Copper Chair Challenge

Spring Break Skiing with My Girls

A memorable ski weekend with Kit and Em. (They now have spring breaks that overlap only by, like, one weekend, and we are lucky to get that!) The 3 of us skied Copper Mountain for two days while Jane did some nordic action. We made a goal to ski all of the lifts (20) on the mountain over the weekend. When they were learning to ski at Copper as young kids, the "Chair Challenge" was a last-day-of-ski-school experience for Emily that Kit never had. The goal was to get the skiers all over the mountain on every kind of terrain so they knew they were "All Mountain Skiers."

We almost did our Chair Challenge in one day -- and could have if we'd pushed, but decided to leave a bit for Sunday. The challenge forced us to ski things that we hadn't skied before or were out of our usual groove. On Saturday, we skied from the east boundary to the west one! Sunday was a bit of clean up -- mostly Union Creek.

It was fun, too, because the girls are now much more compatible skiers than ever before. We hadn't skied together since Em started college 3 seasons ago. Kit is skiing the whole mountain now at a fairly good clip, so we skied all of the mountain together, exploring new things, discovering recent changes, and reminiscing about "the old days." Stories abounded of losing a ski on the lift, riding up with interesting "strangers," Dad dropping his helmet from the lift.

The girls grew up skiing Copper Mountain, one of the best ski areas around. We used to have season passes, but with life getting in the way lately -- dance, college, etc. -- Kit and I are lucky to get our 4-passes used. Emily has been skiing other Summit County mountains on a season pass with Colorado College friends lately. Skiing Copper really reinforced for her how fortunate she was to be able to learn to ski on a mountain with so much diversity of facings, and laid out so naturally by difficulty.

Check it out on the map: From green at the right (Union Creek, where the girls first learned to ski), to the blue in the middle, over to the black on the left and wrapping around to the back of the mountain, a skier can progress or choose their terrain without a lot of intersection among abilities.

And, the diversity of the mountain facings and variety of terrain means a skier can experience an extreme difference in snow conditions in one day. On Saturday, the snow on the east side was very crusty underneath a couple of inches of fresh snow. By the time we worked over to the west, we were in some nice powder without the crust. I tried to capture the difference in the photos. You can see the snow under the two girls standing together is very different from the powder they are skiing individually!

We are so grateful that my mother, Gran' Di, and their Grampa Al had a wonderful house in Breckenridge that could serve as a base camp as our family grew. (Di and Al have now downsized to a wonderful little condo in Frisco, which is perfect for them -- and for us -- now.) Di and Al were members of the Over the Hill Gang at Copper, so we started going there and are grateful it is our family mountain.

The memories of all those years really come back strong on days like this...skiing the Copper Chair Challenge with my girls!

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