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Absolute beginners - 4yr old + wife, Copper

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi, we are coming to Copper from 02/18 - 02/26 from Australia. It is our first time in the US and my 4yr old son and wife will get their first experience on skis. I have been on skis since the age of 5 and later snowboards in Germany and the Alps - did not see snow for the past 8 years though. I was a pretty good skier and snowboarder and did some instructor courses (basic ones). I have a few questions:

1. Altitude sickness - any recipes how to avoid it or lessen the effect? We also have an 18mth old boy.

2. Best beginner lessons for 4yr old and wife with relatively fast progress at Copper.

3. My last pair of skis were some Erbacher 207cm GS racing skis. I have not skied on the newer style parabolic skis. Which type of skis should I go for? I don't like the idea of having 160cm skis that start to flutter when I go a little faster... I am 6'1" and weigh 210lbs.

4. I also don't have any gear - I am going to rent everything. Where is the best place and do they have good boots or is it advisable to buy my own while I am there? Maybe some demo gear?

5. How busy it it during that time?

Thanx for your help guys - really looking forward to skiing Copper!
post #2 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by sveniac View Post
Hi, we are coming to Copper from 02/18 - 02/26 from Australia. It is our first time in the US and my 4yr old son and wife will get their first experience on skis. I have been on skis since the age of 5 and later snowboards in Germany and the Alps - did not see snow for the past 8 years though. I was a pretty good skier and snowboarder and did some instructor courses (basic ones). I have a few questions:

1. Altitude sickness - any recipes how to avoid it or lessen the effect? We also have an 18mth old boy.

2. Best beginner lessons for 4yr old and wife with relatively fast progress at Copper.

3. My last pair of skis were some Erbacher 207cm GS racing skis. I have not skied on the newer style parabolic skis. Which type of skis should I go for? I don't like the idea of having 160cm skis that start to flutter when I go a little faster... I am 6'1" and weigh 210lbs.

4. I also don't have any gear - I am going to rent everything. Where is the best place and do they have good boots or is it advisable to buy my own while I am there? Maybe some demo gear?

5. How busy it it during that time?

Thanx for your help guys - really looking forward to skiing Copper!
1. Stay well hydrated on the plane ride over. It is very dry here and it's easy to get dehydrated. Buy some Pepto-Bismol when the plane lands and take some. It tends to prevent intestinal problems that you will unavoidably experience due to the altitude change - not the water.

2. I'll let a Copper instructor chime in on this. I haven't done any training over there yet.

3. I'll let the skiers here fill you in. I'm now mainly a snowboarder.

4. Again, let the experts here fill you in. You might want to buy some boots here if you are going to be doing this more. There are some outstanding bootfitters in this state.

5. February is not extraordinarly busy. However, the snow is best in Feb. so it's the prime high ski season and the rates everywhere will reflect this. $$$$

6. You'll have fun at Copper.
post #3 of 13
I'm out in California, so can't give you any advice on Copper specifally.

But, I returned to skiing last year after being away for about 9 years. It was also my wife and then 6 year old daughter's first time to ski. We skied at 7,300' with the top at 8,000' and we skied about every 2-3 weeks from Jan to May. Never had any altitude problems.

I don't know about the Pepto-Bismal suggestion. Good stuff, but I'd be concerned about it's properties to make you constipated. I don't know if you're like me, but there's nothing like a trip to throw off the morning "schedule"....if you know what I mean. The last thing I want is something that's going to lock me up even more.

Regarding the skies, if you skied long before and were good on them, you'll probably like a longer ski now, even though the "right" size for you might only be a 175. I'm old school and I just can't get into the look or feel of short skies. I'm 5-3/135lbs and am skiing Atomic Metron M:EX's at 175. The correct size for me in that ski is probably only a 155-160. If you liked to ski agressive before, rent some demos and see what you think. I think you'll be impressed. I found myself just working the pairs of generic Rossi rentals to the point that they were chattering and worthless. I had a lot more fun on the demo stuff and this year, bought the atomics.

As for gear, go out of your way to keep the wife and son's warm and toasty. Buy some of those little thin boot and mitten warmer packs and use 'em! If the wife and kids are happy, you'll do this again forever. If they aren't, the vacation is going to be hell, you won't get any skiing in, and it'll be the last time out. One piece snow suits are super warm and there's no snow getting down anyone's back or pants. Lycra face masks and gold tint googles keep everyone's head, face and neck comfy all day and prevent sunburn. Smooth long johns also go a long, long way in comfort warmth and are typically all you need underneath.

Have a great time!!
post #4 of 13
The base of Copper is 2926m (9712 ft) with the highest peak at 3767m (12,313 ft) . When you come from sea level to high altitude most people tend to get very bad gas and diarrhea. Pepto-Bismol is the best stuff my relatives have found to prevent frequent unplanned trips to the restroom when they are in the mountains. Through trial and error over the years it has kept them "regular" in the Rockies. Just a suggestion to keep a bottle handy.

Overall, just keep it fun for everyone and stay warm.
post #5 of 13
Now that is some serious altitude.
post #6 of 13

You'll enjoy Copper

1. Altitude sickness- Heed aforementioned recommendations. Water is key. Pepto is a good safety-net. One other suggestion is to stay away from caffeine and booze for the first few hours.

2. Copper has a great program. Goto Coppercolorado.com for more info. The entire west side of the mountain is green terrain & is perfect for beginners.

3. Let the folks where you rent suggest some skis suitable for your ability level. Length will depend heavily on the types of terrain you'll ski and the sidecut/lack thereof of the skis you rent.

4. If you plan on skiing fairly regularly again, I'd suggest buying some boots. Buy them new, not demo gear. If you're buying used, you might as well just rent and save the dough. There is a Surefoot right at the base of Copper. Expensive, but I've been extremely happy with mine & it's been a life-saver for my wife, who has to have her boots adjusted damn near every time she skis.:

5. The weekends are ALWAYS crowded in Summit County. ALWAYS. Plan on long lift lines at the the 2 main base quads. If you want to escape the crowds on the weekend , a short drive (30-45mins) to Beaver Creek might be a welcome change of scenery for you. Otherwise, plan on long lift lines.
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by sveniac View Post
1. Altitude sickness - any recipes how to avoid it or lessen the effect? We also have an 18mth old boy.
Water, water, water and no booze for the first day and don't try to do too much too fast the first day either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sveniac View Post
2. Best beginner lessons for 4yr old and wife with relatively fast progress at Copper.
Jane loved the Copper Snowschool over in Union Creek. We put her in for a day, skied the next with her (Kokomo lift to Lumberjack lift and did laps on Lumberjack all morning Timberline Express lift to lap Soliloquoy all afternoon) and put her back in school again on the third day in a row during our Copper vacation last year and it was fantastic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sveniac View Post
5. How busy it it during that time?
It'll be great.
post #8 of 13

Copper is a great mountain!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sveniac View Post
Hi, we are coming to Copper from 02/18 - 02/26 from Australia. It is our first time in the US and my 4yr old son and wife will get their first experience on skis. I have been on skis since the age of 5 and later snowboards in Germany and the Alps - did not see snow for the past 8 years though. I was a pretty good skier and snowboarder and did some instructor courses (basic ones). I have a few questions:

1. Altitude sickness - any recipes how to avoid it or lessen the effect? We also have an 18mth old boy.

2. Best beginner lessons for 4yr old and wife with relatively fast progress at Copper.

3. My last pair of skis were some Erbacher 207cm GS racing skis. I have not skied on the newer style parabolic skis. Which type of skis should I go for? I don't like the idea of having 160cm skis that start to flutter when I go a little faster... I am 6'1" and weigh 210lbs.

4. I also don't have any gear - I am going to rent everything. Where is the best place and do they have good boots or is it advisable to buy my own while I am there? Maybe some demo gear?

5. How busy it it during that time?

Thanx for your help guys - really looking forward to skiing Copper!
Copper is a great mountain well suited to all levels and you should have a great time with a few simple precautions.

Altitude sickness. The village is very high at 9600 ft and unless you are really fit or live at altitude you could be susceptible to a level of altitude sickness. I have been twice to Summit County/Copper and the first time we flew direct from Oz and I suffered significantly. The next time we staged our trip with some acclimatisation and lower (6000-7000ft ) altitudes and had less of a problem. Drink lots of water, and avoid alcohol at least initially. Ginko Boloba seems to work. Do a search for altitude sickness on this site. David Polaner, a doctor at UC and a regular poster here has written the definitive article on AMS but I can't copy the URL into this thread.

Copper has a great ski school with any number of excellent instructors. in addition to your wife and 4 yr old you could find a lesson helpful in transitioning to shaped skis. Ask for Tom Burch if you want an excellent private lesson.

In regard to equipent the ski shop in the village is good. Can't remember the name but it is neare the bus stop and the Chinese restaurant. I'd reccomend buying boots as you are there long enough to get them fitting properly. In regard to skis take their advice but you shouldn't need anything longer than 170cm. They shouldn't be squirrely with proper technique-that's what the lesson is for right?

As for crowds you should be fine except for President's Day weekend which I believe falls during your stay when it could be crowded but if you have skied in Europe then you will find US crowds to be much more orderly and polite.

Have a great time.
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by gerathlete 1 View Post
Altitude sickness. The village is very high at 9600 ft and unless you are really fit or live at altitude you could be susceptible to a level of altitude sickness.
The "unless you are really fit" part of the above quote is a bit of a myth. The only thing that is a good predictor of whether someone will get altitude sickness is whether they've had it in the past. Another risk factor for altitude sickness is the speed of ascent and maximum altitude attained. The faster and the higher one goes, the higher the likelihood of getting altitude sickness. There are many really fit people who get altitude sickness especially when ascending from sea level to 9000-10,000 ft (~2700-3000 meters).

The best advice to avoid altitude sickness has already been posted. Try to spend a night or two at a lower altitude, say in Denver (5280 ft or about 1600 meters). Drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol and avoid strenuous activity especially for the 1st day or so. A prescription medication called Diamox (acetazolamide is the generic name) is FDA approved for prevention of altitude sickness and may prevent it if taken as recommended by your physician. Have a great trip.
post #10 of 13
1) Take it easy the first few days, build yourself up.

3) Rent your skis from a base mountain shop at copper. All week long you should be able to exchange your skis and boots if necessary to get the proper feel for your equipment.

4) Christy sports is a good shop at the base of the Super Bee I think. Again, the ability to change up and down sizes. They may even have a demo program for the week that allows you to swap every day if necessary.

5) I was up mid-week this week at Copper and the lines were short. Last Feb, I was up on the weekend and it was packed for lines. My friend, skis copper regularly and recommended the mountain tour on a crowded day. He said that he was able to ski around the lines in a formed group hosted by Copper.

Have fun!!

Jim
post #11 of 13
Do you know where you are staying yet?

someone here mentioned Coppercolorado.com you can make all your reservations in advance and deal with fewer lines. There is also a phone number there to make your advanced reservations. Kids lessons are wonderful, but get yourself all arranged either the night before or early in the morning.

FYI there is a daycare for your 18month old if needed, pricey but fantastic background checked (international) staff.

Regarding rentals, I would echo what has already been said. Base area locations are great and you can also pre-reserve. there is also a free gear check located in center village where you can leave skis overnight (space limited though).

Lastly, someone mentioned Surefoot for boots. I have to admit they are fantastic. I invested heavily in boots. The Surefoots are incredible.

And yes, I do work at Copper!
post #12 of 13
Have your children drink plenty of water before the trip and during. My daughter drank a ton while we were in Utah last week. Also, bring some Nasal saline spray for the kids. It was so dry my daughter got two nose bleeds when we came in from skiing but when we started using the saline, she was fine and didn't have them anymore. If they get motion sick, I would give them Children's Dramamine for the plane ride..in case of turbulence.
post #13 of 13
This is lots of good stuff. I concur with Scrambledawg on everything. Skis change often and can always be rented. Boots are unique and a shop like Surefoot will work with you after every ski day if needed to adjust your boots perfectly- so I'd say buy them on the trip. Rental gear is usually fine for never evers but again, get the newest, most comfortable boots available even if it costs more.
Drink lots.
Oh- and one of the symptoms of altitude sickness is impaired thinking, and the first to go is the ability to realize that your thinking is impaired. So if you're losing keys and cameras and forgetting things.. drink more water...

Have a blast! The new skis are a snap.
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