This post is part of a series from ETR on Copper Mountain’s best runs. Check out other lists of top runs at Copper Mountain here.
Shred the gnar and carve the pow, but relaxed
Mmmm….freshies. It goes without saying, but the absolute best day of skiing in bounds is after a fresh coat of the good stuff covers the mountain. Silently gliding through a field of untracked snow can remind you all over again why you love skiing. Unfortunately, the feeling is mutual among you and your closest 2,000 friends on the slopes that day. The mad rush to get first tracks and beat this horde makes skiers do some crazy things. We prefer a more mellow approach. If you know where to go on a powder day, you can relax during the mad rush of the morning and rest assured that you will be able to find fresh tracks long after the main lines are gone.
When it comes to Copper, here are our favorite places to go when the gettin’s good.
This might be the most infrequently skied run on the whole mountain. Lallarookn sits at the far end of a hike along Copper Bowl’s West Ridge. Most folks will be turned off by the 15-20 minute walk as they will opt to drop in much earlier. The hike over here can be long and blustery. Or they will keep going en route to Tucker Mountain across the way. However, that is a real shame in our opinion since Lallarookn is a real gem of a run. But less people equals more pow.
The drop in for Lallarookn is past Iron Mask. Walk down a short slope and then take a moment to catch your breath before clipping in. Check out the expansive southeast face of Jacques Peak in front of you along the ridge. When ready, you have a very wide, awesome slope dead ahead for you to drop in to. Lallarookn is much more mellow than all the chutes you just passed, but that means it is usually a massive powder landing zone. The snow tends to settle and accumulate back here and the turns can be very deep. And bonus points for attracting so few people. Even later in the day, you are almost certain to have only a few other tracks to contend with. Lean back on your skis and just float through the wide open, white powder bowl.
And the fun doesn’t stop at the bottom of the drop. Keep your speed up and enjoy huge opportunities on the egress out. The angle is low, but almost nobody else is around to spoil the fun. Sporadic trees provide ample chances to weave in and out of powder on your way down.
The Deepest Gnar: Drop into Lallarookn from as high and left as the ropes allow. This is the steepest face and most people will chose to descend a bit lower and down the center. On the way out, avoid the cat track on your right and look for areas to play in more powder in the trees. Just be sure to keep your speed up.
#4. Resolution Bowl > Cabin Chute
Resolution Bowl usually carries great snow after a storm. But it sees a lot of traffic. The choicest lines are saved for those who know where to find them. Enter through the gate at Drain Pipe and cut left (north) until you hit the trees. You can enter the woods themselves for a great power run, but we like to skirt right along the edge all the way down to the slot track. This pitch is pretty steep and offers plenty of big boulders, trees, and other surprises to keep you on your toes.
When you hit the slot track, keep going straight into Cabin Chute. The snow is usually awesome across all the Resolution run lifts, but we have found the powder on Cabin Chute to be absolutely ridiculous on a good day. Of the four Reso runs, this is the least crowded so the snow stays excellent. Also, Cabin Chute is nearly a mile long and drops almost 1,200 feet of vert. That means you can enjoy almost endless powder turns on top of gentle moguls for what feels like forever. Steep natural rollers and frequent trees mid-run make for an awesome excuse to make intentional turns in the snow. You are near certain to need a couple of breathers on the way down if the snow is deep.
The Deepest Gnar: The closer you stay to the trees in the bowl, the better the snow will be. As you descend into Drain Pipe, stray skier’s left to avoid merging with other runs and thus maintain your solitude.
#3. Freefall & Black Bear Glades
We’ve covered why these two runs are the absolute best glades at Copper in our Top 5 trees post. What makes them awesome for tree skiing is also what makes them such a great choice to find fresh powder.
The real key is the secret entrance. Near the top of Rosi’s run, just past the turn for Formidable, look for the run markers standing back behind some trees. Copper seems to have made the entrance only available to those who know where to look. We are thankful for that. The long, steep glades hold awesome snow simply by virtue of the fact that they are so hidden. The terrain is steep and wild enough to keep you on your toes, but it can be an absolute delight to negotiate the expert pitch when a stash of fresh snow is on the ground.
The Deepest Gnar: Both lines are awesome; it’s hard to go wrong. Freefall is probably the first choice on a powder day just to enjoy it while it’s deep. But Black Bear is wide enough that you might have better odds of finding un-tracked lines. If you want pure bliss, hit these early. But odds are good they will both still be fat late in the day after you make your way back from elsewhere on the mountain.
#2. Union Meadows
It seems good tree skiing equates to awesome powder, because we yet again find ourselves with a repeat from the best treed runs. Union Meadows is huge, off the beaten track, and doesn’t have any ‘official’ runs to funnel people (unless you count the alphabet signs, which are color-coded in a series of lines down). What color zone you select is up to you. They each have their pros and cons, but will almost all stay filled up with the soft stuff for a long time into a powder day. Part of the fun back here is the freedom of a big ol’ area with very few restrictions. Revel in the freedom as you take time to lap the area and find fresh track everytime. Perhaps more so than anywhere else at Copper, Union Meadows holds fresh lines the longest after a big storm. Even if it has been a few days since the last dump, this can be an awesome place to try to seek out some freshies.
The Deepest Gnar: The closer you drop to the main entrance, the longer run you will have. But the further you go on the traverse, the more people you will drop behind you. And that means softer turns. On a deep day, it is probably worth doing a lap or two back here, so simply work your way west as the day goes on.
#1. Freemont Glades
What do you get when you mix a 12er, a snow cat that only runs three days a week & carries 12 at a time, a series of consistent pitches nearing 40 degrees for over 1,000 feet, and a 10-20 minute hike? You get pillows for days. Tucker Mountain and its Freemont Glades are the jewel of Copper Mountain. None of the other runs come close to the goodies these can provide. It may take some effort and waiting to get there, but if you want preserved snow, the wait is worth it. You will not find better turns anywhere else on the hill. Sadly (at least from a powder
perspective) Copper has plans to install a lift to the top of Tucker in the next few years. While that is a good thing for access, it’s bad news for the powder stashes. Find time to enjoy these while the getting is still good.
The Deepest Gnar: The further you hike, the deeper it will be. Freemont One is sure to leave you swimming in it. When this is open and has snow, those who planned accordingly and got first tracks will be the envy of powder hounds everywhere.
The Bonus Lap: Spaulding Glades
Spaulding Glades are big enough that they hold a huge amount of snow. The potential to make your own lines and/or find fresh tracks are high back here. Powder turns in Spaulding Bowl, follwed by a trip into these woods makes for an awesome combo. You can learn more about the finer details of Spaulding Glades in our trees post.
The Double Bonus Lap: Golden Crest
Everybody love powder, so why not do a double bonus? Golden Crest is pretty inconspicuous, but if you play it right, you can find some awesome turns here. Access the start of Golden Crest by either hitting it from the top of Union Bowl (go east off the summit and look for the sign on your right) or by doing a high traverse past the ski patrol hut near Six Shooter. Regardless of how you get to the top, the first few hundred feet are above the main access lanes from the Black Jacklift or the Lillie G Traverse. This upper area sees very little traffic. As a result, the snow can be excellent. The run is a lot of fun as it has numerous trees, boulders, and small cliff bands to pick your way through. Everything tends to be very well marked, so you can kick back and enjoy the turns.
*Note: Many thanks to Nate Rio and Icelantic Skis for providing some inspiration to this list.
Other Articles From Exploring the Rockies’ Guide to Copper Mountain
- Copper Guide Home
- Copper’s Best Tree Runs
- Copper’s Best Steep Runs
- Copper’s Best Cruiser Runs
- Copper’s Best Mogul Runs
- Copper’s Best Poder Stashes
- The 10 Steepest Runs at Copper
Disclaimer: ETR’s Guide to Copper Mountain is an entirely subjective, unofficial guide to the mountain and is not officially associated with Copper in any way. All of the insights here are simply our opinions based on many runs down the hill. It goes without saying, but follow all resort rules, evaluate conditions as you go, and ski at your own risk.