Very friendly staff, laid back atmosphere, great advanced and intermediate terrain, convenient location
Tough for beginners and novices, sparse variety of dining and nightlife
I'll get to the skiing experience in a little bit, but first, a word about customer service:
A ski resort has little control over the weather, and only slightly better control over how well their snow conditions hold up. However, where a resort, ski or otherwise, can always control the quality of its customer experience is through the service provided by its employees. My wife and I recently took a trip to Copper, and while the weather and conditions were nice for the most part, the exceptional service provided by the Copper staff was what left the biggest impression.
Do you ever have the feeling on a vacation, that the folks working where you are spending money feel like they are doing you a favor? Copper Mountain is not one of those places.
I am being literal when I say that there was not one interaction between us and a Copper employee that was unpleasant. The young lady at Check-in was very friendly and helpful, the waitress at Incline for our first meal was the same. When I went to Copper Sports and Left Lane to check out the demo equipment, the young men I spoke with were knowledgeable and helpful, and the folks at the gear check were friendly as well. Also, a big round of applause goes to the young men and women working the lifts. They were always cheerful and jovial, joking around and having fun with the skiers and boarders.
As for the downhill experience, this was my first visit to Copper Mountain and my impression is that this mountain is geared toward advanced beginners through experts. My wife sticks to greens and her skills were pushed here. Although, as I told her, now that she's skied the greens at Copper, she can start tackling some blue runs at other mountains.
-Copper might not be the best place for first-timers or those who are uncomfortable with much pitch. Other than the Union Junction area - which is a great beginner area except that there are no high speed lifts serving any of it's terrain - some portions the Copper's green runs have areas that are a bit steeper than what you might find elsewhere. The advantage is that if you are just starting to gain confidence as a beginner, the Copper greens will give you an opportunity to challenge yourself on those steeper pitches, and then smooth back out where you can rest and recover.
-Likewise, the blue terrain is also more challenging than other mountains. Copper has some of the best blue runs I've seen, but will push an intermediate skier. The blues here are steep, but most get groomed every night so you only have to worry about the pitch, and not any crud or bumps here are plenty of opportunities to hit a moderately pitched bump area if you want to hone your mogul skills.
-There is a wide variety of black terrain, including bowls, glades and cat access to areas on the far back side of the resort. I don't get to ski a whole lot, so my legs were not in great shape and I didn't experience much of the more challenging terrain. I can speak for the Super Bee accessed area however, which was fantastic with long, wide open, steep groomers you could just rip.
Copper is a very convenient 75 miles from Denver and it's location right off I-75 allows for easy 20-30 min driving to other major ski areas (Vail, Breck, etc.) as well as the towns of Frisco, Dillon, and Silverthorn.
We had a great time, but as I said before, it was the people at Copper that made it happen. There's a lot of great skiing all over, but human interactions are not always very good. Our experience at Copper was excellent, and all due to the great people working there. We will definitely go back.