by Sally Francklyn
On February 11, 2018, I was invited to go snowshoeing at Copper Mountain. This event was through the newly opened Adventure Station at Copper, near Camp Hale coffee shop. My friend Scott went with me, and we were ready to summit Copper Peak—or at least snowshoe to the top.
Scott and I met on ski patrol, so we’re used to pretty challenging outdoor activities. I was kind of worried that he agreed to go snowshoeing with me, and that it would be way too easy for us/him. Boy, was I wrong. We rode the Super Bee lift up, walked off (quite different when your skis are not on your feet), and then began our ascent to just below Patrol Headquarters (or PHQ).
Our guides were Oren and Sarah, and Oren went inside PHQ to grab the set of snowshoes and poles. Sarah talked with us about her knowledge and recommendations for snowshoeing—step with a slightly wider stance, and lengthen the poles we were provided so your arms were at about 90 degrees to the ground. Oren brought out the snowshoes, and we strapped them to our feet. Then, we began our climb.
It’s steep when you get above PHQ—this is where the huffing-and-puffing began (at least for me, anyway). I consider myself pretty athletic and active, but this was a true elevation of my heart rate. It was a beautiful day—although it was quite chilly, the sunshine made being outside wonderful. Oren told us to remove any excess layers we had donned to warm us up—when we began our hike, he told us we would get really warmed up, really quickly. We often took breaks on our hike up, which were a good time for us to hydrate or consume any snacks. (By the way, Oren had some Honey Stinger Pomegranate Passion Fruit energy bites that he shared with the crew, and they were DELICIOUS. But I digress.)
When we reached the peak, we took in the outstanding views all around us. A woman in our group had a flight to catch, so rather than taking our time up there, we descended pretty soon after we made it. We ate a few snacks, drank plenty of water, and then began hiking down.
The REI Adventure Station at Copper is new this season, and Copper Mountain Resort is the only one to offer these activities. Both the resort and the land around it are so beautiful, it’s a shame that those who travel to Copper with their families and don’t ski or ride never get out of their hotel room. Now, they have a reason to—the Adventure Station through REI offers multiple winter activities, like an easier snowshoe in West Village where participants earn hot chocolate when they reach the end. There’s also the Rendezvous Happy Hour—you take the American Flyer Lift up, snowshoe down to Rendezvous lift, then ride the Rendezvous lift to a relaxing happy hour in the lunch spot near the top. During the summer, they’ll offer some classes, too. To me, those seem like a great excuse to enjoy adventures in the scenery around you, taught by those who have a ton of knowledge about the area.
Now, with the Adventure Station at Copper, you now have a reason to enjoy the 9,000-foot elevation around you. Enjoy multiple activities during the winter, and once summer comes, a few more. The REI Adventure Station probably will expand to other resorts in the future, but you learned it here: Copper is the only resort to offer it now, so get after it before it spreads like wildfire.
Learn more about the REI Adventures offered at Copper Mountain here.