or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › EpicSki Community › Trip Reports  › TR (*Pics*): Copper + Vail, March 18-22, 2006
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

TR (*Pics*): Copper + Vail, March 18-22, 2006

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Every year several of us old high school friends (the handful of us who got into snowsports) get together for a few days of guys-only skiing and snowboarding. Since two of us live in Denver, the gathering has always been in Summit County, and this third gathering was no exception.

Day 1: Warmup at Copper
Saturday morning found us loading up our gear in the car. We left my place in Lakewood pretty late, around 7:15am. Dreading the traffic, we were pleasantly surprised to find zero traffic on 70. The weather was gorgeous as we made our way west:

As we rolled into the Alpine lot, Copper looked inviting, with the Tenmile Range in the background:

There was lots of gear to sort through (I was the lone skier in the group):

I was absolutely shocked to find no crowds at Center Village at 9am. There were no lines at either American Eagle or American Flyer. A Copper Ambassador guessed that maybe it was because the 4-packs were blacked out. Whatever the reason, we were immensely glad. We never ran into a lift-line the whole day -- our longest wait was perhaps 30 seconds -- for a Saturday in March, that was unbelieveable. We made our way up the Eagle lift for a warmup run:

The groomer was in decent shape, with no icy spots. After one more warmup on Timberline, we took Sierra to the top of Jupiter Bowl:

The view at the top was spectacular:

My boarders friends usually rode blue groomers most of the time. They said they would be okay with steep terrain as long as it wasn't icy or too bumpy. So we tried Little Trees (farthest north, where the trees disappear) down -- it was a bit scraped off and a little bumpy at the top, but pretty soft in most:

We then did laps on Endeavor, Kaboom and thereabouts before lunch. The snow was an interesting mix of scraped off ice and soft spots. After lunch we decided to take it easy and did some laps the groomers off American Eagle. They were in decent shape with some icy spots (more numerous towards the base).

All in all, the first day was good -- everyone felt good, if a little tired (first day out for some), everyone seemed to be able to tackle the hard terrain (albeit a bit slowly in some cases).

post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 
Day 2: Vail -- powder day in the Back Bowls
We woke up to reports of 7" overnight at Vail. Since we were staying at Copper, the drive over was short, but with spectacular scenery:

We took the Eagle Bahn gondola up, raring to have a good at the delicious powder down below:

We headed over to Sun Up Bowl and hit Headwall. It was nice but somewhat crusty in places:

Two of my friends had never been to Vail, and they could not stop marvelling at the sheer immensity and gorgeous views on a bluebird day like this. We headed over to Genghis Khan -- it was a true test for our East Coast friends. The cornice at the top proved an obstacle, but after a while they all got the courage to drop in. The snow was soft in places, a little crusty in others, but not too bad.

After that we took it easy and skied Shangri-La glade off Chair 21. The snow was superb in the trees -- deep and soft:

It started getting cloudy around noon, and by the time we finished lunch at Two Elk Lodge, the snow was coming down hard. Shangri-La Glade was even better -- soft and deep everywhere:

After a few more laps we started heading back:

It was a truly great day -- the 7" of fresh snow was awesome. While it was a bit crusty in some spots, for the most part it was very soft everywhere. For all my east-coast friends, this was their first "powder" experience, and they loved it. And we hadn't even explored half of Vail!

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Day 3: Vail -- trees in Blue Sky Basin
Everyone wanted another full day at Vail, so we headed back. It was snowing pretty hard when we pulled in. We left the gondola and dropped into Game Creek Bowl for some warmup runs. Dealer's Choice was absolutely superb -- there was tons of snow! The snow report said 3", but it skied way more than that. We were up to the shins or higher in places. The bumps were soft fluffy pillows. For the first time, my friends enjoyed doing bumps:

We then made our way to Blue Sky Basin. On the way, we took Marmot Valley to get there -- it was really cool terrain with lots of dips, bumps, rollers, boulders, and trees. I was really afraid my friends would hate it, but they loved it. They used words like "phenomenal", "awesome", and "best run I've ever done" to describe it -- they were getting addicted to the off-piste!

Blue Sky Basin was unbelieveably good. Tons of snow everywhere. We did Big Rock Park, which was a big hit with everybody. Again, this was the first experience for all of them in the trees, so BRP was a good initiation:

Deeper in the trees I got almost knee-deep shots. We did several laps on BRP, doing as many jumps as we could find (again, a first for all). My friends started getting bolder and started following me through the tighter trees -- the grins on their faces were priceless! We had one spectacular fall -- 1MB Quicktime movie -- but he survived without any injuries.

After lunch at Belle's Camp, the sky cleared up. We hit Into the Wuides, straying skier's left into the trees. Again, just superb conditions. Knee-deep shots in the trees, and shin- to ankle-deep of the softest stuff everywhere else.

After a few more laps, ducking in and out of the trees and bumps, we headed back:

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Day 4: Copper -- Copper Bowl
On our last day we stayed at Copper in order to minimize the hassle of checking out and everything. Our goal was to hit Copper Bowl (which we missed the first day due to bad visiblity). Warmed up on Kaboom -- the snow was superbly soft (the top part had rocks all across though):

We rode up Rendezvous to Copper Bowl. The view from the top was just spectacular as usual:

We hit Matchless first -- it was not very good -- pretty icy all over with large bumps. It made for quite a hard ride for the boarders (I warned them about it though!). We then hit Six Shooter and Julie's Vision and things were much better -- soft and deep snow with no trace of ice underneath. We ripped lap after lap (video capture):

We had decided on a short day, so around noon we started on our way back. But not before hitting Union Bowl. The traverse was a killer for the snowboards, but we all made it to the top of Buzzard's Alley:

Union Bowl was simply superb as usual -- soft and deep everywhere:

We then made our way back to the bottom. One of my friends ducked into the trees the whole way down to Center Village. He was absolutely breathless with excitement about his awesome run. And this is from someone who had never done trees before.


It was a an awesome time for all of us. For me, the best part was seeing the exhilaration everybody got from venturing out of their comfort zones. Throughout the four days I could see each of them "get it"...the lure of the off-piste, the adventure that comes with leaving the groomed trails and going off into the woods. By the end, they all kept looking for the road less travelled.
post #5 of 10
Very nice trip report. Very cool pics, showing the drive into the mountains and then the PL is especially nice.
post #6 of 10
Damn that looks nice! Certainly better than the crap we'll be skiing this weekend here in the East.

Great shots all around!
post #7 of 10
Reminds me of my Vail day in Blue Sky for the whole day about 3 weeks ago. Except you had bluebird, we had to do it out of visual necessity.
post #8 of 10
Great pics as usual Faisal and glad everything went well. I hope Copper is that good 1st week of April and hope to see you out there.
post #9 of 10
It is all about the woods when you go out west. Nice TR!
post #10 of 10

Great pics and report as usual. BTW, Blue Ski Basin is certainly my favorite area to ski at Vail. It's great on most days, but on a powder day it's tough to beat, imo.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Trip Reports
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › EpicSki Community › Trip Reports  › TR (*Pics*): Copper + Vail, March 18-22, 2006