Ski Cooper’s History
Ski Cooper’s origin goes back to World War II. In 1942, the U.S. Army selected a site near the isolated railroad stop of Pando, CO, to train the ski troopers of the famed 10th Mountain Division. The site, which became Camp Hale, was chosen for its rail access, rugged mountainous terrain, and 250” average annual snowfall, which assured a six-month-long ski training season at nearby 11,700’ Cooper Hill.
After two years of rigorous training, the 10th Mountain Division was ordered to Italy in 1945 and played a vital role in the liberation of northern Italy. Sadly, 992 ski troopers were killed in action and 4,000 wounded, the highest casualty rate of any U.S. division in the Mediterranean.
After the war, some of the veterans founded Ski Cooper as a public a ski area, meaning that you can enjoy not only short lift lines and affordable, laid-back Colorado skiing, but also the chance to schuss down a historic, authentic ski hill.
Experience Ski Cooper Today
To honor the 10th Mountain Division heroes, you can join Ski Cooper each March for its Ski-in-Reunion and each May for a special Memorial Day service. And of course you can ski on this historic hill each winter, with soft all-natural snow, terrain variety for everyone, a down-to-earth atmosphere, a family-friendly vibe, smiling faces, great food and drinks, and prices that allow you to bring the whole family.
For a bird’s eye view of the area, take a scenic snowcat ride to the top of 12,600’ Chicago Ridge. You’ll see 360 degrees of mountains, from the Mosquito and Tenmile Ranges to the Sawatch Range deeper into Colorado’s central mountains. For even more excitement, go snowcat skiing through powder bowls and glades.