Copper Mountain

Copper Mountain, Colorado

Written by Karl Sander • Photos by Greg and Heather Burke • Last updated Nov 10, 2017

What makes Copper Mountain unique is its natural mountain topography which naturally divides ski areas based on ability. Advanced trails are in the east, beginners on the right and intermediates in between! Beginners don’t need to worry about taking a wrong turn and end up in over their heads, while advanced skiers can go all out without avoiding novices. For the experts, Copper has some killer off-piste terrain, including bowls and hike-to terrain with CAT access. The resort also has its fair share of terrain parks with everything from a beginner level small sculpted terrain park, to a super pipe for the park rats, to a year-round indoor facility with free-skiing and foam pits. Copper definitely has the terrain variety to keep a squad busy, no matter the skill level. The second draw card for Copper is early season skiing - its snowmaking capabilities coupled with the cold conditions and north-facing aspect ensures there is powder that stays fresh. I mean, the US ski team goes to Copper for early season training - so who are we to argue?

Summit at Tucker

Admittedly, it’s not the most glamorous setting or the rowdiest of après scenes, so it may not be your first choice for late-night partying or celebrity sightings. Unlike the larger and big-name resorts nearby such as Vail which feels a bit corporate, Copper Mountain cultivates a chill vibe that is more relaxed than ritzy but still has all the facilities to make it a great kid-friendly destination. The laid-back atmosphere has fostered a sense of community, and it’s the kind of place where some folks have been happily working the lifts, grooming the snow, and slinging drinks for decades.

Triple Zero - inside the Spaulding Bowl

The Mountain

With a summit of 12,313 feet, Copper Mountain may not be quite as tall as its Summit County neighbors Breckenridge and Arapahoe Basin, but it’s certainly no slouch! Its base area is at 9,712 feet, resulting in a healthy 2,601 foot vertical drop. The terrain varies from mellow groomers to open bowls, intense steeps to narrow chutes making its sheer variety one of our favorite thing about the resort! In an average year, Copper sees over 300 inches of snow, and if that’s not enough pow for you, upgraded snow-making capabilities arrived with the national team training center to guarantee early season skiing. With its elevation and predominantly north-facing aspect, the snow is usually well preserved. Even if it’s not the heaviest snowfall in North America, it’s remarkably consistent. As an added bonus, Colorado sees tons of sunny days – so pack your shades and sunscreen and be ready to enjoy some glorious bluebird days!

Far West Trail just by Celebrity Ridge Lift

Copper Mountain consciously markets itself as a “naturally divided” mountain. Most of the advanced black diamond runs are on the east side (and, of course, the upper reaches) of the mountain, intermediate runs are predominantly in the middle, and the easiest runs are on the west side. Fortunately, it’s still easy to get back and forth without many painfully flat, long tracks or endless series of lifts. There are stashes of hidden powder that last long enough for anyone willing to make the effort to find some, and the mountain’s backside offers both sun and shelter from the prevailing breezes.

When to Go

The best times to go are anywhere from January through early April. While December can be good for snow, the resort can be a little slow to open all of its terrain. During the early part of the season around November, the resort is home to race camps, which can make for a slightly crowded environment. Historically, March tends to be the snowiest month of the year at Copper, so your odds of catching a powder day are good. On the other hand, it also tends to be one of the resort’s busiest times for lodging, second only to Christmas.

Christmas at Copper

If you do brave the crowds to come at Christmas time, though, be sure to enjoy the lights and decorations in the village, the kids will love the visit from Santa himself, and everyone will get a kick out of the ski school instructors’ torchlight parade and fireworks!

The last couple weeks of April can be fun for that spring skiing experience, but be aware that the resort will usually start closing parts of the terrain early in the month. The back bowls are usually the first to close due to their southern-facing exposures, which makes them the first to start melting come the spring.

Lift Tickets

Copper Mountain is joining the RFID revolution like many other North American resorts (just make sure to have your cell phone in a separate pocket!). The single-day prices vary depending on the time of the season but are generally around $150 for adults. Kids between the age of 6 and 12 get a discount while kids age 5 and younger always ski free at Copper. A magic carpet and beginner slope are free, and the Green Acres beginner area between East Village and the Village at Copper (or the “Center Village”) is available for beginners age 6 and older for $15 a day. For the most up-to-date lift prices check out the Copper Mountain lift tickets page.

Mountain Chief Lift serving advanced trails

Discounted tickets are sometimes available through Liftopia, and starting in January you can often find two for one vouchers at local Shell gas stations with a fuel purchase. The resort itself offers some pretty good deals too, so you don’t need to wait till the New Year to take your chances on what you can find at the gas station. If you’re staying for any length of time, check out the Four Pack or the Copper Pass. The Four Pack gets you four days of skiing or riding for $179 (regardless of age) without blackout dates, which includes discounts on tickets for your friends and family as well as discounts throughout the resort.

If you’re staying even longer, the Copper Pass offers unlimited skiing and riding, also with no blackout dates. On top of discounts throughout the resort, the Copper Pass also gives you three free days at Purgatory and Monarch Mountain, plus another three days skiing at Taos Ski Valley with free skiing at Grand Targhee if you stay in their resort lodging. This massive season pass starts from $449 for adults with discounts for college students, teens, and seniors as well as children between the age of 6 and 12. Prices increase as the season creeps near so be sure to book as early as you can!

For active duty military, reservists, National Guard, retirees, and their families, Copper Mountain offers an even better discount through their Military Pass. This pass gets you unlimited skiing or riding, up to 10 discounted tickets for friends, and extensive discounts all over the mountain. If you’re eligible, it’s hands-down the best deal going!

Rendezvous lift
For all you ski-heads chasing the snow, there’s a couple of other pass options that let you ski nearby resorts if your calendar and travel budget allow it with the Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus. It gets you unlimited skiing and riding (no blackout dates!) at Copper, Eldora, and Winter Park plus anywhere from three to seven days at ten other resorts in Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, Japan, New Zealand, and even Iceland! It’s $639 for adults with discounts for military, college students, teens, children 6-12, and seniors.

Copper is also included in the M.A.X. Pass which offers five days at each of the 44 – that’s right, 44! – ski areas with no blackouts. Prices are $729 for adults with discounts for teenagers, kids aged 6 to 12 and kids aged 5 and under. From Alaska to Southern California and British Columbia to Maine, if you’ve got a bit of wanderlust then you may want to check this one out!

Elevation

Base
9712 feet
Base
Summit
12312 feet
Summit
Vertical Drop
2600 feet
Vertical Drop

Lifts

High Speed Six
1
High Speed Six
High Speed Quads
5
High Speed Quads
Triple Chairs
5
Triple Chairs
Double Chairs
4
Double Chairs
Surface Lifts
8
Surface Lifts

Terrain

Beginner Runs
21 %
Beginner Runs
Intermediate Runs
25 %
Intermediate Runs
Advanced Runs
36 %
Advanced Runs
Expert Runs
18 %
Expert Runs
Total Runs
142
Total Runs
Terrain Parks
6
Terrain Parks
Longest Run
2 miles
Longest Run
Skiable Terrain
2490 acres
Skiable Terrain
Snowmaking Area
364 acres
Snowmaking Area

Opening and closing dates

Season Open Date Close Date
2017/2018 11/10/2017 04/20/2018 (estimated)
2016/2017 11/18/2016 04/16/2017
2015/2016 11/11/2015 04/24/2016
2014/2015 11/07/2014 04/19/2015

Lift ticket and season pass prices

Category Age restrictions Price (USD unless otherwise stated)
Adult 13 - 64 $150
Child 5 & under Free
Child 6 - 12 $85
Senior 65 & over $98
Season Pass
(The Copper Pass)
$469

Overall Rating

4.4 / 5 based on 65 reviews
Cody Burden

Copper has been my go to resort in the past. The terrain has many different features. The village had standard resort fare for lunch/dinner. I would recommend Copper to my family and friends.

Posted on Nov 19, 2017
Isaiah Flores

This is a great place can't wait to come back. Brought the family and the kids a couple years ago loved it. They are still talking about it and keep asking when we can come back.

Posted on Nov 13, 2017
Jason

This is the last great family friendly resort in Colorado that has not been ruined by Vail Resorts. The resort is great for families that have a mixture of different levels. The lodging and facilities are top notch and won’t break the bank.

Posted on Nov 12, 2017
Kevin Glenney

I've been a ski instructor at Copper for the past 5 years. The division of terrain is great for all levels of skier. The ski school and people who run the resort are top notch and very eager to make their resort even better. Great snow, great terrain, easy to get to, and great people! What else could you want?!

Posted on Nov 10, 2017
Adam Bailey

Terrain is varied and has something for everyone. A solidly designed lift system allows wick access from different parts of the mountain affording the opportunity to ski vastly different terrain without ridding multiple lifts.

Posted on Nov 09, 2017
Caleb Johnston

Copper mountain is the best of the non-big resorts! It’s small enough that you don’t get the crowds of Breck and Keystone, but big enough that you get a great variety of terrain.

Posted on Nov 18, 2017
Artie Herrera

Naturally divided terrain gives skiers and riders of all abilities top to bottom skiing. Just off I-70 its extremely easy to get to. Only unfortunate part is you must take a shuttle from the free parking lot or pay to park in a lot close to the hill.

Posted on Nov 12, 2017
Chris Elmore

I love going to Copper Mountain for my annual ski vacation. It never disappoints! There are plenty of runs and the lifts move quickly. Definitely love the powder days that are relatively frequent at Copper. I can't wait for this season.

Posted on Nov 10, 2017
Scott Knight

Copper Mountain is the best mountain in Colorado in my opinion. It’s unique layout from East, Center & West village allows for skiers/riders of all levels to pick which side they want to explore. Great mountain!!

Posted on Nov 10, 2017
Ryan

This was one of the most memorable snowbaording experiences ever. We went as a group there was 5 of us my brother,a buddy of mine and two dudes from the Metherlamds. We stayed up on the mountain and had the time of our lives. I just happened to be college week and there was plenty going on far as entertainment after a day of boarsing. We also sat in the outside hot tub which was amazing. If we had to do it all over again we would most definitely go back again.

Posted on Nov 09, 2017