We know skiers have tons of amazing ski resorts to choose from, especially here in Colorado Ski Country USA. But Cooper is a special place all of its own, and we’ve picked out 7 reasons that Cooper should be on your list this ski season. Here they are, in no particular order:
Most skiers have just gotten used to waiting in long lift lines, and wading through crowds. But not at Cooper! Here, if you have to wait 5 minutes in a lift line, it’s an extremely busy day! Nonexistent or short lift lines mean more time on the snow, and less time standing around. And with the exception of a few of the busiest holidays, you won’t even have to wait at the ticket window, the rental shop, or the cafeteria either!
But we’ll be honest… there are always a couple days each year that are busier than others, especially Christmas week, MLK weekend, Presidents’ weekend. So do you want a few tips for how to make the best of the busiest days? (1) Arrive early to get your rentals. The busiest time in the rental shop is 9am-10:30am. But the doors are open at 8am, so come on in and beat the rush!; (2) Eat early, or eat late. The lunch rush in the lodge is usually 11:30-1:00. So try having lunch at 11am or 1:30pm, and you’ll find a more comfortable cafeteria; (3) Ride the Buckeye Platter! On weekends and holidays, the Buckeye Platter lift operates, and provides quick access to the backside, along with several nice beginner runs off of the midstation. It is much less trafficked than the 10th Mountain Double, and you can often ski right onto the lift! Plus, it gets you to the backside (by way of Intermediate and Advanced terrain) in about 7 minutes, instead of the 13 it takes on the Double.
Affordable Tickets, Passes, and Lessons
Let’s face it: skiing isn’t cheap. Skis, poles, snowboards, boots, winter outerwear… it all adds up! Then, when you do some comparison shopping of ski resorts, you find lift tickets approaching $200 for a single day! Well, Cooper is proud to be the affordable alternative. Remember: sometimes higher price indicates higher value; but not always! At Cooper, our mission is to provide a top-quality ski area with comfortable facilities and excellent service, all at a price point that allows average families to enjoy an increasingly expensive sport.
If you catch our early season pass sale, adult passes are just $239 and child passes are just $125. 2016/17 window rate adult window tickets are just $52, and if you order online, you get a discount! We also work hard to keep our lesson prices reasonable, so that more people can realistically get started in the sport.
Just for fun, try pricing out a trip for your family at one of the big resorts. Then compare it to Cooper. You’ll see what we mean. A family of four can rent skis, buy lift tickets, and eat lunch at Cooper for roughly the same cost of ONE person doing the same at the mega resorts.
Amazing Natural Snow
At Cooper, we don’t make any man-made snow. Mother Nature graces us with an average of about 260″ of natural fluffy stuff each season, and our high base elevation (10,500′) means that the snowpack remains cooler and drier, and thus lighter & softer.
And we’re here to supplement Mother Nature’s efforts as well, with our unique grooming philosophy. Unlike most other ski resorts, Cooper doesn’t believe in over-grooming trails, which results in hardpack conditions. Cooper applies industry trend-bucking grooming practices to avoid over-working the snow, meaning a softer, smooth surface.
Cooper is one of the most historically significant ski areas in the United States! In fact, when you ski at Cooper, you’re traversing the same hallowed ground as the men of the 10th Mountain Division, who not only served our nation and the world, but also laid the very foundations of the ski resort industry in the US!
Cooper’s origin goes back to World War II. In 1942, the U.S. Army selected a training site near an isolated railroad stop of Pando, CO. Nearby Camp Hale was built as the training site for the ski troopers of the famed 10th Mountain Division. The Army selected the site because of the availability of rail transportation, its rugged mountainous terrain, and a 250-inch average annual snowfall which assured a six-month-long ski training season at the nearby, 11,700-foot-high Cooper Hill.
Following two years of rigorous training, the 10th Mountain Division was ordered to Italy in 1945 to spearhead the advance of the U.S. Fifth Army. In a series of actions that included Riva Ridge and Mt. Belvedere, the 10th Mountain Division breached the supposedly impregnable Gothic Line in the Appenines and secured the Po River Valley to play a vital role in the liberation of northern Italy. By the time of the German surrender in May, 1945, 992 ski troopers had been killed in action and 4,000 wounded, the highest casualty rate of any U.S. Division in the Mediterranean.
Following the war, Ski Cooper was opened to the public as a ski area. Through the years, Cooper has evolved under several leadership teams, each of which added to Cooper’s infrastructure and helped develop it into a complete ski resort.
No matter where you are on the mountain, the views are incredible! To the southwest, you can take in the majesty of the Sawatch Range, including Colorado’s highest peak, Mt. Elbert, and neighboring Mt. Massive. To the west and northwest, you’re staring right at Homestake Peak, and the jagged beauty of the Mount of the Holy Cross. And with Colorado’s famous bluebird skies as a backdrop, it’s truly stunning!
Cooper’s smaller size and uncrowded slopes make it the perfect family mountain. All trails lead back to the base lodge at the end of the day, so there’s no worrying that someone will end up three miles away! Plenty of novice and intermediate cruisers give the up-and-comers room for fun, and our glades and moguls keep the more advanced skiers interested. Plus, Cooper’s laid-back atmosphere and unassuming clientele make it a comfortable place to relax with the whole family.
Cooper is not only family-friendly, it is a family. From our staff to our skiers, we think of ourselves as a family, and strive to treat everyone as such.
Intimidation-Free Learning Environment
A common complaint the ski industry hears from first-time skiers is how they are intimidated, whether by a large or steep mountain, the crowded base area and slopes, the out of control skiers, or by seeing so many “experts” around them. But at Cooper, first-timers are welcomed with open arms! Our ski school has a number of excellent first-timer programs, and the EZ Street and ski school slopes are gentle, wide, manageable, welcoming, and uncrowded. No one will be judging, no one will be criticizing. You can learn to ski in peace, comfort, and confidence! Add in our amazing soft snow and affordable prices, and you won’t find a better place to learn to ski or snowboard, whether you’re 5, 35, 55, 75 or 105!