by Jan Cox

[media-credit name=”Jan Cox” align=”alignleft” width=”300″]Coppervale 2[/media-credit] 

Thirty one years ago, Norm Wilson began running Coppervale ski hill for Lassen College in Susanville. This north facing mountain just outside of Westwood on Highway 36, going toward Susanville, is a great place to ski close to home and is one of the least expensive in California. Coppervale has something for every skier and snowboarder on its groomed slopes. There is a walk-around area for beginners and a rope tow to a beginner’s hill. A poma lift takes skiers to the upper park for both intermediate and advanced skiing. For those who just come to watch, a deck outside the warming hut is perfect for viewing, with a snack bar that runs all winter.

As a Lassen College facility, Copperevale has long provided valuable outreach to the Lake Almanor Basin. Ski classes through the college are held each winter including Snow Boarding, Cross Country, Nordic (telemark) and Alpine classes, and are scheduled to begin the second week in January. The classes consist of 8 lessons and 8 lift tickets. The average sign-up for classes has been about 90 participants a year. Those taking classes can register at the hill. The cost for each class is $25 and needs to be cash or check.

Although the best deals are through the college, there are many opportunities for those who are not part of the college classes. Both high school and elementary students can buy a punch card for $80 which includes 8 lift tickets. Season passes are available for the entire family at $375 or for adults at $175 or any age student at $150. A one time lift ticket is $20 on weekends or $15 during the week. Lessons are also available as a community service and cost between $15 and $20 plus lift ticket.

Norm emphasized that there is a great opportunity to bring an entire class to the hill for the day at $10 per lift ticket. Hughes Ski Hut in Chico will rent equipment for the day to class members if someone is available to pick it up and deliver it the next day. They also have a ski sale on Main Street in Chester each year. Used equipment can be purchased at Play It Again Sports, across from Costco, in Chico. Watch for 50% off sales early in the fall.

Running a ski hill takes work and Norm Wilson is tremendously thankful to Gary Pritchard and Mac McCormick for all the hours of volunteer work to keep Coppervale running each winter.

Because skiing at Coppervale is weather dependent, a 24 hour snow phone line is available and updated regularly. By calling 530-257-9965 you will hear a report on snow conditions and other pertinent information and you may even leave a message requesting lessons.

Photos by Jan Cox

Waiting for Snow at Coppervale

Norm Wilson and Gary Pritchard

[media-credit name=”Jan Cox” align=”alignleft” width=”300″]IMG_1722[/media-credit]Groomer ready to go