For the first time in a decade I was able to prolong a business trip to Boulder, Colorado with two days of skiing at Copper Mountain (March 5-6, 2011). My friend and colleague has a condo there and knows the area very well. He showed me much of the mountain, with the exception of terrain accessed only by hiking or snow cat (my choice). I used to live in Boulder in the late 1980s and skied A-Basin, Keystone, Loveland, Winter Park and Vail, but only once at Copper. Now I live in Maryland so I was very glad to get some time on a real mountain instead of the paltry hills in this area.
The mountain: Copper was excellent: good variety of terrain, no lines even on the weekend, pleasant vibe from everybody. Plenty of snow, including a few inches of fresh on the second morning. We skied blues, blacks and double-blacks on the front-side as well as Union Peak, Copper Bowl and Spaulding Bowl. Lots of steep in-bounds terrain. Plenty of moguls available, but also some steep groomers. One black run is designated the "noon groomer" and opens at 12:00. Snow varied from about 4 inches (10 cm) of untracked, heavy powder, to the cut-up remains thereof, to hardpack with loose snow on top. Spaulding Bowl is accessed by a Poma surface lift, which was tedious (though comical to watch some people get dumped).
The skis: I brought my own Volkl AC30 (177 cm; 124-80-107mm sidecut) in order to avoid the hassle of renting, to ski on familiar equipment, and to test my travel rig -- this was the first time I had traveled with my skis by airplane. The skis handled all the terrain and snow superbly. Any faults were entirely my own rather than the equipment. Great edge grip on the occasional hardpack, and no problem busting through any of the variable snow. The ski is stiff and I struggled on larger moguls, but frankly I think that's more my lack of skill than the ski. I might have wished for fatter skis if we'd had a big powder day, but the AC30 were perfect for the conditions.
The luggage: I bought a Transpack XT1 boot bag and a Transpack single/double ski bag before the trip. The ski bag is durable, padded, and able to fit extra clothes as well as the skis. It expands to fit two pairs of skis if desired. There are tie-down cords inside and compression straps outside. The boot bag was able to contain my helmet, goggles, gloves, ski pants and jacket as well as the boots. It can be worn as a back-pack. I took a risk and checked the boots instead of carrying-on, because I knew that I had a three-day buffer during my business meeting to recover any delayed luggage. The bags successfully protected gear from the perils of baggage handlers.
Conclusion: fun trip, great equipment, and a good learning experience in paring down my rig to the minimum for travel.