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Tennessee Creek Basin

New Terrain for the 2019-20 Winter Season

View of new terrain
Dan Torsell cooking cheesesteaks on the grill
Dan Torsell

Ski Cooper President & General Manager

What’s Cookin’ at Cooper

Report from the President

September 6, 2019

Preliminary sketch of the trail layout

Wow, time is flying……….and next week concrete will also be flying!  All Lift Terminal and Tower foundations for the Little Horse T-Bar have been formed and reinforced and are now fully prepared for the arrival of helicopter-delivered concrete.  We will have videos and pictures of that action posted sometime later next week.

Now on to the new trails.  There will be three basic types of terrain in the Tennessee Creek Basin, all of which are very steep.  The first type is narrow, cleared, New England-style trails and would include the lift line trail (Maverick) and the trail to the immediate skier’s left of the lift line (Viper) as well as the maintenance access trail on far skier’s left (High Road and Low Road).  While these trails are completely cleared, caution is advised due to pitch and width.  The second type consists of a number of trails that are classic Glade-style trails where there has been significant, but by no means complete tree clearing, providing areas open enough for comfortable maneuvering among the trees for seasoned skiers (when I use the term “skiers”, I refer to both skiers and snowboarders).  However, please note that there are always hazards present in areas like these, so make sure you are prepared to venture there!  The third type is what would be considered natural tree skiing areas which have had no tree clearing, thus are completely untouched areas.  These areas require top-notch, well-honed skills, but should provide the adventurous soul with a truly exhilarating experience!

We are thrilled to be able to add this demanding new terrain to Cooper’s downhill offerings and hope it will provide a welcome challenge to our guests who feel they are ready for the test!

More to come next week.  Thanks for reading!


Report from the President

August 7, 2019

Things continue to progress on-schedule in the new “Tennessee Creek Basin” Improvement Area at Cooper!  All larger trees that were felled have been processed and transported from the parking lot staging area.  Smaller trees have been cut up and spread on the forest floor in what is referred to as “Lop and Scatter,” which ensures a supply of nutrients for the soil in the cutting area.  We were very careful in selecting tree-cutting and removal methods in an effort to minimize effects on the forest and the environment in general.  The ground crews who cut every tree by hand (on some very steep terrain, by the way!) and the helicopter transport team left virtually no imprint on the forest floor.

Most of the Tennessee Creek Basin area will be glade-type skiing, although there will be a few classic ski trails with more clearing.  This entire area is quite steep with formidable drops (much steeper than anything else at Cooper) and as such will be rated “Double Black Diamond,” with the exception of the transport access trail, which will be rated “Blue Square.”  With the high-speed “Little Horse” T-Bar (more on the name in a future post) for uphill transportation, this area will provide the long-awaited missing element: expert skiing terrain at Cooper!

Next time we’ll take look at individual trails and discuss the unique characteristics of each one.

Until then…………….standby!


Report from the President

July 30, 2019

There is a buzz of excitement in the air at Ski Cooper!  The Way Back Project, culminating in the creation of our new skiing terrain in the “Tennessee Creek Basin,” is taking shape before our eyes.

As a long-time veteran of the Ski Resort Industry, I have been around and involved in my fair share of development and expansion projects, both small and large.  While all have been fun and interesting, none has created the sheer thrill and sense of anticipation that I have felt with this one!  Whether I’m walking the streets of Leadville, attending events, or leaving Church on Sunday mornings, there is one common question: “how is the project coming?”  After many years in the planning and a thorough vetting process with USFS Permitting, it is both a relief and a joy to say we are on schedule and well underway!

Given the level of curiosity about this much anticipated development, I have decided to begin a blog with periodic entries updating progress and highlights of the project.  This initial post is simply an introduction, and I will follow-up in a few days with details of where we are and how the schedule looks moving forward. I’m excited to share with you many photos and details as we work diligently on trail/glade clearing, tree removal, lift installation, and more.

Stay Tuned!


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