This comes to CSCUSA from Kristen Lummis of braveskimom.com
“How’s your morning going?” I asked the man next to me, as the Xcelerator quad at Copper Mountain sidled in behind us. With a wicked grin, he laughed replying, “Better than the alternative.” I had to agree.
In fact, the day was much better than most any “alternative.” Okay, I hadn’t won millions in the lottery – that might be a good day. Getting married, babies being born, those are good days too, notable in their singularity and how profoundly they change lives. But this, this was a stolen day. It wasn’t going to change my life, but it was launching my ski season.
It was October 24, and my husband and I, along with about 75 other people were skiing. I know; that doesn’t sound very impressive. Arapahoe Basin and Loveland are already open and many Coloradans have put their boards to snow. But we were skiing at Copper Mountain, which was closed.
PSIA-AASI Team Training
The occasion that brought us to Copper was the annual Professional Ski Instructors of America/American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA/AASI) Team Training. Each October Colorado-based PSIA/AASI bring together the best ski and snowboard instructors in the United States for several days of clinic, coaching and quite a bit of fun, at Copper Mountain. As one instructor put it, they come to Copper to “develop the playbook for the coming season.” Responsible for developing and promoting snow sports education and instruction at all levels, these elite instructors teach at their home mountains and travel extensively, working with other professionals across the country.
Making the PSIA/AASI Team is a huge deal. Actually, there are four teams, each with its own coach: an Alpine team (including three freestyle specialists), a snowboard team, a Nordic team (which covers telemark and cross-country skiing) and an adaptive team. The teams are chosen every four years, the competition is ferocious, and the selection process is rigorous. To a person, team members I spoke with are thrilled to have made the current team, whether starting their first term or returning for a second or third term.
But What About The Snow?
So why was I there? Truth be told, I am not capable of instructing anyone in anything. Some people have a gift for explanation, demonstration and instruction. I do not. When my sons started skiing, I left the instruction to the pros. Even now, I dare not give advice or tips to my own family. I am a writer however, and based on that fact, I was invited to Copper to spend a morning skiing with the teams.
And really, that’s why you’re reading this: you want to know about the skiing and the snow. In a word, the skiing and snow were surprising — as in surprisingly good and surprisingly soft. The snow was groomed to perfection. The morning was gray and windy, with a winter storm blowing in. We were skiing on manmade snow, and only one run, Copperopolis was open. Did it matter? No way. For many of us, the media and team suppliers, this was our first day of the season, the first day back on snow at a closed ski area. It was a stolen day and so much, much better than almost any alternative.
Copper Mountain Opens November 2
In addition to hosting PSIA and AASI, Copper Mountain also hosts the U.S. Ski Team during the preseason. Weather permitting, the world’s only early-season, full-length alpine racecourse, the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center, will open on Halloween.
Copper Mountain opens to everyone else on November 2nd. If you can’t wait that long, steal a day away from work and responsibility and head up to Loveland or A-Basin. It may be early season, but it’s still ski season. And, (you can see it coming), it’s better than the alternative.