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Copper's back bowls -- how hard?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
So with this storm that's passing through CO, looks like Copper's back bowls are/will be open. My question is, how hard are they?

I am (I think!) a solid intermediate. I am comfortable making parallel carved turns with good edging and some angulation on all blue and blue-black terrain at Loveland, Winter Park/Mary Jane, Copper, Keystone, A-Basin, Breck. I can make long or short-radius turns. Steep terrain (however steep you can get on blue-blacks!) doesn't bother me much. Ungroomed trails with small moguls are fine. My weakness are big bumps and deep powder (since I just started skiing last season, I haven't had much practice in powder, and it really throws off my balance).

So given my abilities, are the back bowls at Copper completely out of my league? Or are there certain areas/trails that I would probably be okay on? I'll be at Copper on Monday with some more advanced friends, and when they want to hit the backside, I want to know if/where I should go.

Any recommendations appreciated. Anyone else heading to Copper on Monday want to make some turns?

Thanks.
post #2 of 23
The bowls are relatively wide so you can traverse-turn-traverse and make it safely to the bottom. BUT, the ONLY way of learning how to ski powder is skiing it. If it is thigh deep don't go. Try someplace else. If it is boot/knee deep get your powder straps (so you find your skis if you fall) and have a great time. Just don't go alone. After a good dump a powder lesson is a VERY good investment.
remember speed is you friend when skiing powder and the turn are more subtle and you have to be patient (read the powder threads)
Enjoy!
post #3 of 23
There are groomed sections in some of the bowls, a cat track that meanders down to one of the lifts. Other than that, I had my kids back there when they were in single digets. MyWife has been in all the bowls, although unhappy about it. Surived nicely. In other words, other than some gnarly rock areas, the most you will have to contend with is powder, moguls, trees, rocks and the length of the lift lines on a powder day. The views of the high peaks that surround Copper are magnificent from the back side. What Colorado is all about.
post #4 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by nando
The bowls are relatively wide so you can traverse-turn-traverse and make it safely to the bottom. BUT, the ONLY way of learning how to ski powder is skiing it. If it is thigh deep don't go. Try someplace else. If it is boot/knee deep get your powder straps (so you find your skis if you fall) and have a great time. Just don't go alone. After a good dump a powder lesson is a VERY good investment.
remember speed is you friend when skiing powder and the turn are more subtle and you have to be patient (read the powder threads)
Enjoy!

Yes, by all means if it's thigh deep go somewhere else, so I can have all the fresh tracks.
post #5 of 23
I agree with the lesson idea. Sounds like you and I are more or less at the same level when it comes to powder. I'm requesting a powder focus in my lesson this Sunday at Copper. Come join us?
post #6 of 23
The 24" of snow this week has definitely helped, the system moving through right now seems good too. A quick call to CAIC says: 1-3" overnight and Sunday 2-4". This storm system is favoring Vail Pass, so Copper might get hit with the most snow in Summit Co. (Interestingly, the avy danger is rated as "Considerable" and only getting worse with the high winds.) So yeah, we're gonna have fresh snow. Congratulations.

Well, like everything else, just work your way up to it. There's an easy way to ski back into Copper Bowl - follow "Otto Bahn". It'll let you at least get back down in there to check out the terrain. If you want to try something easier first, I'd ski Kaboom off the Sierra lift. If you don't like that, you probably won't like the bowls.

Someone said the bowls get groomed - they don't. Only the cat track down to Mtn Chief (Otto Bahn), and occasionally something over by Reso lift.

Was out for a bit today.... it was amazing.
post #7 of 23
Just got back a couple days ago. Patrol is was doing guided skiing off Union Peak and over to Schaefer's run on the West Ridge of Copper Bowl. All the fresh snow made for good powder turns, but it hid a lot of rocks right under the surface, so you had to watch out. Union Peak had the best snow, IMO. Tucker Mountain was looking mighty tasty. The 2 and 3 chutes easily have enough to ski those. Probably won't happen until there's more snow on the ridge, though.

If want something that will compare to the Bowls then try Union Meadows. Take the Mtn Chief chair up so you are the highest you can be on Union Peak and then traverse as far over as you can. If you stay up high enough you will be abover treeline for about 500ft then hit glades, but really good snow. I did not see many tracks at all in this area.
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisamarie
I agree with the lesson idea. Sounds like you and I are more or less at the same level when it comes to powder. I'm requesting a powder focus in my lesson this Sunday at Copper. Come join us?
Wish I could -- but I can't. Maybe some other time.

Was out at Mary Jane today -- it was great. Looking to hit Copper on Monday after a long time.
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtq_99
If want something that will compare to the Bowls then try Union Meadows. Take the Mtn Chief chair up so you are the highest you can be on Union Peak and then traverse as far over as you can. If you stay up high enough you will be abover treeline for about 500ft then hit glades, but really good snow. I did not see many tracks at all in this area.
(shh, don't tell anyone about Union Meadows!)

I skied Orange Chutes, Red Chutes, and part of Green today and I can't really recommend that area to someone not comfortable with powder. For one, there's really tight trees on some odd pitches that you can get into trouble with if you don't know where to go. If by chance you should find the bowl, it's REALLY sketchy. Maybe some snow will blow in there with the winds, or maybe the winds will blow the snow out of there. It's hard to say, and it's really easy to get yourself into a sticky situation. My way out? Scrape, jump turn, point it. Not too graceful, but I can sleep better knowing I uncovered some rocks for the people behind me.

(Also, it's easier to do laps in Union Meadows if you ski off Sierra rather than Mtn Chief.)

I think a lot of the bowl skiing is easier. So, try out Kaboom in Jupiter Bowl, hopefully it won't be too bumped out. Off the backside of Sierra you can find some great stuff too - notably Far West and Golddigger. Alicante in Copper Bowl is about as easy as the bowls get, might be worth jumping into. If you like those, try skiing Six Shooter and Julie's Vision in Copper Bowl. In Spaulding Bowl, head over to Marvin Gardens for the easiest skiing. Just be sure to get some speed up at the bottom so you can make the traverse out.

Oh, here's a good tip if you wanna hit a good powder stash.. coming off Union Meadows you'd normally hit Soliloquoy and follow its bend to the right. Instead, when you pop out onto Soliloquoy keep your speed up and go straight ahead, bypassing the turn off. You'll go quite a ways, then see a turn to the right (this is actually a road in the summertime), take it and go till you see the sign for "Clearcut". As soon as you see that, stay high and traverse as far as you can go to the left. Powder galore.. it's clearly visible from the t-rex lift, but not how to get there. After you figure out where the road cuts off, turn off Soliloquoy into the trees before the cut off and meet the road further down - those trees are excellent skiing.
post #10 of 23
I took class with Mike_M today, and we ended up skiing in Jupitor Bowl. It was challenging but doable with the right skills. If you can, see if you can book a half day group lesson with him when you go to Copper tomorrow. If anyone can get you down that stuff, he can!
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisamarie
I took clas with Mike_M today, and we ended up skiing in Jupitor Bowl. It was challenging but doable with the right skills. If you can, see if you can book a half day group lesson with him when you go to Copper tomorrow. If anyone can get you down that stuff, he can!
Nice.. we were probably skiing it at the same time! I was doing laps on Sierra for a while. (Then I ducked back over to Orange Chutes for some amazing, untracked powder.) Marvelous day out there and it seems like it's only going to get better this week.
post #12 of 23
Definitley ego snow today! Skiing the bowls was good for the students' ego. We were so full of ourselves afterwards, we allowed Mike to talk us into skiing the half pipe as a finale!
post #13 of 23
[quote=nando]The bowls are relatively wide so you can traverse-turn-traverse and make it safely to the bottom.


People that do that to powder are hooted off the hill in Utah. Or called snowboarders. Ski school! You won't regret it.
post #14 of 23
FYI. I got this a few days ago. Good deal if you have Frontier FF miles. Or Amex Rewards points (which you can transfer to Frontier).

Redeem 2,500 miles for a Ski pass
at Winter Park or Copper Mountain

Hurry!
Passes are limited and available only through January 31, 2005.
To redeem your miles contact EarlyReturns:

1-866-263-2759
or
EarlyReturns@flyfrontier.com

Pass Details
Each ski pass is valid for one day only on or before 4/17/2005 and may be used at either Winter Park or Copper Mountain Ski Resort. No blackout or restricted dates before the expiration date. Allow up to 14 days for delivery of ski passes. Limit four ski passes per EarlyReturns member. Tickets distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. There are a limited number of passes available. Offer expires January 31, 2005, 11:59:59 p.m.
post #15 of 23
february 2004


post #16 of 23
I like riding the mtn chief on a sunny day cuz the sky gets deep cobalt and the snow white white and the views are beautiful and calming.
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by astrochimp
I like riding the mtn chief on a sunny day cuz the sky gets deep cobalt and the snow white white and the views are beautiful and calming.
Very true.

The mountain is looking good right now. If the wind would just ease up a bit there would be total coverage on the ridges. Union Meadows is fantastic right now. From the top of Mtn Chief I dropped down just low enough to kinda go under the ropes(but they opened up a couple hundred feet below), and traversed all the way over to the boundary marker. Had to take off my skis once and hike over some tallus that was still showing from high winds. But, once I got over there is was great! Got in some great turns, face shots on a few. Ate it once when, what I thought was a snow drift making a bump, turned out to be the top of a tree barely covered by all the new snow. Made 3 laps and never saw anyone else.

I think a good majority of Copper Bowl will be opening up next week, after patrol does control work. Tucker shouldn't be too far away from being open(and hopefully cat trips up).
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtq_99
The mountain is looking good right now. If the wind would just ease up a bit there would be total coverage on the ridges. Union Meadows is fantastic right now.
Yep.. it was definitely sick today. We you able to count how many tracks you saw? I suspect you might have been the only one over there today. I found a great spot: from the top of Blue Chutes, take a hard left and traverse over till you see it open. Ski that small gully a short ways and pop up left on a ridge. The entire open face below has been untracked for at least the past 2 days. At the bottom of that I saw only a few tracks coming from the area you were in.

I'm thinking I'll hit Snowmass on Thursday. Anyone wanna go?
post #19 of 23
So faisasy, did you go? How was it? Tell!
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 

Awesome day

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisamarie
So faisasy, did you go? How was it? Tell!
Well, it was a blast! Even though we didn't make it to the back bowls or Mike_m's tour of the mountain.

It is amazing how empty and fun Copper can be on a weekday. We never had to wait for a lift (granted we only took Super Bee, Timberline, and Sierra). After warming up under the Timberline lift (some great air-time on Jacque's Pique) we went up on Sierra -- found some untracked stuff on Timber Ridge -- not too deep, but enough to practice some powder turns. The wind was howling up there though.

We finally made our way over to the Super Bee and made laps off there. Did lots of bump runs -- it wasn't pretty, but I think I'm at the point where I don't freeze up atop a bump run and am confident that I can get down it without hurting myself. And then I SKIED my first black (albeit groomed) -- Rosi's Run. It was a lot easier than I had expected -- no harder than the blue-blacks at Parsenn Bowl at MJ -- even Spillway at Loveland used to scare me more. I keep thinking about how to ski it even better next time!

The snow was coming down pretty much the whole time. The wind was bad only at the top of the mountain. We never really had to slow down for crowds on any of the runs (except when we went onto Bouncer by mistake).

Can't wait to go again -- Ore Deal looked like a black mogul run that was maybe within my ability. I keep dreaming about it, and how I'd tackle it -- I think I need to find a way to get off work this Friday!
post #21 of 23
Way to go, Faisasy! You definitely need to join us in class some Sunday! Although, I have a feeling you might be better than we are!:
post #22 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisamarie
Way to go, Faisasy! You definitely need to join us in class some Sunday! Although, I have a feeling you might be better than we are!:
Can't do a lesson this Sunday. But I am looking to hook up with Mike_m for an all-day lesson this Saturday to focus on bumps, and maybe powder.

If you'll be at Copper next weekend (Jan. 22-23), maybe we should try to meet for some runs.
post #23 of 23
A bunch of us will be at the Academy next week, so we'll miss you. You're going to have a great lesson with Mike. Be prepared to do things you thought were impossible.
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