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copper mountain christmas!

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

We (family of 5,  3 expert and 2 intermediate skiiers) can only ski the most crowded week of the year - right after christmas.  We have been happy at Snowmass - great terrain for us, not too crowded - but the snow is iffy in December.  Steamboat last year was packed.  I am considering Copper Mtn.  What do you think of crowds there??

post #2 of 12

See this handy article written by Tony Crocker

 

http://50.87.144.177/~bestsnow/fam_ski.htm

 

And as far as crowds go 

 

Mt. Bachelor is your best bet in my opinion

post #3 of 12
Copper will be way more crowded than Snowmass, with no better chance for good snow. Last two years have been very thin in Colorado?
post #4 of 12

I skied every single day the week after Christmas at Copper last year and almost never stood in a line despite only about 50% of terrain being open...it was not crowded as long as you avoid the Flyer lift and the Eagle lift.  Christmas week is nowhere near the busies week of the year for actual skiing.  It will be busy inn the restaurants and the lodging but March and Feb are much busier on the slopes.

post #5 of 12
Quote:
It will be busy inn the restaurants and the lodging but March and Feb are much busier on the slopes.

Yes but on average Copper is only 70% open at Christmas. In 1/4 of seasons its less than half open. It was less than 30% open the last 2 Christmases.

 

Quote:
We (family of 5,  3 expert and 2 intermediate skiers) can only ski the most crowded week of the year

Why? Don't your kids have a spring break? See my article referenced 3 posts above.  Colorado is a speculative destination for Christmas (Steamboat being the conspicuous exception) but in general one of the very best destinations for spring breaks.

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

unfortunately, 3 kids in three different schools (college) so all different spring breaks.  This year we have to go Dec 30 - Jan 3.  Steamboat had decent snow last year - not great and it was packed with people.  Couldn't eat lunch on the mountain, lift lines Snowmass was "at capacity"  when we were there the the 2 years before that, but snow dicey - it was only 50% open, with almost no expert terrain open.  Even so, I am tempted to return to Snowmass for great slopeside lodging, little crowds, nice people and awesome mountain.  

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

thanks for the info - maybe we will look into Whistler - I have been there in the summer, but never to ski.  hard to get to, but that may be our best choice for early snow and a mountain with something for everyone.

post #8 of 12

College age kids, not as important to be slopeside IMHO as with young ones, plus the premium price you may for that at Christmas.  With 3 expert skiers in the group you should be looking at Salt Lake with a rental car, saving many $ over other places in lift tickets and particularly lodging.  If cost doesn't matter much you can stay up at Alta or Snowbird.  Do not be tempted to stay in Park City in early season with expert skiers.

 

Salt Lake is particularly attractive for efficient travel if you really only have Dec. 30 - Jan. 3.  You may chew up some of that time in travel getting to and from Whistler depending on where you live. 

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

yes - we have skiied utah before - deer valley.  now one of my kids snowboards too, so that is out.  I think alta is also skiier only?  Plus, I am not confident Alta and Snowbird will have as much intermediate for the 2 of us that ski blue.  We have skied telluride and that is about the top of our intermediate skill - of course it was great for the other three!

post #10 of 12

Alta is skier only, but Snowbird is so vast that your college age boarder should be happy there on any day you want to ski Alta.  Alta is quite good for intermediates; Snowbird you need to be on the upper end of the intermediate scale.  Remember in Salt Lake you also have Brighton/Solitude as options.  And if early snow is above average all of you should love Snowbasin.

post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post

Yes but on average Copper is only 70% open at Christmas. In 1/4 of seasons its less than half open. It was less than 30% open the last 2 Christmases.

 

Here's a positive take on Tony's data:  In 3/4 of seasons Copper is more than 50% open at Christmas.  This makes for fantastic skiing for beginners and intermediates.  

 

It's the advanced and expert runs that are really in question.  At Christmas there will usually be at least a few black runs open, sometimes many, and sometimes none (like the last two years).

 

The math is pretty simple.  Copper is 21% beginner, 25% intermediate, 36% advanced and 18% expert.  The beginner and intermediate runs open first since they don't need as much snow and those runs typically have snowmaking.  

 

Copper is 46% beginner/intermediate, so:

  • at 30% open (last two horrible years) there will be no black runs open.
  • at 50% open (3/4 of seasons) there will be a couple black runs open.
  • at 70% open (average season) there will be many black runs open, but still not many expert (double diamond) runs.

 

I think the same is pretty much true for all the Colorado resorts that have significant snowmaking and fall under the same central Colorado profile (Vail, Beaver Creek, Breck, Keystone, Winter Park and Snowmass come to mind).  They have all spent a ton of money on snowmaking to guarantee great Christmas skiing for beginners and intermediates.  Experts are left to the whims of mother nature.

post #12 of 12
Quote:
They have all spent a ton of money on snowmaking to guarantee great Christmas skiing for beginners and intermediates. 

I think this is a valid analysis for mid-December before the Christmas crunch.  During the holidays you have a bunch of people of all abilities who committed in advance, and if half the mountain is open, there will be twice as much skier density (with widely varied abilities and speeds) as normal, which most beginners do not like. In the last 2 years that increased density on even more restricted terrain led to degraded snow surfaces (boilerplate and obstacles) just as it does on the East Coast. 

 

If you want to ski in Colorado during the holiday week, I would recommend choosing a place not within easy drive distance of Denver to cut down the crowds.  Whether Copper is the exception to this rule by being the "odd man out" of the Vail empire I can't say from personal experience.  But Copper's "percent open" stats from early season (I have this data going back to 1988) are are on the low side even within Colorado.

Quote:
Experts are left to the whims of mother nature.

 

Since the OP's family includes 3 expert skiers, I question whether they should be looking at Colorado at all during Christmas week, particularly since they have already been to Steamboat (by far the most reliable early season destination resort in the state) and weren't that impressed.

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