Posted: Feb 10, 2008 1:34 pm
I lived in Colorado for 3 1/2 years and worked at Keystone Ski Resort for 2 winters. Copper Mountain is great. It has something for everyone with a good balance between beginner, intermediate, and expert terrain. My tips:
1. Board: Do your best to rent a set up with strap-in
bindings and avoid step-ins. Strap-ins give you much better ankle support and allow you to fine tune your fit to a much higher degree. They hardly even sell step-ins anymore but a lot of rental shops still have them.
2. Clothing: The Troll has good advice. Consider spending a little more for a decent soft shell or uninsulated wind shell that you can wear around at home. Layer. Don't get something too think. You should be pretty good with a t shirt, long sleeve thermal, hoodie, and your outer shell. Pants you can skimp on. My legs hardly ever get cold so I don't think you need to break the bank. Look for something with some tougher material on the butt and knees. All you need to wear underneath are long johns, sweat pants, or [gasp] jeans. You should be able to make due with some basic gloves or mittens. Unless your hands are really prone to getting cold you don't need anything fantastic. You need eye protection no matter what because the sun reflects off the snow more than you would think. If it is sunny you can get away with just wearing sunglasses but if it is crappy you'll need goggles. I don't know what kind of shops you have in Memphis but don't be afraid to get stuff out there. Colorado Ski & Golf
typically has lots of stuff from previous seasons on sale. The one in Arvada is probably most convenient. Mountain Sports Outlet
in Silverthorne is right off I-70 5 or so miles before Copper and also has lots of gear on sale.
3. Lessons: Take one. You're going to take a beating no matter what, particularly your wrists and tailbone, so it's best to pace yourself and save something for day two where you'll make a lot of progress. I don't think a surfing or skateboarding background helps until you've been at it for like a week and then you can screw around with tricks. It's still a different form of keeping balanced since you don't have a fin nor wheels. It's very subtle. But if you're a skater it helps to be used to crashing and not afraid to get back up and do it again.
4. Beer: Colorado seemingly has more micro brews per capita than any other state. My favorite of the bigger breweries is New Belgium
. You'll see Fat Tire and Sunshine Wheat everywhere. My favorite small brewery is Dillon Dam Brewery
. It's in Dillon right off I-70 a few blocks from Mountain Sports Outlet. Go there for dinner one night. They have good food, too.
5. Records: There's a little hippie shop in the plaza by MSO and Dillon Dam where I once pulled out original Dictators Bloodbrothers
and Manifest Destiny
LP's but you're better off hitting Wax Trax
and Trist & Shout
in Denver. They're very close to each other and convenient to the mountains. Wax Trax is simply one of the best stores I've been to in the country. I could probably spend more money there than at Goner. Twist & Shout isn't quite as good but worth a trip. Their website says the Black Lips will be performing there on Feb. 17th.
6. Random: The base of Copper is 9,000 feet above sea level and the summit over 11,000 feet. A lot of people experience altitude sickness so drink lots of water.