Photo Credit: Curtis Devore, Copper Mountain
Copper Mountain opened for the 2020/21 winter season today inviting skiers and snowboarders to spread out across 160 acres of terrain, more than double the amount of terrain from last season’s opening day. The resort's careful decision to push back its opening to start the season with more room to spread out is part of its adaptable Operation Stay Safe plan that prioritizes the wellbeing of its community and is informed by local and state guidelines.
“Our commitment to protecting the wellbeing of our community is top of mind as we open for the season,” said Dustin Lyman, president and general manager of Copper Mountain. “Opening later has allowed us to start with more terrain and lifts while also providing a higher quality on-snow experience from day one of the season.”
The resort’s Monday opening included access out of East and Center Village with seven chairlifts and 13 trails, nearly doubling the amount of terrain on opening day of the 2019/20 season. In addition, Woodward Copper offered an opening day park with 25 small and medium features.
Along with pushing back Copper’s opening, the resort’s Operation Stay Safe plan includes careful management of resort volume with a new parking reservation system and a pre-booking requirement for activities and day lift tickets. The new parking reservation system at Copper launched with only a portion of parking inventory released in order to allow for adjustments based on potential changes to local and state guidelines. Additional inventory is expected to be released on a rolling basis every Monday by 9 a.m. throughout the season.
To help protect the wellbeing of the community, guests are encouraged to review the Copper's Operation Stay Safe plan on CopperColorado.com before visiting. Examples of changes to the resort operations as part of Operation Stay Safe include:
- Facial coverings are required in all indoor spaces, and outdoors when 6 feet of distance between unrelated parties cannot be maintained.
- New protocols for lift and transportation queueing, loading lifts and riding buses.
- Increased sanitization around the resort.
- Limited availability and pre-booking requirement for activities and lessons.
- Limited indoor capacity for retail, restrooms and warming areas. Guests are encouraged to come prepared to spend more time outdoors with adequate layers, food and drink.
- Limited takeaway and to-go dining options.
- New cancellation policies and Copper’s Passholder Promise, which offers in-season 2020/21 COVID-19 coverage and the option for any guest with an unused 2020/21 pass to request and obtain a full refund for any reason before December 10, 2020.
In addition to these procedures, the resort is doing everything it can to ensure a healthy workforce. Employees are required to always wear masks and submit daily health screenings. If a staff member is feeling unwell or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, Copper requires them to stay home and has contracted for medical providers to provide guidance, while also offering a COVID sick pay policy to cover loss of work while quarantining and recovering.
Despite the changes that have been made to resort operations, the experience of skiing and riding at Copper remains the same. Skiing is considered an inherently safe activity with proper equipment and natural spacing, and not only has mental and physical benefits, but also supports the economic viability of small mountain communities.
“Although things may look and feel a little different around the resort, we know people are eager to get on the mountain and we want to assure everyone we are taking extraordinary steps this season to provide a safe experience for all,” said Lyman. “We ask our guests to prepare for their visit, adapt to the new procedures and to be understanding of the changes made as we navigate this dynamic environment.”
Copper Mountain has successfully operated under local public health guidance since it reopened the mountain in June for race training operations. The resort saw increased demand for outdoor recreation at the resort this summer. Copper has also hosted race teams on the mountain since October 24. The resort recently made the decision to not host the Land Rover U.S. Grand Prix and the Visa Big Air competitions in December in order to focus on providing a safe experience for guests.
For more information about Copper Mountain’s 2020/21 winter season, visit CopperColorado.com.
Operation Stay Safe is informed by local and state guidelines and follows the National Ski Areas Association’s Ski Well, Be Well best practices.