Beginner's Guide to Ski Copper Mountain
Copper Mountain Resort, Colorado
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Whether you are trying to book your first ever ski vacation or have a group with some novice skiers, the Beginner’s Guide to Ski Copper Mountain Resort in Colorado will provide every detail you need to plan the ultimate ski trip and help beginners feel more comfortable about this new experience.
First, I still consider myself a novice skier because I learned as an adult, which isn’t easy, and as of this post I have only skied 6 times. However, three of those trips were to Copper Mountain and it will forever be my favorite ski resort in Colorado due to the layout of the mountain and the incredible vacation home rentals in Lewis Ranch.
Welcome to all, but especially those that need an escape from the daily grind.
I'm Amy B, the writer, editor-in-chief and HBIC at Change N Focus. My mission is to inspire each of you to travel & explore the great outdoors, empower you to be the best YOU and truly LIVE the life of your dreams!
Check out About Amy B to read more about my journey.
'The Mill' - luxury vacation rental in Lewis Ranch
Honesty is my only policy, so I must be up front and tell you, SKIING anywhere is expensive and I swear it gets more expensive every year. I will do my best to provide tips that will help you get the best deals possible!
Beginner’s Guide to Ski Copper Mountain
This guide to skiing Copper mountain for beginners will provide everything you need to know to make your first ski vacation go off without a hitch. Probably not without a fall on the slopes, but lots of fun with family and friends!
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO – Pandemic Info
The best place to get up-to-date information about how the pandemic has effected travel and operations at Copper, visit the Copper Mountain Resort What to Expect section.
First thing to know is Copper Mountain is a Ski Resort, not a town with a ski resort. However, the town of Frisco is on your way to Copper from Denver and I highly recommend a grocery store run for your luxury home or condo rental. We always stop for a bite to eat and some local beers at Highside Brewing & BBQ. There are still plenty of restaurants, sports bars & fine dining at the resort, but I’ve had friends travel with me that expected bars to stay open all night, for which they do not.
Lift Tickets & Ski Rentals
Purchase your lift tickets as soon as you have booked your flights. Booking in advance will always give you better rates. NEVER buy lift tickets at the resort, you will pay ridiculous prices.
At Copper Mountain they offer a season pass called the Four Pack, it is the best deal if you plan to ski four days but must be purchase BEFORE ski season starts. Another huge benefit is once you have your season pass card, then the next season if you purchase again, your card will work to get you on the lifts without going to guest services.
If you stay in one of the luxury homes in Lewis Ranch neighborhood, do yourself a huge favor and book your ski rentals through Ski Butlers! They will deliver your skis and fit you for boots at your vacation rental. No joke. We usually book to have them come out the first morning we are skiing in the early morning before the lifts open. They also come pick up your gear when you are done. Their equipment is high quality, I’ve never heard a friend complain. One of my friends had a boot issue and they came back out with other boot options!
Ski Butlers is the BEST service for your ski vacation and they offer services at more resorts, not just Copper.
If you stay in the Villages, it is easiest to rent your skis, snowboards and boots from Copper Mountain Resort.
Most places are within walking distance of one of the four rental locations in East, Center & West Village. Again, booking in advance offers discounts on prices.
Copper Mountain Ski School
I learned to ski as an adult but refused to go to ski school and learned on Youtube. Probably could have used some tips, but I have a patient husband that has skied all his life and a good friend that was a ski instructor before. I’m also stubborn. There is one video on Youtube that I will search to find for you that literally gave me one tip that was life changing for my improved skiing and allowed me to finally enjoy it!
For the rest of you, that want to learn the correct way from the beginning. Check out the Copper Mountain Ski School. They offer ½ day group lessons from 9:30AM-12:00PM or 1:00PM-3:30PM. The wonderful staff will help you figure out what is best for you. Important to know that all ski lessons must be booked at least 2 days in advance online.
All adult participants meet in Center Village at Copper Sports (across from Starbucks) at least 1 hour before you lesson start time. All youth participants meet in West Village. Check in to pick up lesson ticket (discounted lift ticket) at the Schoolhouse in West Village.
Winter Mountain Layout & Trail Map
Copper Mountain Ski Resort provides interactive 2D & 3D winter trail maps or you can download their app for a ski map on the go. The interactive will show you open & groomed runs.
Beginners should know to stay away from East Village due to the steep and black diamond side of the resort. The majority of green or beginner slopes are located on the west side of the mountain which is the same side as the luxury home rental neighborhood Lewis Ranch.
Open the Copper Mountain winter trail ski map of your choice in a new window so that you can follow my beginner tips in the following sections.
Beginner Lifts & “Green” Slope Tips
There are only five (5) ski lifts that a true beginner should ever get on!
Beginner Ski Lifts
Kokomo Express sits at the base of the mountain where ski school is in West Village.
Lumberjack is the only lift to leave directly out of the Lewis Ranch neighborhood. Ends up being my favorite yet the slowest lift in Copper Mountain. Lumberjack Lift leads to two of my favorite beginner ski runs of all time – Roundabout & West Ten Mile
Woodward Express – You pass Kokomo Express to get down to the base of Woodward Express lift that take you in the heart of the Central Park ski jumping area. I’m not a huge fan of greens in this area and rarely use that lift.
Timberline Express lift takes you over the best blue runs for beginners, but also takes you to green Soliloquy run that offers you the longest continuous green run connecting to Roundabout.
American Flyer is the ONLY lift that takes beginners straight out of center village and connects to any green beginner slopes.
Beginner “Green” Run Ski Tips
Start your day or practice first on the Roundabout Run from either the Lumberjack or Kokomo Express lifts.
A lot of the time I stay away from the bottom section of Roundabout and simply ride the Lumberjack lift and ski either Roundabout or West-Ten Mile green runs back to base of Lumberjack. Personally, I could do those the entire day!
If you prefer a longer run to stay off the lifts, take Lumberjack lift, head left off the ski lift and take the I-Way green run down to the base of Timberline Express. Then take Timberline lift, get off lift to your right to ski Soliloquy.
WARNING – on the Soliloquy run, when you are getting close to where it meets Roundabout you need to GAIN AS MUCH SPEED as possible, because there is a flat section that you will end up pushing yourself along if you don’t. Otherwise, it is a beautiful run.
Another fun green is when Roundabout splits take the right which is Fairway, stay to the right connecting to Prospector. You’ll end up at the bottom of Roundabout where you can get on Kokomo Express which also takes you to the base of Lumberjack and you can start all over.
If you take American Flyer lift, take High Point then left to Woodwinds and left to Minor Matter. You end at Timberline Express or you can take a right and take Woodwinds Traverse back down to Center Village.
I didn’t like the Carefree Green Run leading into Center Village, it seems steep enough to be a Blue, but think because it is so wide they consider it green.
Best way to stay on Greens from Center Village to the West side green slopes = American Flyer lift, go right off lift, you’ll have a few bumps to make it over and stay as high as possible to reach Soliloquy run which you’ll remember turns in Roundabout. You have arrived at the west side!
Best way to get back to your Center Village lodging from west side = Take Roundabout run all the way to the bottom, pass the Kokomo lift to take the Woodward Express. Get off to the left, then you will ski back under the lift to Easy Feelin’ green run, don’t miss the right turn on Woodwinds Traverse. That run will take you all the way to Center Village, but you will cut straight across multiple runs to do it. You can also cut down Bridgeway toward the end of the run to ski underneath a bridge right before you reach Center Village.
Bittersweet "Blue" Run - Copper Mountain Ski Resort
Best “Blue” Intermediate Slopes for Beginners
Let me first say, I haven’t learned to enjoy blue runs just yet, but it is purely because of the fear of going to fast and falling. I don’t like to fall and have probably only fallen three or four times since I started. I’m a cautious skier, but next time I ski, I’m hoping to change that!
The blue runs off Timberline Express are where I would start. However, do NOT go on The Moz. I believe that is the blue that has moguls which are big bumps that make it no fun at all to ski.
First blue I would suggest is Copperfield run.
If you stay in Center Village, I recommend taking the American Eagle lift, it goes only to blue intermediate slopes, forcing you to give one a try. Go right off the lift, the take Bittersweet blue run and take the left to Leap Frog green run then right down Loverly green to Center Village. I personally think this is the best way to start a blue, but not worth the trek all the way over to Center Village if you are staying in Lewis Ranch home.
Travel Guide to Copper Mountain, Colorado
What to Pack for Your Winter Ski Vacation
Winter clothes take up so much room in your travel bag! Make sure that you only take what you need and shop at my Winter Ski Gear Shopping Guide. There is no trip that I need to pack more than a backpack and a roller carryon piece of luggage.
And a few tips for winter ski trip packing…
Rolling instead of folding your clothes saves lots of room.
Always carry on my winter coat to save room in my travel bag and to have handy when I get off the plane.
Wear the pair of boots that you want to take, again to save space.
There is no need for one pair of ski pants and one ski jacket. The fashion police don’t exist on the slopes and the under garments are what will get smelly and dirty.
Don’t forget a swimsuit for the hot tub after a long day on the slopes.
Winter ski apparel can get very pricey, do your pocketbook a favor and look at my Winter Ski Gear Shopping Guide for both men & women.
Travel to Copper Mountain Resort
For most of you, flying to Colorado is the first step. Denver International [DEN] is the best airport for travel to Copper Mountain. Denver is only 75 miles from Copper. I recommend planning ski trips as early as a year to 8 months in advance. The prices of everything increase as more and more people book their trips.
If you don’t want your flight times to change from initial booking, I would book flights 6-7 months before your vacation dates. My favorite airline is Delta because I have always had better service and fewer delays. There are several airlines flying into Denver, including Southwest, I just don’t have that option from Tallahassee, Florida.
CAR RENTAL vs SHUTTLE
I hate waiting on shuttles and dropping off others at their destinations before I get to mine. However, if they don’t annoy you, I recommend Epic Mountain Express with prices usually around $60 per person each way.
Another benefit of shuttle rides is that you don’t have to drive in the snow. I grew up driving in the snow, but many of my Florida friends did not. I’m not a fan of putting my life on the line before I get to vacation!
I usually ski with friends, so we rent a car or SUV and split the cost. I highly recommend Fox Rental Car in Denver. I usually find the best deals directly through their website, but I do a general search to always check for the best deal possible.
The only annoying thing about car rentals at the Denver airport is that you must shuttle to the location. With my group, I usually go get the car and then return to pick everyone and their junk. My friends would rather grab a beer while I do the fun stuff.
Check out my list of favorite vacation rentals for Copper Mountain. There really aren’t typical hotel chains, since Copper is a ski resort and not a town, which I find as a huge benefit. The resort gives you everything you need and everyone is there to have a great vacation!
Copper Mountain Winter Activities
Skiing isn’t the only thing to do in the winter at Copper Mountain. If you missed the information about the Copper Mountain Ski School. Check out these other great activities to give everyone in your group something to enjoy.
Rocky Mountain Coaster
This happens to be one of North America’s longest alpine coasters. Enjoy the mountain views while making your way down 5,800 feet of track descending 430 vertical feet on average grade of 10.9%. You can reach up to 25 miles per hour. The Rocky Mountain Coaster operating schedule is weather dependent so make sure you check the Copper Mountain website for days and times to take your cruise down the mountain!
The Coaster is located near the American Flyer lift and you must purchase tickets at the Coaster Shack. Tickets are first come, first serve with a finite amount so don’t delay because tickets can sell out.
Driver must be 9 years or older & minimum 52” tall.
Children must be 3 years or older & minimum 36” tall.
Passengers ages 3-8 must ride with driver 16 years or older.
Maximum combined weight per cart is 300 lbs.
Tallest rider must sit in the rear of cart to ensure driver has clear view.
1 RIDE $25
4 RIDES $80
Children 3 years or older & minimum of 36” tall RIDE FREE WITH PAYING ADULT TICKET
This is not just your straight lane tubing hill. After you are done skiing for the day, head over for some fun and laughter at the tubing hill. The Tubing Hill is located in East Village behind Copper Station or left of the Super Bee chairlift. There is first come first serve parking, but lot could be full and costs $10 per hour. I suggest taking the black route bus from Alpine Lot or the Copper Loop transit to East Village.
Tubing Hill Rules
36 inch height requirement for tubing – children must be able to ride in their own tube & not in lap or with another participant
Personal sleds/tubes NOT permitted
Wear warm winter clothes & footwear, ski boots are NOT allowed
Tubing sessions are 1 hour in duration – recommended to show up one hour BEFORE your session in order to pick up tickets, sign waivers, complete safety briefing that occurs 15 minutes before you start time.
Don’t miss your window of time!
Tickets must be purchased online as well as your signature on a liability waiver form.
PRE-BOOK at least 1 day in advance and SAVE 10% off day of rates!
Tubing Hill Pricing
Regular Season (per person) $49
Holiday Season (per person) $59
Copper has a 19,400 square foot fully heated Woodward Copper Barn featuring several action sports. When you just don’t want to ski in the blistering cold, head indoors for skate/scooter/bmx zones, indoor ParkSki and Burton ParkBoard training, springfloor, tumble track, and Olypmic-grade trampolines.
Daily 2 hour intro sessions and drop-in sessions offered at 12pm, 2pm, 4pm, & 6pm.
An intro session is required for all first-timers and participants must be 7 years or older. No spectators allowed and all sessions should be pre-booked online at least 48 hours in advance. For more information and to pre-book, visit Woodward Copper Barn.
Not sure why anyone would want to ski up a mountain, but Copper offers Uphill trail access. I get winded skiing downhill, so this isn’t for me. Do let me know if you give it a try! The resort is now charging for this access, but it is free for Copper Mountain Season pass & Ikon Pass holders.
Resort Amenities, Shopping & Dining
For resort information on free shuttle, the Copper app (which I recommend), the business center and child care services, visit resort amenities. I’ve used the app on multiple trips, mostly to track my ski stats like number of runs & lifts. It also has the ability to connect with friends and family in real time to track their location on the hill, message them in the app. I will say that when I used the tracking feature, my phone service wasn’t great it was extremely delayed on their location. The app is great for trail maps, stat tracking and finding resort dining and shopping options!
Head over to West Lake in Center Village to test your ice-skating skills. They also have broomball equipment and hockey nets available for free.
Ice Skate Rental at City Pop for $12 between 10am-9pm
For family free time, save your dining receipts! You can spend $40 in the Village at Copper’s restaurants and receive a free ice skate rental, but valid only Monday through Thursday. Must show your receipt for redemption!
Small ice slide designed for kids ages 3-8 and always requires adult supervision. Located at the base of the Tubing Hill in East Village and open from 10am-4pm. It is free but ALL participants must have signed waiver. You can sign waiver on your phone from QR code at the slide or see Guest Services.
Shopping at any resort can be pricey, but I’ve also found some decent sales at Copper Resort. I usually purchase a t-shirt or hat from places. For apparel, sports gear, gifts & crafts visit the shopping guide on the resort site. You’ll also find grocery & liquor shopping options.
Koko's Hut on the Roundabout "Green" Run near Lumberjack Lift
As for dining, Copper Mountain has absolutely every type of restaurant you could possibly be craving. Plus, some great stops on the mountain! Center Village is the place to be for dining options. The deck at Downhill Dukes is my favorite place for a warm adult beverage for a ski break. If you want to stay on the west side of the mountain where all the friendly green slopes are located, West Village Café has a good size bar and large patio.
I crave Mexican food constantly, and have enjoyed a taco or ten at El Zacatecano in Center Village.
Sometimes the best option for quick lunch bites and a local beer is on the mountain dining so that you can get back to skiing the slopes. My favorite stops are Koko’s Hut & T-Rex Grill, mostly because I can easily get to them from the slopes I enjoy skiing.
Hope you found the information that you need to make your first trip to Copper Mountain, Colorado a huge success! And if it is your very first attempt at skiing, I wish you the best of luck. The fear of flying down a mountain is the first hurdle, if you can master your mind, you'll be on your way to 'Blue' slopes very soon!