This final leg in my Colorado ski safari was determined not to tarnish my USA ski experience.
If you are travelling any distance it makes sense to pack in as much as you can, so for me, my trip to Colorado took in Winter Park, Steamboat and finally Copper Mountain. For most this would be a two hour shuttle from Denver Airport, which means still within one day of travelling out of Heathrow, but for me a mere couple of hours down the road. I should point out that British Airways operate daily flights from Heathrow into Denver, which makes it one of the most convenient US ski locations there is for people from the UK.
On first sight Copper is typical of an American ski resort, which is no wonder as it has a history with Intrawest. But, unlike so many others it has not taken on a massive sprawl of empty condos with a second home feel about it.
In truth, my arrival was not that straightforward and dealing with the young front desk clerk was like pulling teeth, but in fairness that can happen anywhere, I just prefer it not to happen to me or any of my readers.
Eventually I did get to my condo and find to my delight it is directly looking onto the main chairlift in the central village. I have a whole 50 paces from my front door to the lift line.
Unlike many of the ski areas I have visited, Copper has a very naturally graded mountain. Individual lifts take you to a cluster of similarly graded runs, so sticking to one area for a while offers you no nasty surprises.
My arrival has coincided with vacation time for college kids and there is a lot of action taking place around me. I feel 1,000 years older than those around me, but full credit to them, I am treated with warmth, courtesy and respect which is a lot more than I could expect at home. Many of them are attracted by Woodward Barn, a facility to learn and develop freestyle techniques for a number of high adrenalin sports all in the safety of millions of foam rubber cubes.
I ski the first day on my own, it allows me the chance to grab lots of mountain shots on my own and play with my GoPro. This is a big ski area and I just go where gravity takes me. I stay on the front of the mountain, not that I have to, but it’s all new terrain to me so I am in my element.
The lifts are quick and the short lines efficiently handled, there is no excuse for not getting full value out of your lift ticket here. What makes it even better is the change in the weather, it is warm, bright blue skies and hardly a hind of breeze.
The snow feels slightly different run to run depending on the sun’s angle and how much use there has been that day, but I have no difficulty in finding the purest sugar soft show to cruise down.
I experience fine dining and immediately impress my waitress with my knowledge of English, amazing what you can do as a Yorkshireman with a brass neck – on Copper Mountain. I am fitting in so well I even make myself coffee in my kitchen that is what you call assimilation.
Another day on the slopes and this time I am joined by Stephanie, Copper Mountain’s PR manager. She shows me how to ski at speed and assures me that when she is old, she will ski like me.
It’s a wonderful day of carefree skiing to stretch those muscles and give the impression I know what I am doing. I break for lunch, take a few shots in the village and return to the slopes for a few more runs.
Après and dinner merge into one and I am responsible for yet more depletion of American beef stock. In the morning I am to ski with the man from Colorado Ski, so a big day.
I am eager to hit the snow and Steve admits to having the same level of anticipation, he has been busy promoting Colorado globally so has missed out on early season skiing. We hop in the American Eagle chair and head up. In no time we are down again and eager for more. We hop around a bit exploring the terrain until discovering Ptarmigan up and over from the Excelerator chair. It is the sweetest run on the mountain and we both open up and leave the rest to God and gravity. There is no debate, we repeat the run and go down even faster, there is no one else here; it’s all ours! A few more runs for variety and I have to shower off, change and say my goodbyes.
The visit left me wanting more, there is so much that I did, but still so much more to do. Quite simply Colorado Ski is a great product and generally speaking conditions are far more assured than in Europe. When the Americans discovered gold in Colorado they moved it all to Fort Knox, thankfully they left the Copper behind for me.
•British Airways fly daily from Heathrow directly into Denver (www.ba.com)
•Denver is seven hours behind London meaning a 12 noon flight lands at 3pm
•Copper Mountain is about two hours from Denver Airport
•Copper offers competitive lift ticket prices check online at www.coppercolorado.com
•Always check the dates of US holidays (such as Spring Break) to avoid peak prices
•Be sure to carry adequate medical/health insurance when visiting the USA
•Younger visitors will be asked for ID when buying alcohol
•For resort information go to www.coppercolorado.com
•The local town is Frisco, a short hop away offering hotel accommodation, shopping and entertainment and regular shuttle buses
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Check out Malcolm's first ski run of the day with his 'onboard' camera
Picture video of Copper Mountain, Colorado