Raised on Colorado: Copper Mountain Inside Scoop From Kim Casey, Gen. Mgr. Copper Ski and Ride School
I caught up with 23-year Copper staff veteran Kim Casey, Copper Mountain’s General Manager Copper Ski and Ride School and Daycare, who manages over 300 folks here. Kim can actually say she lived here when she was just a baby. Read on to discover what makes Copper one of her favorite places.
TG: What attracted you to Copper and made you want to stay?
KC: My parents came to Copper before I was born. My dad was on ski patrol with Breckenridge and had the opportunity to join the ski patrol team at Copper when it first opened in the early 70’s. My parents tell me that the Copper patrol dispatchers at ski patrol headquarters used to babysit me on occasion while I napped as a baby!
When my parents and I moved to Burlington, CO and then to Moriarty, NM their ski patrol buddies would visit every fall and I’d be mesmerized by their stories and comradery. We visited Copper for vacations, and when I was nineteen my father told me I should head back to Colorado. I was at the University of New Mexico at the time, suffering from a broken heart and a lack of direction. I remember him telling me I should come to Copper to get a different view on life. I knew I had contacts here and such fun memories as well.
I’m probably the only teenager whose dad told her to go be a ski bum in order to grow up! Two weeks later as I drove to Colorado behind my dad’s truck and the horse trailer he had loaded with my furniture I was scared and sad about what I was embarking on. But when I looked at my favorite photo I’d stashed with me, a picture of the Copper ski patrol with my parents at our home in Colorado, I just knew I was going to be ok.
I started out working at Base Operations with the goal of becoming a lift operator. I wasn’t a great skier then, but I had the goal of meeting lots of great people and skiing every day. I really loved being part of a big group, a community. I felt like I had come home. I especially loved meeting people from all over the world from countries like New Zealand and Australia.
I finished my degree at Colorado Mountain College and spent three years here as a lift operator. I looked into ski patrol, but decided that I’d like to become a kids’ ski instructor instead. My mom had been a teacher and I was drawn to working with the kids.
I met a cute ski instructor on the lift and ended up finding my husband! We’ve been together twenty-two years and were married here at Copper eleven years ago.
One of my highlights at Copper was having our wedding at the top of the mountain at the ski patrol headquarters and riding up the chairlift to the ceremony with my mom and dad. It was an amazing experience.
TG: What are your favorite things to do at Copper in the winter?
KC: You can’t go wrong with Endo’s Adrenaline Cafe or Incline Bar and Grill. The bartenders are great, you’ll love hearing the locals’ end-of-day tales, and it’s a great place to take in a football game. If you want quiet and a place to unwind, head to CB Grille’s bar.
TG: What’s your idea of a fun family experience here at Copper?
KC: Check out the tree trails off of American Flyer, then head down to West Village for hot chocolate and waffles at the food trucks or in the lodge. Then, take the quad lift up and over to ski Timberline for a bit, then run over to the top of Rendezvous. Then you can have lunch at the base at Mountain Melt and enjoy some of their legendary mac and cheese. After lunch, head over to American Flyer and up to the playground where you can ride or ski the mini half pipeline and play on the jumps.
TG: What do you think makes Copper Mountain so popular?
KC: It’s an unbelievable ski mountain. With naturally divided terrain, it’s easy to know where to go and find the type of skiing that fits your skill level and style. And the people here are wonderful – this community is one-of-a kind.