Leadville News – December 21

Cooper: Fresh Snow, Adjustments for Holiday Weekend

In honor of the Winter Solstice, Leadville Today brings you some news from Ski Cooper. No doubt, resort management is likely to be extremely grateful to see some fresh snow moving through the area, until things start to stack up in a normal regard, Leadville’s ski hill has made some adjustments to keep conditions safe and enjoyable for all levels. And this time, it’s not season pass holders, but other hill users that will feel the adjustment. 

Ski Cooper has 100% of its terrain open as the holiday crowds show up in force this weekend. Photo: Leadville Today/Brennan Ruegg.

“As we head into the holiday season with an increased number of guests,” stated Scott Adams, the Ski Patrol Director, “I feel it is necessary for the safety of everyone to manage the risk.”
Ski Area Management goes on to explain that, an uphill pass (for the current season, a free armband issued upon reading and signing the Cooper Uphill Access Policy) is required for ALL Non-Ski Lift Uphill Access. That includes walking, hiking, running, snowshoeing, skinning, split boards, etc. Complete details are outlined in the following information provided by Ski Cooper’s Director of Marketing and Sales Dana Johnson.

And while snow-pack levels got off to a slow start this season, the future looks bright – and a bit steeper – for Cooper’s Wayback Pod Improvement Project. While it might sound like something out of That 70s Show, it’s actually part of the original Master Plan created by Ski Cooper back in 2000.

“A couple of things to keep in mind,” Torsell explained at the annual Community Meeting held every fall to keep residents informed of the neighboring ski area’s operations. “What we are actually doing on this Wayback Pod Improvement Project is much smaller in scope than what was originally presented.”

And secondly, Torsell re-iterated, please note the term “improvement,” not expansion. And while that might seem like a battle of semantics, it actually demonstrates Ski Cooper commitment to staying within the boundaries of their contract with the US forest Service, all while maintaining its distinct pay-as-you-go philosophy of ski hill management – a concept that still is held in high regard by a majority of Lake County residents.

In this Leadville Today video the Wayback Pod Improvement Project is described in more details by Torsell. The project is anticipated to be doing the “ground” work by 2020. Other details, including how the community can weigh in on the project can be found in the video.

And finally – at least for this report – if you have a moguls-hound or mountain manager on your holiday gift list, then consider the recently self-published book from former Ski Cooper employee Patrick Torsell: “Snow Guns Before Sunrise.”

The new read chronicles a behind-the-scenes look at ski resort operations. Locals will find anecdotal stories from Leadville’s Bob Casey (Ski Cooper Board member), Ski Patroller George Gipson, current GM and the author’s father Dan Torsell, as well as two Leadville’s Colorado Mountain College ski area operations instructors Jason Gusaas and Curt Bender. Torsell recently left Leadville to pursue other ski operations interests, including this book which is now available on eBook ($8.99) with the paperback ($14.99) to follow shortly.

Ski Cooper’s skiers looking for more challenging terrain will start to see the ground work on the Wayback Pod Improvement Project starting in 2020.

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