Gabrielle Blair is blogs at DesignMom.com
The ski trip was fantastic. We've done quite a few day-ski-trips in the last few years, but this was the first time we actually stayed at the ski resort and made a vacation of it. Here are the highlights:
While my crew was hitting the slopes, I spent an afternoon checking out Woodward. It basically blew my mind with it's awesomeness. The Barn at Woodward is a one-of-a-kind facility with indoor ski jumps, trampolines and tumbling, a skate/bmx area, a lounge. Basically, it's both a place for teens and tweens to hang out when the ski lifts shut down at 4:00, and a place to take lessons and really hone your skills. I took about a million pictures here.
The ski/snowboard ramps are lined with this stuff. It's really stiff and allows your skis and board to "cut in" like they do in real snow. The staff mists it with water (and occasionally with silicone) to keep the ride smooth.
Students start by enrolling in a One Hit Wonder class. The class gets them familiar with all the equipment in the barn. They begin with some tumbling, then move to the trampolines to perfect their 360s and flips and whatnot, then they try their moves on the trampolines into foam pits, then they try the indoor slopes. Once they can land their tricks indoors, they move outside and try it on the actual mountain.
After you've taken the One Hit Wonder class, you can come by the barn anytime for a drop-in session and use whatever part of the facility you'd like. While I was there, boarders were using the steepest slope to catch huge air, practice their flips and land in the foam pit. I could have watched this for hours.
Woodward also offers summer camp options which help kids work on their skillz in the off season. If your kids are into skiing and boarding, you're not going to find a cooler place to spend the summer. I wouldn't say my kids are that hardcore about skiing, but I know they would still love using the equipment in the barn.
2) Private Lessons
On Saturday afternoon, my 3 oldest plus Ben Blair, met with a private ski instructor. Let's be honest, it's not the cheapest offering on the menu, but they all agreed it was the most valuable ski learning they'd ever had. Everyone's skiing saw measurable improvement and they were able to explore parts of the mountain they probably wouldn't have found on their own. This experience received high marks from Ralph, Maude, Olive and Ben Blair.
Oh man do my kids love tubing. Copper's tubing hill offers 5 lanes some faster, some slower, some with built in jumps. Tubes are provided and you get to ride to the top of the hill on the magic carpet. This was definitely Oscar and Betty's favorite part of our trip. Oh. And the swimming at the Athletic Club. Tubing and swimming were probably tied.
4) The facilities.
Copper Mountain is a full-on resort. They have everything you would want or need on a winter vacation. Our room was huge and built for a big family or big group there were beds for 10 and a full kitchen. In fact, we made cinnamon rolls for breakfast on Saturday morning. (I liked the fireplace and the decorations like the Native American photo above.)
There are quaint shops throughout the resort. And food options galore. We ate pizza at Pizza Carlo. Dinner at Alpinista. We picked up candied apples at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Ate a sit down dinner at JJs. Had crepes for lunch at Chubs while watching the ice skaters on the frozen pond. We even hung out at the arcade.
I think the favorite food experience for my kids was the hot cocoa at Camp Hale right off the ski lifts. The barista topped off the cocoa with marshmellows AND whip cream PLUS sprinkles and chocolate syrup. Mmmmmm.
5) The family-friendly staff.
This is something I truly appreciated as a parent. Ski trips mean lots of equipment. And hats and gloves. And all sorts of accessories. Hauling around all that stuff can wear a mother out. Every time I felt like I was about to lose my cool, a Copper Mountain staff member was there to de-stress me. They would engage with my kids. They were laid-back and never hurried us. The photo above is Olive getting fitted for a helmet at one of the rental stations. It took about 5 tries to find the right one, but the rental staff didn't get irritated for a minute.
Things I want to try on a follow-up trip. Or that I don't want to forget.
-Volunteers will take you on a free orientation tour of the mountain.
-Complimentary snow-shoeing tours.
-Making s'mores at the village fire pit.
-Seeing snowboarders catch serious air in the half pipe you could see this driving up. It was so cool.
-The huge torches lighting up the resort at night.
There's really more to do than can be done in one weekend. Who knows? Maybe we'll become a real ski family that does this sort of thing on a regular basis.
Final note: I'd like to offer a heartfelt thanks from my whole family to Copper Mountain for hosting us. Throughout the winter, Colorado Ski Country USA is pairing up bloggers with Colorado ski resorts to show off how families have fun on their winter vacations.