COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colo. -- This ski resort has traditionally drawn
day-trippers from the Denver area, but its owner, Canada-based
Intrawest, plans to transform it into a mountain destination resort
over the next several years. Intrawest recently unveiled a proposal
for a hotel and condominiums and a 70,000-square-foot entertainment
complex to include a conference center, all to be built at the base
of the Copper Mountain ski area. An Intrawest spokeswoman said the
company "does not talk about development figures." Intrawest also
said it is too soon to discuss potential opening dates for the
project, which must be approved by local authorities.
The plans released deal with a variety of issues, including
transportation, the environment, housing, recreation, cultural
facilities and civic services. One part of the project is a
high-capacity gondola, which will connect the parking areas with
the pedestrian village. It would be the first of its kind in the
state. Those plans already have been approved, and construction of
the gondola system could start within the year, according to the
The central village area, called Wheeler Junction, would include
a central check-in, skier services, a chapel and a post office. It
also would include the entertainment complex, which would encompass
two performance halls, a recording studio and a conference center.
Intrawest also is proposing condominiums, and "we are hoping to
attract a flagship hotel," said the spokeswoman.
The new plans follow a multimillion-dollar project completed
last year by Intrawest, which purchased Copper Mountain in 1997.
That project, considered the first phase of the transformation of
the resort into a full-service mountain village, saw the
construction of a pedestrian village that connects five existing
condominium hotels and retail areas.
Last winter, Copper Mountain sold nearly 1 million lift tickets.
The resort estimates that about half were skiers on day trips from
the Denver area.
Paul Stashick, Intrawest corporate vice president, said in a
statement: "Copper Mountain has undergone a transformation over the
past several years, from a great ski mountain to a first-rate
resort. The next phase will take it to a higher level, creating
world class, year-round experiences for visitors."
Intrawest is a specialist in building village-centered mountain
resorts, having developed some of North America's most acclaimed
resorts, including Whistler/Blackcomb in British Columbia. In North
America, the Vancouver-based company owns the ski areas at Mammoth,
Calif., and Tremblant, Quebec.
In addition, Intrawest is the developer of village centers at
the following ski resorts: Snowmass Village and Keystone, Colo.;
Solitude, Utah, and Squaw Valley, Calif.