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copper mountain bowls

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Just curious how you guys felt about coppers bowls compared to vails or breckenridges. Such as more difficult or better or what ever information I might want to know. I ski blacks and blues at breck vail and keystone every year. I just wanted to compare. Gonna be at copper Mar 14-16
post #2 of 11
See http://media.intrawest.com/copper/do...i_BackSide.jpg

On a good pow day, Copper's Spaulding bowl is a hoot. There are some mammoth cornices (like Cornice Chute) and the run-out to the Resolution lift (the Cross Cut run) can be a high-speed blast. I've had a great time in the Spaulding Glades as well, but the trees are fairly tight.

The Sierra lift that serves the Sierra Bowl (which faces N) and Copper Bowl (facing S) usually opens late on pow days due to avi control but once it opens you have access to some really great, if not super long, terrain.

They run a (free!) snow-cat out of the bottom of Copper Bowl that gets you part way up Tucker Mountain for some really, really good steeps and glades. Prepare for a healthy 1hr hike though.

Oh, and don't pass up heading far west (to Far West and the Union Meadows); if there's even 4-5" of new pow it can be a ton of fun, although the run-out to Timberline can be a bore unless you want to work on drills or are goofing off with the kids).

I grew up in Vail; I remember entering the bowls before anyone else with my Dad who was in ski patrol. Nothing compares to Vail's back bowls.

And now with China Bowl and Blue Sky Basin...

But Copper has great terrain.
post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckindel
See http://media.intrawest.com/copper/do...i_BackSide.jpg

On a good pow day, Copper's Spaulding bowl is a hoot. There are some mammoth cornices (like Cornice Chute) and the run-out to the Resolution lift (the Cross Cut run) can be a high-speed blast. I've had a great time in the Spaulding Glades as well, but the trees are fairly tight.

The Sierra lift that serves the Sierra Bowl (which faces N) and Copper Bowl (facing S) usually opens late on pow days due to avi control but once it opens you have access to some really great, if not super long, terrain.

They run a (free!) snow-cat out of the bottom of Copper Bowl that gets you part way up Tucker Mountain for some really, really good steeps and glades. Prepare for a healthy 1hr hike though.

Oh, and don't pass up heading far west (to Far West and the Union Meadows); if there's even 4-5" of new pow it can be a ton of fun, although the run-out to Timberline can be a bore unless you want to work on drills or are goofing off with the kids).

I grew up in Vail; I remember entering the bowls before anyone else with my Dad who was in ski patrol. Nothing compares to Vail's back bowls.

And now with China Bowl and Blue Sky Basin...

But Copper has great terrain.
I find a some inconsistences in this review. I do agree that Spaulding Bowl does offer some good chutes and steeps to ski. Spaulding Glades is really fun to do a few laps on, only problem is that you have to ski down to Resolution lift then take Storm King back up to be able to ski it again. Sierra lift serves Union Peak, but will not take you to the top. You can hike up from the top of Sierra, which is about 5-10 minutes, or you can ski down the backside and take Mountain Chief to the top of Union Peak. Very nice run that usually has good powder, or at least crud. The snowcat that takes you up to Tucker is DEFINATELY worth it, at least once. But, once you've done it once you will want to do it again. It does not take an hour to hike, not even close. From where they drop you off, you can hike all the way over to patrol hut in about 25 minutes; 30-40 minutes if you go slow or stop to take breaks. I have spent all day skiing Tucker before and had to hike it all the way from Mountain Chief. I could hike and ski back down in 55 minutes. Tucker is definately worth checking out though. Union Meadows is still a hidden secret, not sure why though. Great snow, hardly any tracks through there. If you want to be bold, take Mountain Chief up and hike the ridge line over as far over as you want and then duck the rope and you have an absolutely amazing run down into Union Meadows. Did that about a month ago and I swear my tracks were the only ones to touch that part of the mountain all year. Nice thigh deep pow.

As far as the bowls in Vail, they are huge, but not very steep. You can find some steeper stuff in Blue Sky Basin. Breck's bowls have seemed to be a little more wind blown than other bowls in the area, but still good.
post #4 of 11
Nice compliment to my post; I don't disagree with anything you say. It's also worth pointing out that just skiing under Sierra (directly under the chair) can be great. I just love the steep pitch right under the chair.
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckindel
Nice compliment to my post; I don't disagree with anything you say. It's also worth pointing out that just skiing under Sierra (directly under the chair) can be great. I just love the steep pitch right under the chair.
Yea, I know exactly what you're talking about. Just to right, below one of the towers there is a small grouping a trees and then a nice boulder(mostly covered in snow) and and you can get some serious air off that thing just because once you're in the air the ground just drops out from underneath you. Only problem is, if you bite it you're right under the lift and everyone yells and screams at you.
post #6 of 11
Having just skied both Vail and Copper last week..here are my thoughts...the key word is exposure! On a Powder Day-it's a pick 'em-maybe even give the edge to Vail for Shear immensity (prolonging chances for late day freshies).

But more often than not, Copper's Bowls will have better snow than Vail's due to exposure. Vail's bowl's face primarily south-ergo they get baked (which is why they have such sparse trees below treeline-summer time sun kills 'em)-A few days after powder (especially with some sun) you'll be slogging through cookies, crud and generally unpleasant-hard-work snow (and it's a long way down).

Whereas Copper has bowls facing in just about every direction -the results is that even after a few sunny days, you can find better (colder) snow in more areas of Copper's bowls than at Vail's (note-I'm not including Blue Sky Basin Here which, like many of Copper's bowl's benefits from limited southerly exposure).

A really savvy alpine friend taught me some time ago how to read sun exposure on a big mountain (as an easterner it's not a skill we need to develop for all-mountain enjoyment-but over the last ten ears of Western ski adventures it has been indispensible!).

Visually- when you first come over the crest at Vail and get a look at those massive bowls for the first time-well, it's pretty stunning-Copper's goods get more impressive once you're inside of them.

As for Challenge-I'm not a Vail afficianado-but the steepest open bowl I skied there was the Cornice line off Lover's Leap on Blue Sky Basin-good run, but not killer steep. Copper's bowls felt a little steeper (and had more rock formations to liven up the ride)-but that isn't a declarative fact-just an impression.

Truthfully-while they are both wonderful places-I really prefer Copper-bowls, regular runs, trees, services, mountain feel-even the resort-just more my kind of mountain. But you can't knock the skiing at Vail either.
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtq_99
Yea, I know exactly what you're talking about. Just to right, below one of the towers there is a small grouping a trees and then a nice boulder(mostly covered in snow) and and you can get some serious air off that thing just because once you're in the air the ground just drops out from underneath you. Only problem is, if you bite it you're right under the lift and everyone yells and screams at you.
But they also yell and scream at you if you *don't* bite it; which for some is awfully nice.

Hmmm... maybe time to start a new thread: Who's a show off and who could care less if others are watching?
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckindel
But they also yell and scream at you if you *don't* bite it; which for some is awfully nice.

Hmmm... maybe time to start a new thread: Who's a show off and who could care less if others are watching?
That's true. I only tried a couple times because I saw a patroller come flying down that section and just launched off that boulder. Flew almost all the way to the bottom where it levels out. I was in Awww for a good minute. It was a plus there was about 6 inches of fresh to help cushion the landing. There's a nice 6-8 footer in Union Meadows if you're lucky enough to find it. Always has a nice landing because it's just below a ridge so there is a lot of wind drifted snow.
post #9 of 11
These are a couple of the best reviews that I have ever read at epicski!

I did a two day clinic this season at both places and spent most of the time on the backside at Vail and all over Copper.

I guess my only $00.02 is that I thought I knew Copper fairly well. I didn't. If you can ski it with someone who truely knows the place it has a few hidden gems.

I think the most salient point was made when someone commented on the terrain at Copper facing multiple directions. My opinion is that you can always find great snow at Copper with an experienced guide.

One last note. We hiked Tucker wihout utilizing the cat due to a long line. That is a tough trip.
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty Guy
.

One last note. We hiked Tucker wihout utilizing the cat due to a long line. That is a tough trip.
That sounds like carrying your own staff bag at Augusta in July (yes, I know it isn't open then).

You would have loved the test after the 3 day rules clinic in Denver-talk about arcane BS.
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty Guy
These are a couple of the best reviews that I have ever read at epicski!

I did a two day clinic this season at both places and spent most of the time on the backside at Vail and all over Copper.

I guess my only $00.02 is that I thought I knew Copper fairly well. I didn't. If you can ski it with someone who truely knows the place it has a few hidden gems.

I think the most salient point was made when someone commented on the terrain at Copper facing multiple directions. My opinion is that you can always find great snow at Copper with an experienced guide.

One last note. We hiked Tucker wihout utilizing the cat due to a long line. That is a tough trip.
I agree Copper has a lot more to offer than the majority knows. As for Tucker, a couple years back I lucked out and was out on a trip when they opened Tucker for the first time that season, but they weren't running the cat yet. So, I hiked it. Yes, it kinda sucked, but after the first time I knew how to pace myself. IMO, it was worth every step.

I wish they would open up more terrain. I think the BLM has allotted them some more area around Jacque Peak. That would awesome to open some of that peak up. I have watched a guy come down the southeast face before, and then earlier this year patrol was up there doing avalanche training or something, but you could tell it was really deep.
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