Copper Mountain is a resort with the feel of a mountain village setting. Located off Highway I-70, this newly renovated resort boasts fabulous skiing for all abilities, a self-contained village and its own Golf Course. Copper is home to a variety of musical entertainers, summer and winter. The annual music and crafts festival held each Labor Day weekend draws visitors from all over the country.
Many locals will admit that this is their favorite ski mountain, with tremendous variety and especially challenging back-bowl terrain. After skiing, locals and visitors alike, flock to see if their favorite entertainer, Moe Dixon, is playing at Happy Hour. Moe’s ability to weave his spell puts a cap on the Copper experience that makes everyone feel that they’re in the ultimate “ski movie!”
When the U S Forest Service finished the first surveys for Copper Mountain, they observed, “If there were a mountain that had terrain for skiing it would be Copper Mountain. It is probably the most outstanding potential ski area in the Arapahoe National Forest, and possibly Colorado. The north facing peaks of Copper Mountain offer an excellent variety of development for expert, intermediate and beginner skiers. The unique thing is that all three varieties are separated by definite terrain features, and in all three cases the skier can ski back into the base area. The mountain has good snow and sparse tree cover created by old burns, which offers a tremendous opportunity to create natural type runs that blend in with the surrounding countryside.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Blessed with a nearly perfect mountain, Copper is one of Colorado’s best ski areas, enjoying more than thirty years of awesome skiing and snowboarding. Several hundred years ago, Copper was home to the Ute and Arapaho Indians who fished the streams, trapped and hunted deer, buffalo, elk and bear. Of course, they also enjoyed, respected and reveled in the natural beauty and scenery created thousands of years earlier. Today, visitors and locals alike enjoy the abundant snow and sunshine each day, season and year.
In the mid 1800s, miners discovered Summit County. Mining villages sprung up throughout central Colorado and copper was discovered in the area that now takes its name from that mineral. By 1880, Judge John S. Wheeler established a settlement at the junction between the Ten Mile and Gore mountain ranges. The old buildings can still be seen in the area near the base of Alpine Lift or, if you’re exploring in the summer months, scattered along the back nine of Copper Creek Golf Club. Wheeler recognized the potential for development and promoted the area as a trout fishing and horseback riding retreat.
The Colorado settlement boomed. Miners, loggers, fur traders and prospectors, as colorful and storied as the environment itself, staked claims and called Wheeler Junction home. An energetic and wild boarding house offered amenities such as china dishes, authentic silverware and tablecloths in the midst of a rough and tumble mountain town. Dances, balls and card parties filled the nights as settlers sought their fortunes in the rich opportunities the area offered.
In 1971, Chuck Lewis, Copper’s founding father, took one look at the current site of Copper and told his friends, “I’m gonna build me a killer ski resort.” He negotiated a deal to purchase 280 acres at the base and worked with the Forest Service to establish parameters and guidelines for the ski area. Chuck was both a renegade and a visionary. During the summer of ’71, initial construction began on the ski trails.
Over the years, new lifts were added and Copper grew to its current size of 2,433 acres. What was once a sleepy little day ski area is now one of Colorado’s premier year-round destination resorts. In 1997, the resort was purchased by Intrawest – a worldwide leader in resort operations and development.