It is located approximately 110 miles west of Denver International Airport via Interstate 70. It was originally named "Wheeler" for a local judge and developer, and it has also been known as "Wheeler Station" in the past. The naming question was settled by a decision from the Board on Geographic Names, which ruled in favor of "Copper Mountain" in 1977.
The resort opened in November 1972. Over the years, the mountain has been operated by several owners. In 1980, the area was acquired by Apex Oil Company, who operated the area until 1988, when it was acquired by the Toronto-based Horsham Corporation. In 1997, it was acquired by Intrawest, owner and operator of Whistler and operator of Winter Park. Then, in December 2009, Intrawest sold Copper Mountain's operations to Powdr Corporation. Copper Mountain hosted the World Cup tour in 1976 with four alpine ski races.
When you're making the turn at the golf course, or skiing by the Alpine Lift, keep a look out for the old buildings that made up the original settlement known as Wheeler Junction.
Founded by Judge John S. Wheeler in 1880, the settlement was promoted as a retreat from the tough mining lives in the mountains. The original idea was the same as it still is - come to this beautiful place, relax, enjoy and let the worries of the outside world fade away.
Wheeler's plan worked, attracting a clientele that, today, can only make one laugh. Just imagine a settler or miner in dirty overalls, complete with a long beard, sitting at a formal table with silverware and tablecloths, quietly drinking tea with a pinky finger daintily pointed!
If you're driving on I-70 between Frisco and Copper, stop off at Officer's Gulch. There is a work camp that survived, which will help you imagine the homes of the people who might have visited Wheeler's retreat.