After yesterday's near perfect spring day at Loveland, the forecast for today was less promising with partially sunny skies giving way to mostly overcast by late morning. We were thinking of Copper Mountain, but decided that we didn't want to spend $105 per person to ski scratchy snow for most of the day so we drove another 30 minutes to a place I've never seen covered in an online TR.
Heading toward Dillon
Driving Past Copper Mountain
We stopped at Ski Cooper's nearby hometown, Leadville, and walked around for a bit.
Lots of Mining Ephemera
An Unfortunately-Named Gas Station Chain
A Mural of the 10th Mountain Division
Ski Cooper is a small ski area with 1,200 vertical feet and a friendly community feel.
There are signs all over the property about how the famed 10th Mountain Division trained at Cooper Hill before being deployed in the Alps during WWII.
We were surprised to find quite a few cars in the parking lot on a Monday, all families/mostly beginners, for which Cooper is perfectly suited. Despite the overcast skies, the snow softened up nicely by 11 am and was really nice for high-speed cruising through the trees. My wife and I both mentioned that Cooper felt on a few levels (terrain, views) like a smaller Colorado version of New Mexico's Angel Fire, but with no onsite hotels.
A Touch of Switzerland in Colorado
We had a nice lunch in the Irish pub in the lodge
In short: a very pleasant family ski hill. Perfect if you have younger kids or lower-level skiers (our son would've loved it). Not necessarily worth checking out for stronger skiers.