East Villages, Woodward is a mix of tramps, jumps, ‘cliffs’, and skate ramps. The foam pits are fantastic as it’s possible to ‘jump’ off a small cliff and land safely in the foam. It gives riders the ‘feel for air’ without breaking bones. Even the golden oldies love it because they (OK, I) can experience how they (I) might have been a ‘champion’!

The superpipe at the base of the American Eagle Chair is beautifully situated for impressing the mass of spectators sitting on the deck at Jacks Grill. Alternatively if you wish to embarrass yourself by sliding headfirst down the pipe with your chin ploughing a furrow all the way, you won’t be the first or last to do so!

Small jib and terrain parks are located under the American Flyer and Eagle chairs for those newer to sport. The hardcore will be delighted with the bone grinding features in the big boys Terrain Park.

Skiing For the Family / Kids

Copper does a fabulous job of catering for families. The layout and style of the ski terrain, the high quality Ski & Ride School, and facilities like Woodward and the ‘Schoolhouse’ at Union Creek all point to a fantastic family resort.

The Union Creek and Timberline chair areas are perfect family hang outs. The T-Rex Grill at the base of the Timberline chair rewards tired parents with a view of their respective tribes tearing up the blue runs. It seems like a lot of Dads never get up after lunch, content to have ‘just one more beer’ while the kids do laps. Thankfully tipsy Dads only have to travel down easy green trails to get back to the village!