Ski Cooper slides along as the little mountain off 1-70 known for being affordable and fun. The ski resort is one of the oldest in Colorado having served as the training site for the 10th Mountain Division during World War II. Ski Cooper hosts an abundance of events throughout the winter including the Special Olympics, the Telefast, Santa with live reindeer, telemark and women's clinics, Senior Days, a Nastar race course, Youth Ski League Championships, Masters, High School races, Speed camps, and the 10th Mountain Division reunion and memorial service located at the monument.
There's skiing and terrain for all ages and abilities. Ski Cooper is known for its long, wide open cruisers on the front side and short bumps and tree runs on the backside. Try Chicago Ridge Snowcat Tours for even more acreage, deeper powder, and increased vertical coverage.
An additional 2,460 acres of terrain on the San Isabel and White River National Forests takes you as high as 12,600 feet in elevation atop the Continental Divide. The slopes vary from 3,000 to 10,000 feet in length with vertical drops up to 1,400 feet per run. Chicago Ridge provides varied conditions from deep powder to open bowls, steeps, and treed glades. Guests average 10 to 12 runs per day depending on size and strength of the group.
Ski Cooper's Snowcats carry one operator, two guides, and up to 12 guests. The guides serve a gourmet lunch in a heated yurt after a morning of accessed backcountry skiing.
"I've done Chicago Ridge with a group of buddies for the last three years now," explains Alan Lorenz of Rochester, N.Y.. "They pretty much guarantee fresh, untouched powder, and we've had that." Lorenz, who learned to ski at age 6, has ski-patrolled in Northern Calif. and Italy, as well as skied all over North America. He was especially impressed with the integrity of the company. "They are very up front and honest about their conditions," Lorenz said. "One time they told us that if we didn't want to ski, we would have our day fully refunded. We try to get back every year now."
Ski Cooper caters to outdoor enthusiasts of all types. Chicago Ridge Snowcat Tours also provide sightseeing tours as well as backcountry education classes including avalanche and backcountry safety, if seeking powder isn't for you. The Tennessee Pass Nordic Center offers traditional cross-country skiing, skate skiing, telemarking, and snowshoeing. Visitors can experience a four-course gourmet dinner at the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse featuring the finest in high mountain fare, with a one-mile hike, ski or, snowshoe to get there.
"Chicago Ridge and Ski Cooper is a one-of-a-kind experience," concludes Lorenz. "The snowcat trip feels very festive, the guides are entertaining and experienced, and the price is just right."