2 for 1: An Opening Day double-header at Copper and Keystone

Comments by Kelli Lynn Hargrove/

Boards? Check. Coffee? Yes please. Up and at ‘em before the sun rose, we hit the road at 6:30 Friday morning, groggy but stoked. Our mission? Take on two opening days between the hours of 9 and 4. The snow was dumping, the mountains were calling, and we weren’t about to miss out. Herein lies one of the prime perks of calling Colorado home; easy access to a slew of awesome slopes, meaning double-header opening days like this are all in a day’s work.

One (semi-sketchy) trek up I-70 later, we arrived at opening day, part one: Keystone. Itching to get on snow, riders had started assembling at 4:30 am, waiting out a white-out morning for the gondola to kick into gear at 9. For its part, Keystone took good care of these dedicated fiends, handing out free donuts, Red Bull, and Starbucks coffee to the masses. Geared up and ready to go, we joined the line of people  waiting (not so) patiently to break in first chair and dust the rust off of their boards.

A fresh white coat graced the top of the hill, even as the sky continued to puke down onto the three solid runs that were opening for riding. We met up with the Satellite team at Keystone’s already impressive terrain park, which boasts creative set-ups for beginners and advanced boarders alike. The smaller top park caters to less-advanced riders, with the jumps and rails stepping up their game as the park progresses. 20+ features, plus a park-specific lift, made it easy to spend the morning lapping the hip jumps, rails, and wall rides littering the slope.

keystone-opening-day-9

With a morning session in the books, we jumped back in the car and made a quick trip down I-70 to  where Copper sat kindly welcoming us with five inches of fresh, growing deeper by the minute. The season has literally just begun, but you wouldn’t know it considering the status of Copper’s slopes; 21 park features are already up and running, while the resort’s pipe is clearly taking shape, with plenty of time to spare before the Copper Grand Prix puts its 22-foot walls to the test in December.

Copper’s natural terrain, lacking much in the way of boundary ropes and topped with a generous dose of early season powder, meant opening day tree runs— one killer way to kick off the season. Plus, with two top-to-bottom runs open, the slopes were uncrowded and prime for the carving.

Judging by the quality of day one, both Keystone and Copper are looking at a pretty epic 2013/14 season. Keystone’s park is one for the money, while the powder and tree lines Copper is already offering are ridiculously fun. Our take? This is one early season you should not be missing.

Sounds from opening day