by Kate Hill

 

When you live in Denver and your friends want to come out for a weekend ski trip, the big question is always, “which resort?”

There’s no shortage of awesome resorts within a couple hours of Denver, but finding the best one for the particular needs, wishes, and odd particularities of your group can be a challenge.

At the end of last season, my group of best girl friends from high school—all in our mid-20s and spread out across the U.S.—wanted to do a big ski trip. Over our 12 years of friendship, we had done plenty of trips together, but this trip would be a first for us in a couple ways: it would be our first ski trip, and our first trip with significant others. We all really wanted it to go well.

That meant we needed a place that would cater to both beginners and experts, wouldn’t break the bank, wouldn’t be a nightmare to get to, and would be relaxed enough to make us all feel at home.

I knew from trial and error at other resorts that Copper was far and away our best option, and I wasn’t disappointed. Here’s why:

 

Two friends pose in helmets and goggles while skiing at Copper Mountain

Photo courtesy of Carolina Galdiz

 

1. Copper offers world-class skiing with a low-key vibe. 

I’m not sure how Copper manages to pull it off, but somehow the resort maintains a low-key, unpretentious vibe that’s hard to come by at big-name resorts. We were focused on having a great time skiing, not trying to “be seen” or get dolled up afterwards (which, of course, you can still do, you just won’t get scoffed at if you don’t), so Copper’s low-key, unpretentious spirit fit our group perfectly.

 

 

Friends pose for photo while skiing and snowboarding at Copper Mountain

Photo courtesy of Rose Lichtenfels

 

2. Copper is refreshingly budget-friendly for a big group.

As a group of budget-conscious 20-somethings, we wanted to at least attempt to be as frugal as possible. Luckily, Copper offers a bunch of options and deals that can significantly lessen the cost. With buddy passes from my Rocky Mountain Super Pass (now the Ikon Pass) we were able to make the weekend surprisingly affordable.

 

A view of the snow at Copper Mountain on a bluebird day

Photo courtesy of Carolina Galdiz

 

3. Even complete beginners can experience the thrills and views of skiing at nearly 12,000 feet. 

For one of my friends, our ski trip was her first time on skis. Being athletic and fairly fearless, she didn’t want that to mean two days of uninspiring runs near the base of the mountain. So, after three half-hearted glides down the bunny hill, she was game to take American Flyer up to Rendezvous, to lap the green run Union Park at the top. After pushing through a moment of fear as she weaved her first zig-zag of pizzas between the lifts, the views and solitude at the top quickly made it all worthwhile. On her first day on skis, she was able to reap one of the sweetest rewards of Rocky Mountain skiing: killer Rocky Mountain views at nearly 12,000 feet. And that’s one of those “only at Copper” things—mellow beginner-friendly runs even at the top of the mountain.

 

Friends having fun in a group on the mountain while skiing and snowboarding at Copper Mountain

Photo courtesy of Steve Ledvina

 

4. Naturally divided terrain means you can find the right terrain for every group.

With such a range in skill levels, our group faced the potentially difficult task of finding terrain that everyone would actually enjoy. That’s where Copper saved us: its naturally divided terrain meant that everyone could find an area that fit her skill level, and we could even find lifts that offered a naturally divided mix of runs to fit all of our levels. We could lap Timberline as a group, with beginners on Soliloquy, intermediates on the blues, and experts skiing through the trees between the blues, allowing us to ride the lift up together, but to ski our own level down.

 

Friends pose for photo while getting ready for skiing in parking lot at Copper Mountain

Photo courtesy of Rose Lichtenfels

 

5. Logistics are headache-free. 

Since all but two of us were flying in from out of town, we had to rent a lot of gear and manage a lot of logistics that I could normally avoid as a day-tripper driving from Denver. Thankfully, Copper made all of those logistics pretty simple: there are tons of gear rental options on-site, a great bus system, plenty of lockers, and easy parking. We were able to breeze through the whole process of renting gear, grabbing passes, storing stuff, and parking in minimal time, with zero stress.

 

Copper made our trip the huge success it was, and we can’t wait to start planning our next visit.

 

Kate Hill is a freelance writer and editor. When she’s not writing, she’s probably reading, hiking, camping, skiing, or sailing. You can learn more about her work and her writing at katedeanhill.com.

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