Monday, January 02, 2012

Copper Mountain: Union Creek quad performs better than expected

Copper's new Union Creek High-Speed Quad has been in operation since mid-December, and so far, it's performing beyond resort officials' expectations.

The lift replaced the slower High Point double chair, which served Copper since 1976 and hauled people up the mountain in about 10-12 minutes. Now, with two queues feeding the lift, four seats on each chair, and a 5-minute, 22-second ride, the well-used advanced-beginner West Village area sees far less congestion.

“It's worked out even better than expected,” Copper marketing director Pete Woods said.

It's the closest lift to shuttle service, a fact that was often previously ignored by guests, largely because the hassled lift service voided the shuttle's convenience.

Now, though, people have figured it out, and Woods said he's seeing traffic head to West Village to take advantage of the area's beginner terrain (it's where the ski and ride school is based) and to take laps on the Woodward at Copper Central Park terrain park (which links up directly with the lift).

Woods said intermediate skiers and riders are also accessing “great” terrain off the lift previously left empty due to circulation problems at the base. That alleviates some of the pressure from other areas of the mountain, such as the Timberline lift, which can get congested with skiers wanting to do quick laps on one chair.

“This moves so many more people,” Woods said of the Union Creek chairlift. “People are surprised and amazed at how fast that lift is, because High Point was not.”

Beyond benefiting the holiday guest and local visitors who want to ski that side of Copper Mountain, the Union Creek quad should facilitate boardercross training that's been ongoing at Copper for several years — and help the mountain better host the USASA Nationals in spring.

Guests benefit from other changes

This summer, Copper also invested in other West Village improvements, such as an outdoor sitting and eating area off the Union Creek cafeteria.

“It's an entirely new layout for the learning area,” Woods said of the face-lift. The smallest Magic Carpet lifts are closest to the deck so parents and guardians can relax and watch the youngsters learn. The meet-up and drop-off area is “just steps away” from the deck, which helps draw down the ski school hassle for parents.

Courtesy Summit Daily News