by Lu Snyder

Family ski days with your little tyke can be both exhilarating and (dare I say it?) a little boring. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of seeing your youngster get a taste of the sport you love, but unless you’re a beginner skier or boarder yourself, green runs can get old, fast.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

A father and son make their way down the mountain on skis at Copper Mountain Colorado

Some kids can’t get enough of their time on skis. Our daughter was not among them. It took tremendous effort to get her out the door and on the slopes, and little time before she wanted to go home. On the good days, we’d watch her dip into the powder and the trees, and get a glimmer of hope that she, too, will fall in love with this lifelong sport. But if left to her own devices, our daughter would ski the same run over and over, all season long.

Eventually, we learned to present our ski day as an adventure. Our favorite route covered a wide range of green trails, offering enough variety to keep it reasonably interesting for my husband and I, with plenty of opportunity for hot chocolate and rest stops, fun little rollers, jumps and quick loops into the trees to maximize our daughter’s energy and enthusiasm.

Start at the Kokomo lift in West Village and head straight to the Lumberjack lift. The less travelled West Ten Mile is our favorite. On snow days, we’d search for patches of untracked snow where our daughter could get a feel for powder. As she got tired, we’d try to time it to take Lumberjack up one last time and ski Prospector back to the lodge for an early lunch.

Lunch for kids is easy at Copper: the kids meal incorporates an entrée and side (mac n’ cheese AND fries in one meal!) plus a drink for a great price. It’s a win-win for parents and kids.

Once refueled, we’d head to the Union Creek quad. We like dipping into the terrain features at the top – maybe a quick run through the mini half-pipe and some jumps – before heading down Vein Glory, Scooter or Easy Feelin’ (always in search of little tracks through the trees).

If the sun was shining and our daughter was still smiling after a few runs on Union Creek, we’d head for the Timberline lift and ski Soliloquy, where we could easily grab some chairs in the sun at T-Rex Grill and hydrate with an energy drink, if necessary, before the long last run to Center Village.

Of all the green slopes Copper has to offer beginners, our daughter’s favorite isn’t even on the map. A galloping little run through the trees off of the top of High Point, Witches Cove is an adventure in itself – an alley filled with fun rollers and plenty of opportunities for air – sure to make most kids smile, even when they’re tired.

From there, we’d make our way to Center Village, to end the day on a sweet note with a half dozen fresh, crispy mini donuts each at Sugar Lips Mini Donuts. The cinnamon sugar are my favorite, but we’ve been known to reward our daughter for a good ski day with a Fancy Schmancy topping. (She almost always picks S’mores.)

Some might call it a bribe, but we consider a recipe for a successful family ski day.

Delicious mini donuts from Sugar Lips Donuts at Copper Mountain


Delicious mini donuts from Sugar Lips Donuts at Copper Mountain

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A perfect family ski day.
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