By Kate Hill
Kate Hill is a freelance writer and editor. When she’s not writing, she’s probably reading, hiking, camping, skiing, or sailing. You can learn more about her work and her writing at katedeanhill.com
If you’re still in mourning over the end of ski season, you’re not alone. I know I am very guilty of falling into the shoulder season rut. Thankfully though, temperatures are inching up and summer is finally within reach, which means it’s almost time to pick back up with the regular weekend trips to the mountains. If you think Copper is only a winter destination, you’re missing out—our favorite ski resort turns into a pretty awesome spot for the summer too, giving us all more than enough reasons to keep coming back long after the last snow of the season.
1. The Woodward WreckTangle
Ever since American Ninja Warrior came to Denver last year, my childhood pipe dream of competing on ANW came back in full force. Lucky for me, and for anyone else who shares my dream, Copper’s Woodward WreckTangle gives us all an actually-accessible chance to see just how realistic (or unrealistic) that dream is. You can tackle nine different sections of obstacles, filled with cargo nets, balance beams, rope swings, and more. Whether you’re viciously competitive and want to time yourself on the course (true ANW style), or you’re more in for the pure fun of it and want to practice alongside friends and strangers, the Woodward WreckTangle has an option for you.
2. The Rocky Mountain Coaster
I know I’m not the only one who has eyed the Rocky Mountain Coaster while riding up American Flyer. The good news is that the coaster runs in both winter and summer, so if you’re like me and missing the thrill of tree skiing, speeding through the trees on one of the longest coasters in North America is your next best bet. Stretching 5,800 feet long and descending 430 feet, the coaster is guaranteed to give you the thrill you’re used to getting at Copper during ski season.
3. Festivals, festivals, and more festivals!
Beer or wine? Country or rock? Stuffing your face with mac & cheese or trekking 34 miles at altitude? Whatever you’re into, Copper has a festival for you. Seriously, Copper has a ridiculous number of festivals, with something going on every single summer weekend—there’s Attack of the Big Beers, Copper Mountain Music Festival, Guitar Town, Copper Crush, and Cider Circus, just to name a few. As a country music-loving die-hard fan of all things carbs and cheese, I’m most excited for Copper Country over Labor Day weekend (bonus: it’s free!) and Mac & Cheese Fest on July 28-29—a chance to sample rich, cheesy dishes and then try my luck in a mac & cheese eating competition? I may have found my true calling.
4. Saturday Night Campfires
If you live in Denver, you are all too familiar with capping off an awesome day of hiking/biking/climbing/kayaking with bumper to bumper traffic on I-70. Hang around Copper later that night instead. Every Saturday night in the summer, you can join Copper’s campfire for s’mores, live music, and fireworks…how much better does that sound than pulling your hair out on I-70?
5. Center Village Thrills
If you’re in need of some exercise and a bit of an adrenaline rush to balance out all the s’mores and mac & cheese, head over to Center Village and take advantage of the many thrills they offer: purposefully bounce of your friends on bumper boats, get a unique cycling workout on a hydrobike, fly over West Lake on the zip line, or channel your inner Dale or Danica on Summit County’s only go-kart track.
Copper opens for the summer on June 8th. Let the countdown begin!