by Lu Snyder
West Village opened this season with a welcome addition: the new Kokomo Express chairlift. Koko’s Hut, located at the top of the new lift, is scheduled to open by March.
“It’s a beginner’s paradise,” says Stephanie Sweeney, Copper Mountain Marketing Manager.
It really is.
As longtime locals, my husband and I have skied every resort nearby. When our daughter learned to ski, we chose Copper. Why? The gentle, varied beginner-friendly terrain offers a natural progression from those first shaky turns to the longer days when a more confident beginner learns to link his or her turns. But, more importantly – especially to this Grizzly Mom – was Copper’s naturally divided terrain.
Copper’s terrain is mostly divided by ability level, with beginner terrain on the west side of the mountain, intermediate in the center and advanced on the east side. It’s a unique set-up among ski resorts and one that lends itself to the best possible experience for beginners because it’s safer. At Copper, I didn’t have to worry about high-speed riders cutting too close to my little tyke or, worse yet, crashing into her, which would have surely scared her off from skiing for good.
But if we could have changed anything about our daughter’s learning experience, it would have been the Kokomo lift. That lift was so painfully slow, we nicknamed it KokoSlow.
Installed in 1981, the old Kokomo lift was a 3-seat fixed grip lift that covered 2,800-feet in just under 10 minutes – assuming it was running at full speed and did not stop during your ride. But it did stop – often. And ran slow – often. So on cold days, a slow lift ride meant the difference between laughter and tears, one run and three.
The new Kokomo Express ski lift carries four people at a time from just outside of the day lodge (no more coaxing your kids to ride the magic carpet or hike to the lift while you haul your gear and theirs) to the same unloading area in just four minutes.
The newly constructed Koko’s Hut waits atop the new lift, offering beginners and families a place to rest and take in the views (the hut’s windows are huge!) while refuel and warm up before hitting the Lumberjack lift or heading back to the bottom.
The new lift configuration allowed Copper the space to expand its teaching area just above the West Village Day Lodge. It’s a win-win for everyone.