Winter Recreation Is Underway in Leadville
by Brennan Ruegg, Leadville Today Contributor
Though folks in Leadville may have bitten their nails through the better part of November, the heavy snow has fallen and nobody is wasting time getting to work – and play – in it. On Saturday, Dec. 10, Ski Cooper opened its lifts to the public bearing a white mountain groomed under a gleaming blue sky. The same day, Pedal Power kicked off the first snowshoe race in their winter series at Tennessee Pass Nordic Center & Cookhouse (TPNCC).
Ski Cooper is Lake County’s down-to-earth resort where the only fluff you’ll find is on the hill. More like a secret club than a resort, Ski Cooper is known for elbow room, short lift lines, budget pricing, and friendliness to youngsters and learners. They hit every mark on opening day, beginning a season that won’t end until April 9. The welcoming crowd comprised all ages and was thin enough to spot plenty Leadville faces both riding and working the lifts.
A lot is scheduled this season at Ski Cooper and at Katie O’Rourke’s Irish Pub at the base: The First Cooper Cup on December 18; A-Mac DZ on December 22; Carey Nall, founder of Groovespeak, to play on December 29; celebrations on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve; and Tw0-fer Tuesdays every Tuesday, where two adult lift tickets cost 52 bucks!
The quickest, and often safest trip for Leadville skiers, Ski Cooper is located just nine miles out of town off Highway 24. Visit the Ski Cooper website for the mountain’s history, more info on upcoming events, their webcam at the summit, and to purchase discounted lift tickets.
Pedal Power Pushes Off for Snowshow Race Series
On December 10, Pedal Power kicked off the first snowshoe race in their Winter Race Series at Tennessee Pass Nordic Center & Cookhouse (TPNCC). More than twenty competitors took part.
Leadville’s own took first place in both women’s and men’s categories: “Smokey” Burgess, proprietor of Community Threads, clocking in the five-mile course at 1:01:05, and Lisa Isom leading the women with a time of 1:06:35. Rick Gregory, also of Leadville, placed second in men at 1:01:23. Smokey’s victory comes as no surprise as he won the Colorado State Championship in 2015, and is keen to make a comeback after sitting out competition last year. The first race always is on 5 miles of TPNCC’s pristine cross-country ski trails.
Pedal Power is a full-service bike shop in Eagle-Vail, and has been holding the Winter Race Series since 2007. The Winter Race Series will continue through March, returning to Lake County on January 21 on Colorado Mountain College’s Leadville Campus, and again to TPNCC on March 4 for the Colorado State Championship. The series is made up of two snowshoe races, one bike race, one cross-country ski race, and a triathlon.
Visit the Pedal Power Winter Race Series site for a full listing of results and for info on past and future races.
Tennessee Pass Nordic Center and Cookhouse hosts this Classic 5-Miler every year. Located at the foot of Ski Cooper, TPNCC offers fine dining at the ski-in, ski-out cookhouse, sleeping yurts, and 27 kilometers of cross-country track. Set up a weekend there by calling 719-486-1750.
Brennan Ruegg is a contributor for Leadville Today, as well as a private tutor, substitute teacher, photographer, and a waiter at The Grill.