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Adventures with Alan dives into the charm of Ski Cooper

Ski Cooper -- Adventures with Alan
Posted at 6:47 PM, Jan 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-06 00:19:21-05

In our exclusive series Adventures with Alan, we'll travel across Southern Colorado week-by-week to show you thrills and chills, hidden gems and well-known spots.

The heart of skiing in the heart of the Rockies

In the heart of the Rockies only 10 miles from Leadville is Ski Cooper.

The ski area is home to five lifts, 64 trails and almost 500 acres of lift-served terrain.

In a state that's filled with high end resorts, it's the kind of mountain that provides a pure authentic Colorado ski experience.

"So the people in town won't want me to say this because it is such a unique place. On a weekday, if you have to do more than stop at the wait line, we call it a lift line," said Cooper's former Ski Patrol Director Scott Adams.

The mountain has a rich history

Adams says that the mountain first opened in 1942 to service the Army's 10th Mountain Division.

"The 10th Mountain Division would use it during the week and then on the weekends, the people from town (Leadville) would come out and ski also," said Adams.

Fast forward to present day, and the original T-bar has been replaced with the 10th Mountain Double Chair that takes you from the base to the top of the mountain.

The history is fascinating and you can read more about it here —

Time to hit the slopes

Thanks to a light dusting from the night before and more snow during our visit, conditions are perfect.

In addition to Adams, we're joined by Cooper's Director of Marketing and Sales, Dana Johnson, and the Director of Resort Operations, Patrick Torsell.

We take a warm-up run on the front side of the mountain before dropping into Ski Cooper's newest terrain.

"Tennessee Creek Basin is 30 degrees plus in a few places with some nice benches to take a break on and trees to go in and out of, and a couple of cut runs," said Adams.

Tennessee Creek Basin, or "TCB" for short, is Cooper's expert only double diamond terrain, and we have it all to ourselves.

First opened in 2019, this is tree skiing at its finest!

700 vertical feet of soft bumps, untouched powder and perfectly space trees, I could spend hours here.

But since this is a "work assignment", we take a few runs in TCB before moving onto family friendly Leprechaun Lane.

"Leprechaun Lane is the brainchild of our marketing Director (Dana Johnson), and she wanted a place where kids could just go and kind of find things and hide out," said Adams.

The area is filled with leprechauns, shamrocks, Irish colored flags and even a pot of gold at the end of the trail.

Call it the luck of the Irish, but it's all really part of the charm of Cooper, a ski area with a colorful past that continues to reinvent itself with each new season.

Ski Cooper adventure rating

When it comes to difficulty, Cooper might cater more to beginner or intermediate skiers, but it really has it all...including the newer double diamond terrain back in TCB. I'll score this 3 out of 5.

For scenery, 5 out of 5. It's the heart of the Rockies here at Cooper, with the ski area right on top of the Continental Divide.

For fun level, 5 out of 5. We were there on a Wednesday, and it was pretty empty. Needless to say, I had a blast!

Now for my final score...let's rate this 5 stars out of 5.

Ski Cooper adventure rating
Here's how Alan rates his day on the slopes at Ski Cooper

**Not to miss**
Cooper has brought back $30 Thursdays this season. Through the end of February, the ski area will offer $30 lift tickets and $30 rentals every Thursday. Tickets must be purchased online at least two days in advance.


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