Copper Mountain brings superpipe to Colorado

Much to the delight of snowboarders everywhere, Copper Mountain ski resort opened the first 22 foot Superpipe in the state of Colorado last week, paving the way for future Olympians to hone their skills on its massive walls. The addition of the new pipe further bolsters Copper’s reputation as a great place to learn how to snowboard and ski, with unprecedented facilities that aren’t found anywhere else in the country.

This newest attraction on Copper Mountain is just one more reason the resort will be a popular destination for winter fun. With over 2450 skiable acres and 125 total runs, Copper really does have something to offer skiers and snowboarders of all ages and levels of experience. The resort has also seen more than 40 inches of snow already this fall, which means they have a great base heading into the prime ski season.

The opening of the Superpipe comes just in time for Copper Mountain to play host to the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix snowboarding and freeskiing competition next week. That event, which runs from December 5 – 10, will pit some of the best skiers and riders in the country against one another as they begin to tune-up for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games to be held in Sochi, Russia.

For those of us who can’t make it to Copper at the moment, or would prefer to keep our feet firmly planted on the ground, there is an awesome webcam aimed directly at the Superpipe to keep us entertained. Watching snowboarders zip through the pipe on the cam truly gives you a sense of the scale of this monster. Check it out by clicking here.

Learn to snowboard at Copper Mountain Ski Resort

Located a short drive from Denver, Colorado, Copper Mountain Ski Resort is amongst the premiere ski destinations in all of North America. With 125 total runs, spread out across nearly 2500 skiable acres, and an average snowfall of 280 inches per year, Copper Mountain truly is a fantastic winter playground that is set to open for the 2011-2012 season on November 4th.

One of the top attractions at the resort is the Woodward at Copper snowboard training center, which features a 19,400 square foot indoor training facility affectionately known as “The Barn.” Woodward was designed from the ground up to be a place where snowboarders can improve their terrain park and pipe skills, learning new tricks and acrobatic maneuvers, in a safe and supervised environment.

Visitors to the Barn will discover all kinds of unique training tools designed to help them master whatever skills they’re looking to add to their repertoire. For example, the facility features a long jump that lands in a foam pit 55 feet in length, allowing snowboarders to catch big air, pull flashy moves, and still land softly every time. Other features include plenty of boxes and rails to grind, trampolines to help develop acrobatic skills, and several runs that incorporate Snowflex, an artificial surface designed to simulate real snow. Copper hasn’t reserved all the fun for the boarders however, and skiers can hone their skills in the Barn as well.

The Barn is open every day and offers a variety of training programs ranging in length from a few hours to multi-day camps. If you’re a snowboarder or skier looking to improve your skills or learn new tricks, then you’ll want to see what the Woodward can do for you. Check out the video below to get a sense of what the program is all about, and then head over to the website to find a program that suits your needs.

[Photo credit: Roland Zumbuhl via WikiMedia]

Woodward at Copper Ski and Snowboard Camp from Woodward at Copper on Vimeo.

First snow: Eight winter activities for budget friendly fun

With the first snow comes thoughts of winter’s smorgasbord of budget friendly travel options. Fall festivals and foliage tours are long gone. What was missed has been moved to next year’s got to go agenda.

The first snow is a reminder that winter, like other seasons, has a timetable that waits for no one. To make the most of winter, create a checklist of what you’d like to do. Plan for those winter outings before it’s too late. Don’t be left behind wondering where the winter went.

Here are 8 winter activities to put on your list of things to do before the spring thaw comes and crocus appear.

1. Go tubing: For anyone who wants the thrill of speeding down a snow packed hill, but is not fond of the idea of falling (count me in on this one) tubing is an excellent option. If you have the physical skills to sit on the ground and get back up again with or without help, you can tube. The beauty of tubing is that people of various athletic abilities and ages can enjoy the same experience at the same time.

Many ski resorts have added tubing hills to their repertoire. From the Poconos in Pennsylvania to Copper Mountain Ski Resort in Colorado, the cost for tubing is quite a bit less than the cost of a ski lift pass. Plus, there’s no equipment to rent and you can enjoy the warmth of the ski resort’s lodge like any skier who forked out more money than you did.

2. Take a winter hike: Although hiking might seem more suited for warmer weather, winter hiking offers another look at outdoor beauty. Plus, there’s a level of solitude for reflection, part of what winter months invite. Sections of the Appalachian Trail are one possibility. For options that offer the opportunity to find out more about nature and natural history of an area, check your state’s park system. Many have an organized winter hike like Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio does. This park’s winter hike is January 16.

3. Go cross-country skiing or snow shoeing: Where there is snow, you can cross-country ski or snowshoe. City and town parks, logging roads or trails that have been specifically for either sport are waiting for you. The Enchanted Forest in northern New Mexico is one such place. To see if either sport is a good fit, head to a trail on Winter Trails Day. This winter, January 9th is the day to bundle up and strap on skis or snowshoes. Rentals are available.

4. Build a snowman in an unusual place: Where there’s snow perfect for packing, you can build a snowman. By building a snowman in a place that’s more public than your yard, you add to other people’s winter fun. A favorite memory of mine is watching people build a snowman on the Great Wall of China.

For people who live where it never snows, don’t pass up a chance to indulge in a snippet of childhood if you happen to have traveled to a place where it does–London, England, for example.

5. Sip hot chocolate, mulled wine or another hot beverage made extra warm by alcohol by a fire crackling in a stone fireplace. This is where you enjoy a winter wonderland by looking out a window. Where does one find such an experience? Ski lodges and hotel lounges and lobbies are perfect places for indulging in an afternoon or evening of relaxation in a comfy chair. Going solo? Bring a book. You don’t have to be an overnight guest to enjoy such pleasure.

6. Visit an historic village to learn about winter life in the olden days. At an historic village, costumed interpreters demonstrate how life was lived in yesteryear. Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Massachusetts is one of the more extensive historic villages. The sticker price is not exactly budget friendly. For the cheapest option, head to the Slate Run Living Historical Farm in Ohio. It’s free. I repeat. Free.

7. Bird watch at a local park, a nature center, a refuge or another area known for bird watching. Check out Critter Watch, for best winter birding spots in Colorado. In Ohio, the newest bird watching place is the Grange Insurance Audubon Center, one mile from the heart of downtown Columbus. It’s located on an important migration stop next to the Scioto River.

8. Ice-skate at a city’s outdoor rink or a frozen pond. Many cities open skating rinks in their downtown’s to attract people. One of the most famous is the skating rink at Rockefeller Center. There are other less touristy skating options in New York City, however.

If you’re planning to head to any other city, see if there is an outdoor skating rink there. Skating on a city’s downtown rink is an active way to enjoy the city’s architecture while becoming part of the city’s scene. Skate rentals are available.

Some city parks and zoos like Buhr Park in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus Ohio, also offer ice-skating with skate rentals available.