Location: Summit County, between Frisco and Vail on Interstate 70
Distance from airport: 102 miles (1-hour, 45-minute drive)
Best for: Expansive terrain, casual resort feel, booming base area
Denver locals consistently name Copper as their favorite Colorado mountain, and it’s easy to see why. With nearly 3,000 feet of vertical and 140 runs -- take your pick from steep, powder-filled chutes, bowls, fast cruisers, or flat groomers -- you can’t even come close to tackling all the terrain in two days. The slopes are conveniently divided by nature -- the steeper terrain stemming out of the East Village, intermediate slopes out of the Center Village, and beginner slopes out of the West Village.
Copper has a more of a relaxed feel than nearby resorts like Vail or Breckenridge, thanks in part to free, shuttle-serviced parking. Plus, there are other options for reveling in gravity’s downward direction: tubing, an alpine coaster, and Woodward, the one-of-a-kind ramp, trampoline, and foam pit-equipped facility where pro skiers and snowboarders workshop their newest tricks. On top of that, there's a spa, athletic club, ice skating, cross-country and snowshoeing, and an ongoing lineup of festivals and competitions.
Where to eat and sleep: Condo-style lodging can be found in each Village, accessible by free resort shuttle. Copper is self-contained with a grocery store, numerous equipment and outerwear shops, and a wide range of restaurants, from coffee and donuts and fresh sushi and ramen at Storm King Lounge, to habit-forming baby back ribs at family-owned Double Diamond. The après scene is always festive, with live music from long-time party starters Lefty Lucy at Jack’s, and Moe Dixon at JJ’s.