Defined as a family ski vacation destination and located 10 miles north of Leadville, Colorado, the ski area is not far from Breckenridge and Copper Mountain resorts.Though it has been around since WW II as a ski slope, the idea behind this resort was to provide an affordable, friendly, world-class ski experience—and to bring Leadville, a mining town, directly into the skiing market.
A friendly ski resort by design and intent, that doesn’t mean it’s somehow a wimpy mountain or a lesser ski adventure. In fact, while it has an even balance of trails for all levels of skier, it’s downright challenging in places. But if you should find that you’re still left wanting, a snowcat ride up to Chicago Ridge will cure that for sure. The ski patrol is top-notch. Some of their teachers have a quarter century of experience, while others learned to ski (or snowboard) at Cooper. This instruction group has received both national and local recognition for their abilities and methods.
Nightlife around the mountain begins at the mountain itself. From there, you head on into Leadville for some rather unique and captivating restaurants and pubs. Period Brewing in Leadville offers up some great grub and their own beers. Of course, you can still get Italian food and other types of cuisine, from the fast to the furious and on over to elegant. Though it seems unimaginable that you’d become bored with the local spots and the charm of Leadville, realize that you’re also within transport of Copper Mountain, Vail, Breckenridge, and the rest of Summit County.
Dress in several light layers, with a breathable, waterproof shell (powder jacket) over it all. Neck gators and face masks may make your life a lot more pleasant when the wind chill comes up and skiers who enjoy going to the top of the mountain are likely to experience the wind factor. January, February, and March are the big competition months, with the Cooper Cup and other such events on the mountain itself. One of the most affordable lift tickets around and a bargain for this quality of skiing.
This mountain is an unsung hero suffering only from a lack of the big polish that the big-money resorts enjoy. Take a look at a map of Colorado, find Leadville, and you’ll see it’s right smack dab in the middle of the prime Colorado ski region.
A smaller and more intimate resort than the average Colorado ski area with four lifts that take you up to 41 trails. Enjoy 260 inches of deep powder on their longest run of 1.4 miles. Their trails are rated 30 percent for beginners, 40 percent for intermediates, 30 percent for advanced.
Ski Cooper has one terrain park at the base of Molly Mayfield.
There is some amazing winter terrain to explore in the San Isabel National Forest. Close to the ski area is some great cross-country skiing: The Tennessee Pass Nordic Center has 25 kilometers of groomed cross-country track and skating. You can even get to the top of Chicago Ridge by snowcat for a really wild adventure. You can also explore some of the mines that made the area famous in the 19th century.
The Katie O’Rourke’s Irish Pub provides Irish food and drink specialties, as well as, live music at the Pub on Thursdays and Saturdays throughout the season.