Chairlift with skiers and snowboarders on the ski slope of Copper Mountain

Copper Mountain Ski Resort (Guide + Key Info, By a Local)

I’m a Colorado local and seasoned skier, and in this guide, I share exactly what to expect when visiting Copper Mountain Ski Resort. 

Copper Mountain is one of the best ski resorts in Colorado, having 140+ trails for every skill level and a variety of amenities. You don’t have to travel far to find lodging, eateries, and additional attractions. 

Here’s what I’ll cover in this post: 

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. Thank you!

About Copper Mountain

Skiers riding a chairlift with the background of snowcapped Colorado Rocky Mountains

Copper Mountain Stats

  • 📍 209 Ten Mile Cir, Frisco, CO 80443
  • 📞 (866) 841-2481
  • 💻 Website
  • 📅 Ski area open November 14, 2022 to April 23, 2023
  • 🎿 Lift Hours: 9 am to 4 pm 
  • ⛰️ Summit elevation: 12,441 ft (3,792 meters)
  • ❄️ Average Snowfall: 305 in (774 cm)
  • 🗺️ Acres: 2,507 
  • 🏂 Number of trails: 140+
  • ⛷️ Vertical drop: 2,738 ft (835 meters)
  • 🚡 Number of ski lifts: 24

Copper Mountain History

Aerial view in winter of recreation and sports in Copper Mountain

In 1954, District Forest Service Ranger Paul Hauk first proposed the valley as a ski area. Various developers considered it, but construction didn’t begin until 1971. The project was led by Copper Mountain Associates, a group of 18 investors including Chuck Lewis. 

Chuck Lewis was the visionary behind Copper Mountain. A serial entrepreneur, he created Thick and Thin Lumber Company and Pretty Lumpy Concrete Company. Both helped construct Copper Mountain, reducing the costs of transporting building materials.

In 1972, Copper Mountain opened for skiing, offering 5 lifts and 26 miles of trails. Lodging and retail at Copper Junction, the resort’s first condo building, became available the following season. [Source]

Copper Mountain Resort

Skiers waiting in line at a ski lift in the Rocky Mountains in winter
(photo: Steve Boice / Shutterstock)

Today, Copper Mountain is the largest of the four ski resorts in Summit County. It features 24 chair lifts and more than 140 marked trails. 

The terrain is naturally divided, providing a fun experience for every level of skier. Copper Mountain has 21% beginner terrain, 25% intermediate runs, 36% advanced, and 18% expert. Skilled skiers and riders can also enjoy the high-alpine back bowls of Tucker Mountain. Hike-to or catch a free snowcat ride, available Friday through Sunday from 10 am to 1:30 pm.

Three villages make up Copper Mountain. The West Village is home to the ski school and several lifts, including Kokomo Express and Woodward Express. Beginners will find several green runs on the west side. 

Center Village features the American Flyer lift and American Eagle lift. They lead to beginner and intermediate runs, plus connecting lifts that ascend higher up the mountain. In Center Village, you’ll also find shopping, dining, lodging, and other attractions. 

These include the Rocky Mountain Coaster, one of the longest alpine coasters in North America. In summer, enjoy go-karts, zip lines, a climbing wall, and more in Center Village. 

Lastly, the East Village at Copper is known for its challenging terrain. On the east side, the Super Bee and Alpine Lifts provide access to blue, black, and double black runs. 

Where to Stay Near Copper Mountain

Here are some of the best places to stay near Copper Mountain: 

Copper Mountain is about 1 hour and 45 minutes from Denver International Airport, and 1 hour and 20 minutes from downtown. Its proximity to the city makes it a popular ski resort among Denverites

But whether you’re a local or a tourist, all can appreciate a nearby stay and skipping I-70 traffic. 

For ski-in, and ski-out access at Copper Mountain, check out Center Village. Here, you’ll find several comfortable stays, including Element 29 Hotel and New Village Copper Mountain. Many apartment rentals are available as well, which are great for groups. 

For quieter and more affordable stays, look into nearby mountain towns. Closest to Copper Mountain is the charming town of Frisco, which features plenty of things to do. You can also find places to stay in Keystone and Silverthorne.

5 Things to Do Near Copper Mountain

Rocky Mountain Coaster

Zoom down one of the longest alpine coasters in North America

Sunny day at the alpine coaster in Rocky Mountain Coaster

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (970) 968-2318 | Website | Hours: 11 am – 5 pm Monday, Closed Tuesday, 11 am – 4 pm Wednesday – Monday, Closed Tuesday | Entrance: $35 per person, free under 9 

The Rocky Mountain Coaster is found at Copper Mountain in Center Village, near the American Flyer Lift. It’s one of the longest alpine coasters on the continent, measuring 5,800 feet. The track races to top speeds of 25 miles per hour! 

To enjoy this thrilling ride, note that drivers must be at least 9 years old and 52 inches tall. Passengers are free but must be at least 3 years old and 36 inches tall. 

Nordic Skiing

Glide across the scenic, groomed trails at Copper Mountain — for free!

Skiers skiing in the snowy trails surrounded by pine trees

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (866) 841-2481 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 4 pm daily | Entrance: free | 👉 Shop Cross Country Gear on REI

Want to ski Copper Mountain for free? Check out the East Village cross-country trails and Golf Course Loops. Totaling more than 12 miles, these routes feature beautiful views of the mountains and snowy evergreen forests. 

❄️ Love Nordic Skiing? Don’t miss the nearby Frisco Nordic Center, featuring 17+ miles of groomed trails.

Tubing

Race down this family-friendly attraction at Copper Mountain

People snow tubing down a slope in winter

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (866) 841-2481 | Website 

Most seasons, the Copper Mountain tubing hill opens in late December. You’ll find this family-friendly attraction in East Village. During your 1-hour session, enjoy multiple groomed lanes featuring exciting banked turns and jumps. Be sure to arrive early for the safety briefing, and note the 36-inch height requirement. 

👉 Pro Tip: Book online at least one day in advance for 10% off passes! If the Copper Mountain tubing hill is booked, look into Frisco Adventure Park

Fat Biking

Cycle between two mountain towns or on remote, alpine trails

A man fat biking on the snow covered road

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (970) 547-7889 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 3 pm Monday – Friday, Closed Saturday – Sunday | Entrance: $27 adults, $22 seniors over 65, free under 13 | 👉 Fat Bike Beer & Distillery Tour on Viator

There are several places to fat bike near Copper Mountain, including the Gold Run Nordic Center. It’s one of the best things to do in Breckenridge, a nearby mountain town. 

Fat biking can also be enjoyed on the Breckenridge trail system and the winter Rec Path. This free, 8-mile trail connects Breckenridge with Frisco.  

Downtown Frisco

Find après ski entertainment in this quaint mountain town

Two girls walking in the mountain with the view of snowcapped mountains and houses in Frisco

📍 Google Maps 

Enjoy après ski fun in downtown Frisco, set just 7 miles from Copper Mountain. On its quaint main street, you’ll find several boutiques, gift shops, eateries, and bars. Personal favorites include Highside Brewing and BBQ and Ein Prosit, a Bavarian-style pub. 

Restaurants Near Copper Mountain

Skiers on a chairlift with a scenic view of the snowcapped Colorado Rocky Mountains in winter
Ski lifts provide access to several mountaintop eateries

Here are some of the best restaurants and places to eat near Copper Mountain: 

  • Ten Mile Tavern – Set in Center Village, this tavern offers an extensive beer menu and warm plates of comfort food. 
  • El Zacatecano Mexican Restaurant – Another Center Village eatery serving margaritas and large portions of authentic Mexican cuisine. 
  • JJ’s Rocky Mountain Tavern – Enjoy craft beer and pub grub at this East Village restaurant, complete with a fire pit and patio. 
  • West Village Day Lodge – Found near the family-friendly runs in West Village, this lodge offers pizza, burgers, chicken strips, and more kid favorites. 
  • Solitude Station – This food court sits at the top of the American Eagle Lift, featuring a Cajun station, ramen bowls, and more. 
  • Flyer’s Grill – Take the American Flyer Lift to this cozy shack that serves up beer, cocktails, brats, and steaming bowls of chili.  
  • Highside Brewing and BBQ – Found in nearby Frisco, this local brewery features a food menu, board games, and live music. 
  • Vinny’s EuroAmerican Cuisine – This rustic, farm-to-table restaurant is one of my and my husband’s go-to date night spots. Expect delicious food and great service! 

As the largest ski resort in Summit County, it’s no surprise that Copper Mountain has several eateries on-site. Find places to eat and drink in all three villages, as well as on the mountain. However, note that you might be paying a bit more for convenience.

For cheaper spots and an even greater variety, head to downtown Frisco. Here, you’ll find delicious, locally-owned restaurants, coffee shops, and breweries.  

Essentials to Pack for Copper Mountain

My Colorado packing list goes over all the things you’ll need for a ski resort vacation. Be sure to bookmark it! But as a brief overview, here are a few items you might not think to bring, but are sure to improve your experience: 

My Favorite Accessory

Our Pick
Burton Cora Hood
There are all sorts of neck warmers out there, but I swear by this Burton product. It’s comfortable, insulating, and stylish — and comes in a men's version too.

Snow-Proof

Our Pick
Scott Ultimate Plus Gloves

Scott is a trustworthy brand known for durability and performance. These warm, waterproof gloves are another personal favorite, also available in a men’s style.

A Game Changer

Our Pick
HotHands Hand Warmers
Simple, affordable, and effective, these hand warmers make all the difference. Tuck them into your gloves or even your boots to stay toasty.

Essential Protection

Our Pick
Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion
If only I had a photo of my ski google tan lines… don’t be fooled like I was in the early days. The sun is strong on the slopes! Always apply sunscreen to avoid harmful rays and burns.

👉 Want more ski gear suggestions? See my Arapahoe Basin Ski Area guide for my favorite winter coat, snow pants, and insulating layers! 

Copper Mountain Map

FAQs About Copper Mountain Ski Area

Is Copper Mountain good for beginners?

Copper Mountain is good for beginners. 46% of marked trails are considered easy and intermediate runs. There’s also a ski school on the east side of Copper, perfect for first-timers. 

What is Copper Mountain famous for?

Copper Mountain is famous for being the largest ski resort in Summit County. It’s also one of the best ski resorts in Colorado, loved for its variety of terrain, on-site lodging, and numerous activities. Tubing, nordic skiing, and several summer attractions make it a year-round destination.

***

Enjoy your trip to Copper Mountain, one of Colorado’s most epic ski resorts!

(Featured Image Credit: Steve Boice / Shutterstock)

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