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.

Body of missing Washington skier found

The search for an experienced backcountry skier missing since last Tuesday has ended, after her body was located Saturday at the bottom of a 1,500-foot drop at Snoqualmie National Forest’s Red Mountain, near Washington’s Alpental ski resort. Washington’s Sky Valley Journal reports that it is believed that 40-year-old Monika Johnson of Seattle was standing unawares on a cornice that broke off, and that her body was covered by snow after she fell. The search efforts were also hampered by bad weather. Retrieval of the body will be at a later date, when conditions permit.

Johnson’s body was located by BARK (Backcountry Avalanche Rescue K-9’s), an Alpental-based, non-profit, volunteer mountain rescue organization of ski patrollers, Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) avalanche workers, and their trained canine companions. I spent a day with BARK last February, observing and participating in avalanche drills with the dogs, for this Gadling feature.

To support search-and-rescue/recovery efforts such as Johnson’s, or make a general donation to BARK, email alpentalbark@yahoo.com. For more information on canine search-and-rescue, contact the National Search Dog Alliance.

Aspen’s St. Moritz Lodge rolls back room prices to $69/night

Snow enthusiasts salivating over last week’s dump in the Colorado Rockies, don’t despair. A fall vacation in Aspen is affordable thanks to the St. Moritz Lodge’s “Roll Back Our Rates to 2006 Levels” promo.

Starting now through November 24th, get a low-season rate of $69/night for a standard Lodge room (double bed, twin, mini-fridge, TV, and private bath). If you’re a returning guest, call 800-817-2069 and receive a 10% discount. Early winter and spring ski season is still a screaming deal if you’re traveling with a friend or two, with standard Lodge rooms going for $99/night. It’s Aspen’s only hostel, and thus the best accomodation bargain in town.

Enjoy an outdoor heated pool and hot tub (summer/winter only), steam room, daily housekeeping, laundry, a well-equipped kitchen, free Wifi, coffee, and deluxe Continental breakfast, and a cozy lounge/TV room/library, and off-street parking.

The St. Mortiz is just 10 minutes walking from the hopping scene in the center of town and the Silver Queen Gondola, spitting distance from a handful of trailheads. Even if you don’t ski, take advantage of the gorgeous running paths and hiking/snowshoeing trails for free.


Need more incentive? United and Frontier just announced they are increasing their flights into Aspen. In addition to the 14 to 17 flights per day from Denver International Airport (DIA), there are more direct flights from San Francisco, Los Angles and Chicago, and the newly added Houston-to-Aspen route. Delta and American Airlines serve Eagle County Regional Airport, an hour-and-half-away (FYI, this is the closest airport to Vail, 30 miles away). Colorado Mountain Express has shuttle service to/from DIA to Vail, Eagle, and Aspen, as well as Keystone, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Beaver Creek, and Snowmass.

The 10 most-affordable ski spots in North America

Skiing, like polo and yachting, is a rich man’s(or woman’s) sport. The equipment is expensive, and in order to participate, you need to go to a specific place. In the case of skiing, this means paying ski lift fees and traveling to a pricey ski resort. The costs can add up and make it prohibitively expensive for less affluent ski enthusiasts.

But there are some less expensive ski resorts. Ski.com has put together a list of the top ten affordable ski spots in North America.

Keystone, near Denver, makes the list because of the many extras it offers, such as night skiing included with a lift ticket on the day of arrival, plus access to nearby resorts like Vail and Breckenridge. Steamboat in Colorado is on the list thanks to affordable ski-in/ski-out lodging and convenient shuttle services. And Winter Park, also in Colorado, is praised as catering to a “moderate demographic, no luxury properties.”

Whistler-Blackcomb, near Vancouver, is normally a very pricey destination. But in an attempt to lure visitors before the Olympics, it is offering some fantastic deals right now. Airfare to Vancouver can be expensive, depending on where you fly from, but you can save money by flying into Seattle and taking a train to Vancouver.

Jackson Hole (Wyoming), Banff(Alberta, Canada), and Lake Tahoe round out the western top ten with plentiful deals, discounts, and special offers that help keep prices low. On the east coast, Stowe(Vermont) and Lake Placid in New York offer excellent mid-week prices.

Colorado offers free 3-month trip to “snow virgins”

My four-year old niece, who lives in Florida, once detailed for me all the places she’d been in the world. “I have been everywhere,” she said. “I have even been to snow!” (For the record, that means she has been to Michigan). If you aren’t as “well-traveled” as my niece and haven’t yet experienced the icy wonder of snow, Colorado wants to hear from you.

Colorado is looking for “snow virgins”, people who have never been in an area with extensive snowfall (entrants may be subjected to a background check) to enter its “Snow at First Sight” contest. Contestants must be at least 21 years old and residents of the US. To enter, they’ll need to submit a 60 second video explaining why they should be chosen to win a 3-month trip to Colorado to experience their first snowfall.

Entrants need to get their friends and family to vote on their video – finalists will be chosen according to popularity and creativity. Ten finalists will then go to Colorado for the official audition.

So what does the winner get, other than the chance to make their first snow angels and snowmen? They’ll receive a free trip to Colorado for three months (January 1 through March 31, 2010), an $800 stipend for each month, and attendance at promotional events arranged by the sponsors. They’ll get to take part in winter activities like skiing, snowboarding, and dog-sledding and will get to blog all about their adventures in Colorado’s winter wonderland.