As someone who is still mildly afraid of driving in the snow, summer is the perfect time to check out the cute ski towns that pepper the mountains west of Denver. Plus, it’s currently 104 degrees in the city and my pregnant self doesn’t have air conditioning. To the mountains!
About an hour and a half west of Denver on I-70, just past the town of Frisco, is Copper Mountain Resort. If you get a condo in Center Village, you’ll be able to easily walk all over town and to all the main summer attractions. The Copper Creek Golf Course (970-968-3333) is closer to the East Village, but it’s still just a quick ten minute jaunt away from the middle of town.
The mountain resort is pretty quiet during the week in the summertime, without half of Denver’s REI clad-snowboard toting population up here, but there is still a lot to do. Hiking and mountain biking trails crisscross used-to-be ski trails all up and down the mountain. If you don’t feel like pedaling up at 9,000 feet, you can load your bike (rentals available at Gravitee and Peak Sports) onto a chair lift (for $10) and coast down. Before heading down, check out the BBQ joint at Solitude Station at the top of the American Eagle lift. Instead of biking or hiking, I took advantage of the paved running trail (Rec Path to Vail Pass. Pick it up just west of the Union Creek Parking Lot, west of Center Village) along the gorgeous West Ten Mile Creek. I did NOT run all the way to Vail, though that would have been cool. Maybe next year.
Back inside Center Village, there is an outdoor climbing wall, bumper boats on and zip lining across the tiny West Lake, a go-kart track, and a bungy trampoline. If you are into more serious activities (horseback riding, ATV tours, fly fishing, etc.), Copper Guest Services can hook you up (970-968-2318). Although the shopping and restaurant scene isn’t much to blog about, places are open year round. If you are really after fine dining and perusing art galleries, head west until you get to Vail. Back at Copper Mountain, there is a littlegrocery store, with to-be-expected high prices. Bring food from home or stop at Frisco on your way up to save a little money.
If you want a little more action and excitement, head up to Copper on the weekends. Fri-Sat-Sun events going on all throughout the summer. This coming weekend (June 29th – July 1st, 2012) is a big one: It’s Copper Mountain’s 3 Ring Weekend, with free music, kids’ activities, a carnival, and the annual Copper Half Marathon and Trail 10K. Fireworks are also advertised, but that may be a no-go since all of Colorado seems to be currently burning down. Check out their summer schedule here.
Lodging can be booked through Copper Mountain’s website, which provides links to their own properties as well as condos to rent. We stayed in one of the Union Creek Townhomes, which was lovely. It had a garage parking, hot tub, kitchen stocked with staples and cooking gadgets, a porch that overlooked the creek, and comfy beds.