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My week at Cooper, Breck, and Loveland - MLK week - Messageboard
Old 01-25-2009, 01:33 PM   #1
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Default My week at Cooper, Breck, and Loveland - MLK week

With the cheap Southwest tickets on direct flights to and from DIA, it would have been a shame not to take our family to the mountains this week. So we did.

We arrived early on Monday and with the brilliant clear sky decided on the spot to drive out to Ski Cooper located 10 miles north of Leadville on a hill beneath Chicago Ridge where the famed 10th Mountain Division trained during WWII. This is a popular story and there is a wealth of books and videos and historical markers on the subject from Cranmore in New Hampshire to Vail in Colorado. My dad was a 10th Mountain vet (company K, which took the lead in one battle after Bob Dole's company was all shot up) and I've always wanted to visit the place. This is #1 daughter and myself with the markers for 10th mountain on the left and related 99th infantry on the right.

Ski Cooper is a nice locals mountain rather than a resort with all the friendly relaxed vibe you would expect. Beyond the parking lot are a small number of timber side buildings and several slopes served by a double chair on the front and triple on the back. In addition, they have a vigorous cross country center and back country yurt that serves 4 course dinners. As for the lift served area, the most interesting terrain I found looks like this:

And beyond that is Chicago Ridge itself, which is, to put it simply, freaking enormous. They run cat tours here and I believe someone posted a trip report a year or two ago. In this pic you can barely see the cat tracks going up the ridge. I would love to do this in better snow.

Leaving Leadvegas, we found our Breckenridge condo on four o clock road ( to be sited perfectly - walk a block to the lift and ski to the back door; highly recommended location. Sunny and warm most of the week, good snow, uncrowded, and nary a lift line anywhere. There is a good variety of terrain if you get off the front sides such as this path to quandry and way out from chair 6. You'll notice #1 son (on Fischer RX9) leading the way as usual these days.

And this is somewhere in Imperial bowl which also does not suck.

Of course, this was the family trip so I have to sneak in this hard core action of #2 daughter showing off the style that made for some really good times.

Finally on Friday, the heavens closed and dropped snow all day producing untracked goodness at 8:30 and sweet conditions all day at Breck. I felt like taking it easy so spent the morning in the trees on peak 7 and ore bucket and then the afternoon with all three kids on the blues of peak 8 in steady snowfall.. What joy to hear a 7 year old shouting for joy in fresh powder. Pictures absent as the camera was suffering from moisture invasion and anyway I was having way to much fun to stop for yet more family ski photos.

Finally, as noted, there was a day at wonderful Loveland which already appears in another thread. This was near the end of a warm cycle so I'll post this picture of the ridge at the drop in to the north east of patrol bowl to note the lack of snow cover and maybe someone can comment on the usual state up there. Fortunately, the last two days and next week should change this view.

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Old 01-25-2009, 03:19 PM   #2
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Glad you found the goods and some freshies in Breck. That's funny, that condo building is where our church youth group stayed back in the 80s and early 90s. Only then, there was no snowflake lift. So it was only ski-in back then and shuttle out.
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Old 01-25-2009, 04:57 PM   #3
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Pags- the ridge at LL has been pretty scoured lately- mostly due to the high winds for the last month and a half. HOpefully the storm they're getting now (and the last couple days) will change that with some more snow- but you'd think with almost 250" for the year there would be more coverage up there. All the snow blew over to Chairs 4 and 8.
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Old 01-25-2009, 06:02 PM   #4
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I wanna visit Cooper one day, just to check it out. I would imagine that theres some good touring around that area as well.

Sweet TR!
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Old 01-25-2009, 07:23 PM   #5
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Sweet TR.

I did some exploring around Cooper a few summers ago. Went to the site of the old barracks and what not. It was pretty interesting. Didn't one of the 10th Mtn Div vets help start Aspen ski area?
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Old 01-25-2009, 07:40 PM   #6
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Looks good. Thanks for the TR.
Think snowmaking temps
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Old 01-25-2009, 09:59 PM   #7
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I have read that 62 ski areas were started by 10th mtn vets, and that they are pretty much responsible for the large growth in post war ski industry. More specifically, from this site:

"Postwar Growth of Skiing
Veterans of the 10th Mountain Division were in a large part responsible for the development of skiing into a big name sport and popular vacation industry after World War II. Ex-soldiers from the 10th laid out ski hills, built ski lodges, designed ski lifts and improved ski equipment. They started ski magazines and opened ski schools. Vail, Aspen, Sugarbush, Crystal Mountain, and Whiteface Mountain are but a few of the ski resorts built by 10th Mountain veterans."

For you youngsters.... 'Riva Ridge' is a popular slope or lift name at several ski areas and was the name of a high ridge that became the first of several celebrated conquests by the 10th in the Italian campaign.
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