Temperatures cold enough to freeze the bottle of water I left in the car overnight didn’t keep us off the mountain yesterday.
Chris and I just stuck toe warmers on our socks and hand warmers in our gloves, then covered every patch of exposed skin with clothing before catching a chair lift to the top of Copper Mountain in minus 15-degree weather.
After a few days of skiing Monarch Mountain near Salida, we drove to Frisco on Tuesday. We’re now staying at the cozy Frisco Inn on Galena Street, which feels like staying at a friend’s house (and that friend brews three kinds of amazing coffee every day, cooks you hearty pre-ski breakfasts and pours you a glass of wine to sip in front of the fireplace every night). From our base in Frisco, we’re exploring nearby Copper Mountain and Arapahoe Basin.
In the meantime, a blast of winter weather has arrived.
Guide Todd Casey at Copper explained the resort’s two-peak layout. I skied here two years ago, but since the big news is a new lift that opened this season. The Three Bears lift, the culmination of a 15-year vision, now whisks skiers up Tucker Mountain, to some of the steepest, lift-served terrain in Colorado.
“There’s more challenging terrain here than people realize,” Casey said. “It’s steep, north-facing, ungroomed, above-the-treeline into glades. It’s always been inbounds, just not often used.”
If you like double-black drops, chutes and razor-edge ridgelines, this is your mecca.
We spent most of our time in the slightly milder terrain of Copper Bowl, where we bounded down fluffy mounds of snow, and in the untracked stretches of powder back in Union Meadows. We also found lots of gorgeous glades, where the wind couldn’t find us among the trees.
And here’s a tip for skiing Copper in cold weather: Take advantage of the American Flyer lift, where you can pull down the blue-tinted, plastic bubble cover to shield yourself from the elements. Also, stop frequently for hot chocolate.
Today, we’re heading to Arapaho Basin. The forecast calls for balmier temperatures in the 20s, and snow all day.
I’ll take that.