Back in the early 2000’s when I first joined Team Summit, I had no idea how forward thinking then head alpine director Rob Worrell was or how much support we had from Copper Mountain. With help from former mountain manager Jim Spenst, Team Summit had permission to drive their vans to the top of the mountain in June and hike a decent amount of snow for a slalom camp. Fast forward to the next June and Copper actually ran the lifts for our training that rivaled Mt. Hood’s Timberline glacier. The very next October marked the first time (to my knowledge) that Copper allowed Team Summit and other teams willing to make the trek to Colorado early season training weeks before opening day. An instant success drawing teams from around Colorado, Utah, California, Minnesota, and Michigan, Copper was able to give great rates on food and lodging in what would have otherwise been a ghost town at that time of year. Before long, Copper’s early season cold temps and hard man made snow drew attendance from the US Ski Team and other national teams looking to capitalize on some North American training before world cups in Aspen, Beaver Creek, and Lake Louise, Canada.
Then came the proposal from the US Ski Team to invest in snow making and have Copper as their official early season training location. Sadly, that year Copper turned them down and neighboring Keystone was able to gain that title and all the publicity that came with it. Keystone took advantage of their new title and the massive amount of racers training in the county and hosted some NorAms that year, but thats it. By the next year, all the best training had shifted back to Copper.
This year, in a brilliant business move surly aided by Powdr. Corp CEO and Vice Chair for the US Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) John Cumming, Copper has finally been named the official Speed Center for the US Ski Team. Revamping snowmaking and moving a steeper side of the mountain, Copper can confidently boast the BEST early season speed training in the world. The ski racing community is tight knit one, and Copper is at the heart of the early season scene with teams from across the country coming to train. As an epicenter of ski racing, Copper Mountain is fostering a culture of progressive skiing and increased community.
Check back tomorrow and hear about how Copper has addressed the freestyle side of it all. As always, please leave a comment and let us know what you think.