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Copper Sat. November 5

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

So, I was able to get back on snow today for the first time since February 26, 2011.  On that date, I blew my ACL.  First run of the day doing the Talon's Challenge at Beaver Creek.


My buddy and I rolled into the parking lot at Copper around 9.  We looked at the lift line.  It was at least 20 minutes, and getting longer.  As we are now both "more experienced" men, our first stop was, yep, the men's room.  Next stop was the season pass line, where we were able to "bolt on" to our season passes the Secret Pass.  Shush.  It's secret.  Well, ok, I'll let those of you willing to read this far in on the secret:  you can buy access to the Secret Pass line at the busiest lifts at Copper (American Eagle, American Flyer, Super Bee, Excellerator, and Timberline) for $99.  


Upgraded, we headed to the slopes.  With my new MX78's.  Which I thought had been adjusted to my BSL and DIN settings.  Back into the lodge we go.  After waiting for 5 minutes at the shop, we overheard that there was quite a number of jobs in front of us.  But there was a bench with a screwdriver attached...  Now, perhaps I shouldn't adjust my own bindings.  Especially given that it is the first day back from an ACL reconstruction.  But ski, or wait?  Yep, you know what I did.


Five minutes later, back to the lift.  Skis went on perfectly, and we headed up the secret line right to the front of the lift.  There was only one run open for the general public (Copperopolis was open for race training), but we managed to get 10 runs, about 15k vertical feet, in.  We did have lunch, and knocked off early.  The Ortho did tell me to take it easy at the start, right?


A good day.  I apologize for no pictures, but it would've been dangerous with the number of bodies flying around, at least a quarter of them racer folk mingles with pretty tentative intermediate skiers.  Isn't early season fun?


I'm headed back up tomorrow...



post #2 of 17

Great news Mike! 

For the beginning of your season and for the good healing of your knee! (not to mention the Secret Pass)


post #3 of 17

Now I am jealous drool.gif .  Glad your back!


post #4 of 17

Good for you Mike.  Glad you avoided collisions with the early season training racers..  Beware...our own GS winner from recent Solden WC comprtition, Ted "Shred" will be ripping about Copper Mtn.  Missed you cycling this season but hopeful to catch a run or two with you.

post #5 of 17

Were you on you Kastle 78's....I thought that you coming out of the secret pass line right in front of us...should have said hello but I was wrapped up talking to the kids!

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

Yep that was me, Dave.  Didn't recognize you.  Should've been paying more attention.  Did you get some turns in today as well?  And thanks for the good thoughts, Tricia, Jim, and Don.


Copper Part Deux.  Headed back up today with my buddy, his wife, and my laid-up buddy's wife.  Laid-up buddy decided that cycling wasn't enough of a challenge and trained to do an Olympic distance triathlon at the same time as training for the Bicycle Tour of Colorado.  He did his event at the end of August with a really decent finish (middle of the pack for a first triathlon, and an Olympic at that), and was so enamored with two a day training sessions that he kept it up and got a stress fracture.  Bummer.  No skiing until mid-December.  So his spouse didn't see a reason that that should result in no skiing for her.  So the four of us headed back up today.


Copper reported 2 inches overnight.  For as many folk as are there hammering the one run they have open, the conditions were really pretty good.  We spent a lot of time working on pointers for the women.  They had a great time, and their skiing improved markedly over the course of the day.  Most importantly, no one was injured.  And everyone had a great time.


I did not take my Ortho's instructions to heart.  He told me to take it easy the first couple of times, which I interpreted as the first run or two.  Today, I hit a small kicker and landed heavily on the knee that I had reconstructed.  It tweaked it a bit.  Then I ran the women through a bunch of pivot slip drills.  There was a bit of loose snow, both from the scrapping of the frozen man made as well as whatever was left from last night.  My knee is feeling it tonight.  A bit swollen.  I guess I deserve it.


Anyway, 16.5k vert today.  And next Sunday is demo days at Loveland, not that I'm in the market for any skis.  I have a full quiver with my Kastle MX 78 and MX 98, along with a Mantra and a Fisher WC GS ski.  The only thing I could possibly add is a full on powder ski, but we have so few times that we get to ski those conditions in Colorado that that makes little sense.  Of course, there are those days I've reserved in the cat up Jones Pass....


Keep 'em turning.



post #7 of 17

Wish I were there with you Mike!

(and Dawg!)



post #8 of 17

Sounds great Mike! I had an acl reconstruction (hamstring graft, age 18) in november 07, and had the same tweaking and swelling as you. My physical therapist gave me the go ahead to hammer it and not worry about it. The tweaking and swelling went away last year so hopefully yours will in a few years time as well. The only time I caused some damage to it was when I took a corner a little hard on my dirt bike and the front wheel slid out, dropping the 300lb bike right on my knee. Just stretched the ligament a little bit and some more pt brought it right back to normal. Good luck the rest of the year, hope your knee stays solid!

post #9 of 17

Thanks for the report Mike and good luck...I am taking things slower with my 2nd ACL recon and will have to live vicariously through you guys until later in the season.

post #10 of 17

Awesome Mike, Glad you are on  it, if you get a catch here and there I have some experience with fine tuning  @ the hip, tib and fib. I miss Colorado and Beaver Creek especially,, if this keeps up , which  imagine it will I will be there soon enough..GOOD to see someone is on em, you deserve em. secret line eh?

post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 

Might as well keep the thread going.  I skied Copper today, Sunday November 13.  My buddies all bailed on me.  First buddy is still laid up with a stress fracture.  Second buddy had familial obligations.  Buddy number three decided November on Cooper Island in the BVI was more attractive than early season skiing and work.  So, I got a lazy start, arrived at the hill at 10:15, and got to work.


This week, they opened Ptarmigan off of the Excelerator lift.  This is an intermediate run.  We had a system blow through yesterday (while I was at Loveland for Demo Days) with over 100 MPH winds clocked on top of Peak 1 and 9.  And another system was moving through today, so lots of wind up top.  There's always a bunch of talus rocks that work their way to the top of the snow on top.  I suspect it has lots to do with the thin cover, hard snow, and wind scouring, all of which are interrelated.  But once you pick your way through the top, there was a bit of wind load soft snow on the left side of the run.  I hit that a couple of times before deciding that the wind was unpleasant and the small rocks, while not that consequential, wouldn't do much for my pretty much brand new Kastle MX78's.  So, after a couple of top to bottom runs, I focused on the mid mountain.


One issue with Copper early season is that there really only is one run open.  Granted, you can link the one run at the top (Ptarmigan) with the run off the middle (Main Vein).  That makes a relatively long ~2,300 vertical foot run.  It still is only one run.  Main Vein is pretty wide, with a different pitches on the left versus right side.  So you can get a bit of variety skiing it.


Needless to say, the folk seem to think there will be powder skiing, at least according to the size of the crowd when I arrived and when I left.  Even though I got on the hill pretty late (10:30), there were a ton of people on the mountain.  Riding over Main Vein on the chair, it looked like the definition of Brownian motion.  Except when folk collided.  I'm not sure they collided, but given the sleds headed downhill and the carnage report I had from the patrol last week, I'd guess that some of those where collisions.  


Copper has also become the official speed training center for the US Ski Team and all of the other ski teams in residence.  As long as I've been skiing Copper since I returned to Colorado, Copper has been a site for many teams to train, including the US Ski Team, a few of the other national teams, and lots of club racers.  It makes for a potent mix on the hill especially when not much is open and there's a ton of folk around.  I still feel safer at Copper than Keystone, where it is just nuts.  It's not really the racers who worry me, it's the young guns who think the way down the hill is a figure 11 firmly planted on the tails of their skis.  I think their directional control is minimal.  And they often don't think about space.So you've just got to be very aware of what's around you.  That's good training as well.


A bit more on the Official Speed Training Center.  They've put in a full on downhill course, with A and B netting, from the top.  Today was supposedly the inaugural day (GS, not downhill).  This is a big deal.  They installed over 7 miles of B netting and had to fly the A towers and netting in from Italy.  Unfortunately, Steve Nyman, a member of the US Ski Team, was training at Copper on Wednesday (I presume on Copperopolis/Main Vein), crashed, and blew his Achilles tendon.  He's out for the season.  The speed course that opened goes from the top down Andy's Encore to Oh No and down Rosie's Run.  It's got enough pitch to it that it should get the speed guys up over 80 MPH.  But it also probably means that nothing off of the SuperBee lift will open to the public until early December after the World Cup at Beaver Creek.  So, we'll see how all of this goes.


Copper reported 3 inches over night.  It snowed all day long.  Looking at the snow stake, it looks like they got 2 inches since 4:30 this morning.  So what all those powder hounds thought they were gonna get, I don't know.  Too many people for much fresh.  Still, it was soft (in spots) and firm in others.  A good day.


I put in 20,500 vert before calling it a day.  I'm trying to take it easy on my recovery from the ACL.


One of these days I promise to take a few pictures.  It was too unpleasant to get my hands out today.



post #12 of 17

Thanks Mike- Copper is definitely better if you can get out during the week.  I have enjoyed watching the racers train on the lift rides up- gives you a great visual of good carving technique.  Sounds like they might have less terrain open to the public than in past years, which is unfortunate.

post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 

I don't think there is less terrain open.  It is only the second weekend.  When I was a kid, you were lucky if you got to ski at Thanksgiving, and that's still two weeks away.  Actually, Copper is skiing well, especially for how early it is. It would be nice to have more variety, but that's always the case early season, right?



post #14 of 17
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post

I don't think there is less terrain open.  It is only the second weekend.  When I was a kid, you were lucky if you got to ski at Thanksgiving, and that's still two weeks away.  Actually, Copper is skiing well, especially for how early it is. It would be nice to have more variety, but that's always the case early season, right?




Correct....even last year when we got ~3 feet opening weekend they still didn't open much till the weekend before Thanksgiving.  I think they had the same terrain open last year at this time but they did some rolling rope drops on the other runs off Excelerator to pack them down.  It kept snowing last year as well so once they opened Mine Dump and/or CD:L 20 and closed it again for a few days or week it reopened for good.  They didn't open Flyer any faster than it looks like they will this year.....


More snow would help a lotbiggrin.gif

post #15 of 17

Hey Habacomike,


Thanks for sharing your trip. I'm especially interested in how your new ACL is holding up. I had ACL surgery myself on June 24th which is 5 months ago today. I'm really recovering well and have been religious with my own rehab return to skiing program and my ortho gave me the okay to ski at xmas. I'm going to be based in Sand Point ID from Dec 23-January 4th and plan to ski as much as I can even if it is not quite how aggressively as I would normally. My ACL was a clean tear with nothing else damaged and I did a same leg patella autograph. I'm 32 years old.  


What all did they do with your knee surgery-wise?

How long ago had it been since your surgery?

After say 4 months post-op what kind of rehab were you doing?

Did the repaired leg get pretty tired easily?

Any other other advice and recommendations would be great as well!


post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 

I had mine repaired on March 12.  The week after my surgery, I was on the stationary bike.  I tried to train to ride the Bicycle Tour of Colorado, but it just wasn't possible to put the amount of miles in to be able to do it.  That being said, I was riding outside in the middle of April and by the 3rd week of May rode my first metric century of the year.  


My rehab has largely been focused on the bike.  There is no doubt that my leg was weaker than the good one, but my mileage built until I was riding around 200 miles a week in early July.  That wound up be a bit much, as my knee would swell.  I backed off a bit to around 170-180 miles a week, and everything was ok.  I decided to train to ride the Buffalo Classic century in early September in under 5 hours.  I worked on speed over long distances.  I was pretty sure I was not going to be able to make it, but the week before the ride, I had an excellent 95 mile ride.  I wound up riding nearly 101 miles in 4:55.  Pretty happy with that.


I then transitioned to hiking season.  My spouse and I usually head to Yellowstone and Grand Teton, and we did so this year as well.  Even though I had minimal time in hiking before our trip, we put about 80 miles in with a couple of days having close to 3,000 vertical feet of climbing.  The longest hike was about 14 miles.


The knee still swells now and then when I exercise it hard.  I've been skiing with a brace, although I've forgotten a twice.  No problems yet, although I did stupidly take a little kicker and my knee felt it.


I'd say I'm at 90%.  This season my bike mileage was down substantially -- I'm just over 2800 miles for the year outdoors.  I did ride indoors quite a bit, and am now primarily riding indoors.  The Orthopod told me it takes a year.  I don't feel limited, and have six days of skiing in, one with over 20,000 vertical feet.  So, no complaints.



post #17 of 17

Nice. Thanks for the update. It seems you were about as active as I have been and it sounds like you are coming along pretty well. I definitely will be conscious of things once I get out there.  


I also saw your 12/3 report. Good stuff! 

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