Copper Mountain, Colorado is one of those quaint resort towns you stumble upon and never want to leave. And what’s even better is that the secret of Copper hasn’t been leaked — yet.
Far fewer tourists flock to this picturesque mountain each year than at the much larger nearby resorts of Breckinridge and Vail. But that’s a tremendous thing because it means you get to enjoy shredding the mountain and all its beauty with half the crowds — and don’t forget about the amazing summers, too!
This is everything you need to know about your visit to Copper Mountain Ski Resort in Colorado, including elevation, hours, getting to the mountain from various places in the state. Check out these articles about Copper’s winter activities and summer activities.
Where Is Copper Mountain Located?
Copper Mountain is in Summit County, nestled almost directly between Breckinridge and Vail ski resorts. It’s about 30 minutes to each and its prime location between two of the most popular resorts in Colorado means it’s bypassed by many tourists and is far less crowded than either.
It’s a shame that people skip Copper because the trails are amazing, the people are super friendly, the snow is spectacular and wait times to get on the lifts are nearly nonexistent. The cat’s out of the bag, ramblers!
How to Get to Copper Mountain
Aside from getting a friend to willingly drive out to the Denver Airport, which is far outside of downtown in its own right, and then drive you back to Copper Mountain for free (thanks a few times, Derek!), getting to any ski resort in Colorado is not going to be cheap. Although you don’t have many options, these are your best bets for how to get to Copper Mountain.
Denver to Copper Mountain
Copper Mountain is about 78 miles from downtown Denver, making it about a 1.25-hour drive without traffic and up to three hours with traffic. But it’s 100 miles from the airport, so it’ll take you nearly two hours at the least.
Getting there is a straight shot down I-70 and arriving quickly really just depends on the traffic and what time you leave, so I highly recommend getting an early morning start or driving there late at night and skipping the trek on Saturdays and Sundays.
Since there’s one way in and one way out to all three resorts (and many resorts further west), going at those times means you’ll get all the traffic going to Vail, Breck, Keystone and the other resorts as well.
Renting a vehicle from Denver (away from the airport if you have some extra time to spare) is going to be the cheapest and most convenient option for those travelers going solo or in groups of up to five (or more if you rent an SUV).
Renting a car may cost you anywhere from $20 to $50 per day, depending on the type of vehicle you rent and the location you rent it from. I once rented a vehicle from Hertz in Arvada for eight days and I got a steal at about $15 per day. But it was in October when the snow wasn’t on the mountains yet, so I wouldn’t count on that.
Summit Express From Denver to Copper
The Summit Express is Copper Mountain’s own shuttle transfer service. If you plan on going to Copper and staying on the mountain the entire week, this may be more feasible than renting a vehicle. But it’s pretty expensive. However, if you’re traveling in groups of 10 or 30, they offer a pretty deep discount.
- Adults (1 or 2): $65 per person each way
- Adults (3 or more): $55 per person each way
- Children (under 12): $32.50 per person each way
- Groups of 10: $399 each way
- Groups of 30: $599 each way
Copper Mountain Lodging
Depending on where you’d like to stay and what your budget is, that will dictate whether you stay in Center, West or East Village. Each has its perks, but you’re likely going to find the best prices on Airbnb and Booking.com rather than renting directly from Copper.
At each website, you’ll be renting directly from the owner (who may just use it as a weekend winter home) and you can expect to pay about half the cost of traditional lodging, which can easily exceed $300 per night.
Lodging in Frisco, Silverthorne & Dillon
If you can’t afford, or don’t want to pay a ton of money, to stay in Copper, Frisco is the closest town with decent prices. It’s only 7.5 miles down the road, so it’s a quick shot to and from the mountain (you know, if you get there and realize you forgot your board).
Staying in Frisco is a great alternative, too, because there are plenty of bars, restaurants and general nightlife that you won’t find in Copper. Plus, not only are the accommodation prices cheaper, the average prices for food and drinks are a lot cheaper, too.
A few cheaper alternatives are Silverthorne (11 miles away) and Dillon (13 miles away). You’ll find more affordable accommodations, food and drinks. Plus there’s a free shuttle to and from Copper from each of the three locations!
Getting to Copper From Frisco, Silverthorne & Dillon
Summit Stage Free Bus
The Summit Stage free bus is the public bus that typically runs from November to late April. It features a direct route between Copper and Frisco, but you must transfer to another bus to reach Silverthorne and Breckenridge and hop on a third bus to get to Dillon. The full bus schedule with times and stop information for winter and summer can be found here.
Copper Mountain to Breckenridge
Not that you’d want to stay in Breck because it’s much more expensive, there’s a free bus that takes you from Copper to Frisco and another one that takes you to Breck. It’s about 17 miles and will take around 30 minutes without traffic and it’s cool to check out Breck, but it’s more crowded and even more expensive than Copper. You’ve been warned.
Copper Mountain Elevation
The base elevation at Copper Mountain Ski Resort is just over 9,700 feet above sea level, which is enough to make the average non-Colorado visitor a little winded upon stepping out of their vehicles for the first time.
But what really sets Copper apart from other ski resorts in Colorado (and the rest of the country) is its peak elevation of 12,313 feet above sea level, making it the ninth highest ski resort in the United States. That run takes two ski lifts and a rope pull to reach and is absolutely incredible!
Getting from that peak to the base will be a cool 45-minute ride down the mountain, which you can split among black diamonds, greens, blues or tree runs.
Who Owns Copper Mountain?
Powdr Corporation purchased the rights to Copper Mountain Ski Resort in 2009. If that company sounds familiar, that’s because they’re one of the largest operators in North America, owning Whistler in Canada, Vail and Aspen in Colorado and a few other top-notch runs.
Copper Mountain currently participates in the Ikon Pass, which gives pass holders access to 41 different ski resorts across the world. So, if you’re an Ikon pass holder, you also have access to Copper Mountain and I wish you happy powder!
Whatever you decide to do at Copper Mountain and whichever time of year you visit, you’re sure to have your mind blown by this amazing destination that’s less packed than most other ski resorts in Colorado!