Ski Cooper Colorado
Ski Cooper is a small Colorado ski resort with a strong niche in the family friendly market. Affordability is one of the hallmarks of Ski Cooper, and families also love the beginner terrain.
To get to Ski Cooper from Denver, you have to drive past ski resorts such as Copper Mountain
. Considering these nearby ski resorts are world class heavy hitters, it’s not surprising that Ski Cooper is often overlooked. The upside for those that do travel the extra distance to Ski Cooper is that there are no crowds, non-existent lift lines, and you don’t have to fight to find a car park.
Previously known as Cooper Hill Ski Area, this little ski resort is one of the oldest in Colorado. Its history started as a training ground for the 10th Mountain Division Special Forces that fought in World War II in the Alps, equipped with rudimentary old wooden planks for skis. Things have progressed a long way since then, but Ski Cooper is still a delightful step back in time.
Ski and Snowboard Terrain
The terrain at Ski Cooper is just small and sweet. With only 400 acres (162 hectares) and 26 trails, Ski Cooper seems tiny in comparison to nearby Vail which is 13 times the size. This is a feature that makes Ski Cooper attractive to families, because there’s little fear of misplacing the ankle biters.
Ski Cooper is touted as a mecca for beginner and intermediate riders with various wide open cruising slopes. The split of terrain is 30% beginner, 40% intermediate and 30% expert, although the handful of black runs might be more appropriately rated as blue. Exceptions are a few mogul runs when the bumps become particularly large, and the mellow gladed runs.
The main lift infrastructure consists of a triple and double chair lift, and like the rest of the culture at Ski Cooper, the lift rides are far from hurried. Novices have it pretty good and can go on a 770 foot long magic carpet ride.
Ski Cooper receives an average of 6.4 metres (250 inches) of snow per season, which is all made by Mother Nature.
Where is Ski Cooper?
Ski Cooper is located in the Rocky Mountains atop Tennessee Pass, 10 miles north of the little town of Leadville. Ski Cooper is 29 miles south of the Vail
juggernaut. Other nearby ski resorts are Copper Mountain
, Beaver Creek
Ski Cooper is a 131 mile drive southwest of the Denver International Airport. The trip takes about 2.5 hours depending on road conditions and the traffic on I-70.
The closest accommodations for Ski Cooper are in Leadville where there are very affordable motels and historic hotels. Other Leadville lodging includes B&Bs, lodges, and vacation rentals.
At an elevation of 10,152 feet (3,094 m), Leadville has the nickname of the 2 mile high city, although now that the mining boom has well and truly passed and the population is only about 3,000 folks, Leadville is far from a “city”. It’s a cute little town with plenty of historic Victorian charm.
Leadville Accommodations Listings
Ski Resort Facilities
There are no elaborate day lodges or super fancy restaurants at Ski Cooper. Things are kept pretty simple such that the facilities just cover the basics. The base building houses a cafeteria, a child care centre, equipment rental, and a shop.
Ski Cooper Activities
For advanced riders an absolute highlight of Ski Cooper is the cat skiing; a fabulous opportunity to score fresh powder! Chicago Ridge adjoining the ski resort offers 2,460 acres of terrain, and relative to other cat skiing operations, the Chicago Ridge Snowcat Tours
won’t break the piggy bank.
The Ski Cooper area also offers some great cross country skiing. A popular dinner activity is to cross country ski or snowshoe along a short groomed trail to the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse, a yurt that serves up multi-course gourmet meals.
Why Ski or Snowboard at Ski Cooper?
Ski Cooper is an anti-resort; a breath of fresh air where it’s all about simple family fun.
Ski Cooper has no crowds, no attitude, and it’s really cheap! The cost of an adult lift ticket is half that of tickets at nearby high profile resorts, whilst the kids tickets are a third of the price. Lessons, equipment rental, and accommodation are also very affordable.