Copper Mountain opens with 60 acres, three lifts |

Copper Mountain opens with 60 acres, three lifts

Summit Daily News
Copper Mountain, CO Colorado
Special to the Vail Daily/Copper Mountain ResortFirst-day skiers at Copper Mountain broke out some sweet neon ski gear for the day.

SUMMIT COUNTY – Sometimes the days just fall into place. At least that’s the way it was for Dr. John Smedley, a Denver native who made it up to Copper Mountain for the first day of skiing at the resort. He celebrated the start of the season and his 85th birthday all on the same day.

“I should be better at this after 65 years,” Smedley said as he pulled down the safety bar on Copper’s American Eagle chair and recalled how he started skiing way back in the day when Berthoud Pass was one of only a handful of Colorado areas with chair lifts.

Now, Smedley mostly skis at Copper, often with his friend, Brien Foster. The pair first skied together when they were in high school and still head up to the mountains whenever they can.

Foster, sitting on the same chair, is also a Copper loyalist. Friday, he brought Sam, his 16-year-old son, along for opening day. The high school sophomore is straight-A student, so his dad didn’t have a problem letting him play hooky to enjoy top-to-bottom skiing and the balmy blue skies at Copper.

“It’s such a friendly place,” Smedley said.

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Foster, who owns a jewelry store in Denver, credited Copper with keeping skiing affordable during the recession of the past year. Business may be down, but that hasn’t kept the family from the slopes.

“The passes are so affordable, even now. It’s such a gift,” he said.

The resort opened with the American Eagle chair and the Excelerator chair running and reported an 18-inch base on 60 acres of open terrain. Snowmakers have been working when they can. Although the recent warm-up has slowed snowmaking efforts a bit at all the local resorts, the snow guns were still blasting just before Copper opened for skiing Friday. The big push is on to make enough snow for the halfpipe near the base of the mountain.

Summit County will be fully open for skiing next weekend, when Breckenridge opens on Nov. 12. Arapahoe Basin opened several weeks ago and will add terrain this weekend, with service to the top of the mountain slated to begin today.

Loveland and Wolf Creek also are open. Vail Mountain opens Nov. 20 and Beaver Creek on Nov. 25.

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