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Located just an hour and a half west of Denver, Copper Mountain Ski Resort is popular with families for good reason. The expansive ski terrain offers something for every ski ability. However with the many fun things to do at Copper Mountain, skiing is just icing on the cake. Here’s what to know about Copper Mountain Ski Resort.
Most of our many years of skiing have been spent on the slopes of Vail and Beaver Creek. So it had been several years since my husband & I have ventured to other ski resorts.
But when such an opportunity arose, we jumped. Our family took a short drive over Vail pass to experience a different Colorado ski resort and had so much fun!
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Copper Mountain is a fantastic ski resort for families with much more to offer than just skiing. Though the skiing is ideal for families due to how the mountain is laid out with great access to beginner runs but also more challenging terrain for more advanced skiers.
About Copper Mountain Ski Resort
Copper Mountain is a ski area located in Summit County, Colorado, an hour and a half west of Denver and just 15 minutes from the town of Frisco. This ski resort is actually closer to Denver than Breckenridge Ski Resort is, at 209 Ten Mile Circle, Frisco, Colorado.
Copper Mountain Ski Resort offers 2,490 acres of skiable terrain. Its base sits at 9,712 feet above sea level. It receives an average of 305″ of annual snowfall. It is popular both with skiers and snowboarders.
Capacity at Copper Mountain for winter 2020-2021 is being managed with parking reservations rather than a lift ticket reservations system. But you will still want to purchase your lift tickets in advance for the best price. It’s the way family ski vacations are changing for 2021.
Copper Mountain Ski Resort Base Villages
Copper Mountain is comprised of three base villages: Center Village, East Village and West Village. A free bus system transports guests from village to village and runs every 15 – 30 minutes.
East Village is home to Super Bee high speed chairlift taking skiers to intermediate to advanced terrain such as Copper Bowl and Tucker Mountain. It is also where the fun snow tubing hill is located. Here you will find both condos and homes.
Center Village is where you’ll find American Eagle and American Flyer lifts and most of the restaurants, nightlife and shops. It is also where most events happen. If you like to be in the middle of things, this is where you’ll want to stay. A new hotel, Element 29, is opening in Center Village in 2021.
TravelingMom Tip: One of our favorite things to do when taking a vacation is to hire a photographer for family photos. This is a special gift and souvenir that we cherish. We use Flytographer to book a local photographer located in the area that we're traveling to. Use this link and you will get $25 off your photo session.
West Village is popular with families because it’s close to the beginner terrain and ski school.
You can use this interactive map to find local hotels and available Airbnbs.
Things to Do at Copper Mountain
Ski or Snowboard
Okay, so this is a given. You’ve traveled to Copper Mountain Resort for a family ski vacation. You are going to go skiing (or snowboarding). But we are putting it number one on our list because it really is a great mountain, particularly for families with beginner skiers.
Copper Mountain is known for its “naturally-divided” terrain. This basically means that skiers and riders can enjoy the mountain at their own pace or skill set. The trails are laid out from east to west starting at a higher difficulty to lower. The trails are grouped together by difficulty. This means that it is great for skiers of all ability levels.
Blacks (expert) are on the east side, blues (intermediate) and and all greens (beginner) are on the west side. This means there is very little chance of a beginner skier ending up on black trails, which can easily happen at resorts that have more of a mix of trails throughout the mountain.
As a bonus, the trails are long and expansive, which our family loved. We also happened to be there on a day when Mother Nature had graced Copper Mountain with 8 inches of snow overnight. And then the sun came out and blue skies opened for the perfect day. Our time spent together on the slopes as a family was wonderfully memorable.
TravelingMom Tip: Skiing is full of life lessons both for kids, and adults. Fall down, get up. Focus. Learn from mistakes. And, so much more.
Copper Kids Ski and Ride School
When TravelingMom Diana Rowe took her grandkids to Copper Mountain, she was extra impressed with the ski school experience:
I cannot say enough about how amazing is the kid friendly Copper Mountain’s ski school. Yeah I know — a kids ski school SHOULD be kid friendly and amazing. And we’ve checked into a few here in Colorado, which have been over-the-top awesome.
But my grandkids still talk about their fantastic experience with their Copper Mountain Ski instructor CJ. This was their third snowboarding lesson in as many years, and CJ worked really intensely on building their confidence. After a short refresher lesson, he had them taking the “big kid” lift up and snowboarding down a beginner slope like they were pros.
From a grandparent point of view, that’s what I look for — an instructor that is invested and committed to making a difference with the kids! What I really loved about CJ is his enthusiasm and how he quickly became like a big brother to my grandkids — and how confident they were when we picked them up. We even received a handwritten “report card” about their snowboarding skills, letting them know what they did well and what they could do to improve.
The grandkids had so much fun with their instructor that they opted out of the tubing hill in the afternoon, so they could continue practicing what CJ had taught them.
Snow Tubing at Copper Mountain
Our entire family, ages 5 and up, all absolutely loved snow tubing at Copper Mountain. I would consider us veteran sledders. But this was a whole different experience.
We grabbed a tube, let the magic carpet hoist us up the hill and then zipped down one of the five lanes in a square formation with four tubes held together by our hands holding the straps. The banked curves add an extra thrill. And, the snow storm that came in at the end of our hour completed the experience. It was certainly an adrenaline rush.
Colorado is home to fantastic snow tubing hills and this is one of our favorites.
If your kids are a bit younger, you might want to check out the new snow slides instead of the tubing hill. Built entirely from snow and located in the East Village, the Snow Slide is meant for kids ages 3-8.
Ride the Alpine Coaster
The winter of 2017-2018, Copper Mountain debuted its Rocky Mountain Coaster. If you don’t know what an alpine coaster is, you should. We are huge fans.
It is like a roller coaster, but you drive your own cart which is attached to the rails of the track. And it is set in the middle of a natural mountain environment rather than a concrete jungle.
Copper Mountain’s raised alpine coaster track runs along the natural curvature of the mountain. It dips, zigs, zags and makes 360 degree turns all the way down the track.
Visit Woodward Barn
We know families who regularly make the trek over the pass to take their kids to the Woodward Barn.
While the building may look a little like a barn, inside it is a training facility. it offers indoor ski and snowboard training, skateparks, Olympic-grade trampolines, foam pit jumps and more. Sign up for a two-hour intro session and make sure to bring your ski/ snowboard boots and a helmet!
Go Ice Skating
Copper Mountain is home to West Lake pond. It turns into an ice skating rink in winter.
Bring along your ice skates, or rent a pair once you arrive to glide around the ice.
Enjoy an Après Treat
The villages at Copper Mountain have a variety of restaurants as well as specialty sweet shops. Treat the family to mini donuts covered with chocolate sauce and sprinkles at Sugar Lips Mini Donuts. Enjoy a freshly-baked cookie from Mary’s Mountain Cookies. Or, let the kids pick out bulk candy at City Pop Gourmet Popcorn & Candy.
TravelingMom Tip: Here’s how to do apres-ski right. You earned it!
Kids Night Out (Currently on Hiatus)
Kids ages 3-12 years can enjoy Kids Night Out while the adults have an adult-only night out. Best of all, Kids Night Out is free! When you spend $30 during the time of care anywhere in Copper’s village areas Wednesday – Saturday, 5:30 – 10 pm, you receive 3 hours free fun of childcare at Kids Night Out. Activities include arts and crafts, games, interactive Wii, dinner, and a movie.
Note, that due to COVID-19 Kids Night Out is not offered now.
Free Things to Do at Copper Mountain
Yes, a family ski vacation can be expensive. But put away those wallets as this family friendly Colorado ski resort, In addition to the free shuttle bus service, Copper Mountain offers free concerts. And Copper’s Ambassadors offer free mountain tours daily from mid-December through the beginning of April, snow conditions and terrain opening permitting.
Read More: Looking for tips on planning a family ski vacation?! Here’s how to choose a family friendly ski resort in Colorado — from finding the best ski school for the little ones to a terrain park for the teens.