While most skiers are familiar with Copper Mountain in Colorado, many have never heard of Ski Cooper and assume locals are referring to the more famed resort -- not the more affordable option located near Leadville.
Copper is located just off Interstate 70 in Breckenridge while Ski Cooper is just north of the town of Leadville in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. This spectacular Victorian town is the highest incorporated city in the United States at 10,152 feet. It sits in a high mountain valley surrounded by snow-capped peaks and offers much more affordable accommodations compared to Breckenridge, Aspen, or any of the other more popular ski towns in the state.
Lift tickets and runs
Adults can enjoy a full-day lift ticket for just $46 or a two-day ticket for $81, while children 6 through 14 years of age pay $26 for a full-day and $46 for two days of skiing. Aspen resorts will set you back $152 for a two-day adult lift ticket, while Copper in Breckenridge is $138 for that same ticket.
In addition to saving a ton of money at Ski Cooper, the lines are short and sometimes nonexistent. The mountain offers spacious ski runs without the fear of "Speedy Gonzales" running you down, and the views are truly breathtaking. It's an ideal resort for beginners to learn, while those who are more experienced will find intermediate to advanced runs as well.
The resort plans to open for the 2012 season on November 22, and with the area experiencing an average of 310 sunny days a year and over 127 inches of snow, the odds are you'll also be skiing in perfect conditions.Lodging
By staying in Leadville, you'll save big on lodging expenses too. Rooms can be found for less than $70 a night, while staying in Aspen will cost at least $150 to $200 for a similar room. This can make the difference between enjoying fun ski vacation or staying at home.
The historic Delaware Hotel is an 1886 Victorian Inn decorated in period furnishings and makes an ideal place to lay your head down at night -- especially romantic for couples.
The Super 8, starting at just $69 a night, offers a sauna to soak your sore muscles in after a day on the slopes as well as spacious, comfortable rooms for families.
Dining and other attractions
With the entire town of Leadville part of a designated National Historic Landmark District, visitors can explore the city's history and listen to the stories of Molly Brown who lived here with her husband, H.A.W. Tabor, at the city's museum. There are a number of eclectic vintage and antique stores for shopping as well.
Stop in at the Silver Dollar Inn, an Irish pub established back in 1879, for a Guinness and a game of pool. If you're looking for something more upscale, Quincy's Steak and Spirits offers high-quality cuts of beef, including filet mignon and prime rib.
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