Sunday, December 25, 2005

Copper Mountain Skiing and Lodging, Colorado

I've been skiing at Copper Mountain in Colorado for 19 years (exactly on 12/26) - even met my husband there on that date. Last week, however, was the first time I've actually stayed in any on mountain lodging. It'll be the last as well!

We keep going back to Copper for many reasons:
-it's near my brother's home in Frisco
-it is a big mountain with lots of terrain at all levels
-we can ski cheaper there than anywhere in California if we plan ahead

I rented a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo from
Copper Mountain Lodging, "silver level" at Union Creek (the west side of the resort). It was a little over $2000 for 6 nights of lodging, and 7 days of "free" Beeline lift tickets for 2 adults and 2 kids. Copper only guarantees the level (silver) of lodging, and supposedly the general location. Now I know why...

After arriving several hours late on a packed United flight from Orange County to Denver, getting a Cadillac that was supposed to be a SUV (without ski racks) from Budget for $100 more than we were supposed to pay, driving through horizontal snow for 2 hours, picking up skis at Virgin Island Rentals($128 for 5 days boots & skis for 2 kids & 1 adult), stopping for dinner at my sister-in-law's, we finally arrived at the Copper lodging desk around 10:30pm.


Apparently there was just one "silver" unit left open just for us, and it couldn't have been in a worse location! The only set of condos across the main street at Copper was supposedly only 3 minutes form Union Creek lifts, and 5 minutes (walking in ski gear of course) from the American Flyer lift. They must have measured their time in running gear in the summer, without skis or kids! The shuttle no longer stops anywhere but the shuttle stops, which were nearly as far as the lifts...We complained, but the only alternatives were further away from the beginner slopes we needed for my youngest, and $100 more, and a "bronze" instead of silver level of quality. Sometimes the known evil is better than the unknown?!

Gripe #1: bad location
Gripe #2: garage door broken, no opener
Gripe #3: stained carpets, stained furniture, broken furniture
Bonus #1: spacious 3 level condo, with bonus den in the kids suite
Bonus #2: awesome mountain views
Gripe #4: broken blinds, broken security lock, funky heat, no wood, no matches

Did I mention that this turned out to be a privately owned vacation rental, operated by Copper Mountain lodging / Club Intrawest? No? I didn't know it was privately owned when I rented it...why is this important? I own 3
vacation rentals myself, and know what to look for and what to ask. I would have stayed in Frisco only a 5-10 minute drive away had I understood what was happening - classic bait and switch in the usually honest property management and vacation rental business. One of the first things that a traveler should look for in a condo or vacation rental is that they are guaranteed a specific unit. A company's failure to do so is either an indication that all units are identical (which is fine and what we thought we were getting) or that the units vary considerably and they are just guaranteeing you a place to stay...Privately owned vacation rentals are often the best places you could ever ask to stay, but shame on me for not asking if these were company owned or privately owned! This particular unit was showing some serious wear & tear. Learn from my mistake :)

We spent nearly a week skiing at Copper with the best early season skiing we've experienced in nearly 20 years. We even had the pleasure of 12 fresh inches of snow and fantastic ski lessons for our youngest. The view from our unit "Beeler Place Townhomes" was breathtaking.

If your vacation travel plans include Copper Mountain, Colorado, VacationMamma says:

  1. rent a home or condo in Frisco or Silverthorne (try Great Rentals or Value Vacation Rentals, instead of on the mountain. The shuttle service comes every 30 minutes, or you can park and take the Copper shuttles. The accomodations are likely to be more affordable, and the location more reliable.
  2. If you insist on staying at Copper: book early (September for December), book a "gold" level condo, book in Center Village.
  3. Four Passes, inexpensive season passes, and ski/stay combos are plentiful for skiing before Christmas - just start visiting their site in September. Four days of great skiing can be had for less than $100.
  4. Make sure your car rental paperwork says "ski racks guaranteed".
  5. Stop in at Virgin Island Ski Rentals (800) 525-9186, 241 Summit Pl, Silverthorne, CO 80498, for great ski and board rentals.

3 comments:

Shaun said...

Dear Vacation Mamma,

I am so sorry you had a rough go of it. I own a condo in Keystone (www.tavahaus.com) just minutes away from where you were.

It is hard to know all the in’s and out’s of Colorado ski resorts. For this reason I have set up a Blog for tips from people like you who have been there and experienced that…

Each vacation destination has its own challenges and you certainly had yours. (and as an owner of a Colorado vacation property, I am sincerely sorry this happened to you) I think it is important for everyone who has found out those little secrets to share with the rest of us.

I personally thank you for posting these experiences and invite you to post these leanings on my blog as well. http://tavahaus.blogspot.com

It is honest feedback and sharing of this type of information that will help others make the most of their vacation dollars.

Thank you Vacation Momma!!!!

Shaun

Shaun said...

Dear Vacation Mamma,

I am so sorry you had a rough go of it. I own a condo in Keystone (www.tavahaus.com) just minutes away from where you were.

It is hard to know all the in’s and out’s of Colorado ski resorts. For this reason I have set up a Blog for tips from people like you who have been there and experienced that…

Each vacation destination has its own challenges and you certainly had yours. (and as an owner of a Colorado vacation property, I am sincerely sorry this happened to you) I think it is important for everyone who has found out those little secrets to share with the rest of us.

I personally thank you for posting these experiences and invite you to post these leanings on my blog as well. http://tavahaus.blogspot.com

It is honest feedback and sharing of this type of information that will help others make the most of their vacation dollars.

Thank you Vacation Momma!!!!

Vacation Mamma said...

UPDATE:
Well Budget Rent A Car might get a shot at my business again, but Intrawest and Copper Mountain Lodging won't!

We emailed Budget, and within a few weeks got a $68 credit on our rental in Colorado for our troubles.

Emailed the folks at Copper Lodging and this is what I ended up with:
"Dear Melinda Diperna:

Thank you for choosing Copper Mountain Resort on your recent visit. We appreciate your business and look forward to seeing you again the next time you are in Copper Mountain.

I have had a chance to review the survey that you recently completed regarding your stay at Copper Mountain Resort. I was concerned to hear about your experience with our resort. We strive to accommodate all of our guests and their needs, and I was disappointed to hear about the issues you encountered with your unit at Beeler Place. I understand this does not change your experience, but I hope that you can feel confident that we have heard your concern and are taking strides to improve our operation.

Once again, I would like to apologize for the issues regarding your stay and thank you for taking the time to let me know about the situation. Valuable feedback such as yours is imperative as we strive to improve our operation. We look forward to serving you again when you return to the area.

Sincerely,

Greg Neumann
Lodging Experience Coordinator
Copper Mountain Resort
E-mail: neumanng@coppercolorado.com

Mrs. Diperna,

Thank you once again for your response to my e-mail. I did take a moment to look at the blog you have posted on the internet. I apologize that your experience here at the resort was combined with what seems like a few other issues on the day of your travel. I am sorry to hear that we will not see you lodging with us at the resort but am happy that you will still come to Colorado to enjoy family, friends, and a great skiing experience. Have a pleasant evening.

Sincerely,

Greg Neumann
Lodging Experience Coordinator
Copper Mountain Resort
E-mail: neumanng@coppercolorado.com"


Clearly though Greg knows how to apologize without giving away anything, he has never read Moments of Truth by Jan Carlzon!

I'm thinking Telluride next time!?